back to article UK clamps down on bus-spotting terror menace

The UK's streets are today a safer place for kiddies and decorated war veterans after public and police hostility forced a Gloucestershire bus-spotter to give up his lifelong hobby of snapping interesting examples of road-based public transport, the Evening Standard reports. Rob McCaffrey, 50, had apparently over 40 years …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    "...have the power to seize..." ?

    In earlier El Reg articles on this subject it was stated, and other linked sources seemed to confirm, that a search warrant or court order is needed to 'seize' a camera (or anything else) if stopped on the street.

    But this article has the quote "...they have the authority, under the Police and Criminal Evident Act, to seize the camera and arrest the individual."

    Can someone (maybe from Out-Law) clarify this?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Well done Tony & Gordon...

    ...your scraemongering tactics are finally paying off and we are now living in a society that is scared shitless of anyone and everyone.

  3. John
    Thumb Up

    Well done El Reg

    Keep up the good work highlighting this dangerous bollocks. It scares the shit out of me.

  4. Phil Endecott

    What are my rights?

    In this story you quote the police as claiming

    "[police] have the authority, under the Police and Criminal Evident Act, to seize the camera"

    while just yesterday you said:

    "Police should be well aware that they have no powers to remove cameras or take film without a court order."

    apparently based on this quote from Nottinghamshire police / ACPO:

    "Police officers do not have the authority to prevent a person taking a photograph or to confiscate cameras or film, and such conduct could result in criminal, civil or diciplinary action. "

    So which is it?

  5. Paul Kinsler

    it's a bit odd really ....

    .. given the explosion in the number of cameras out there, and their more and more frequent use, that photographers are getting more and more harassment.

    I think I have the solution, though. Al you need is a friend to stand vaguely in front of the bus, child, or high-security defense establishment; you can then claim to be photoing the friend instead. Take two with the friend in different places and merge the two to get a friend-free image!

    I suspect what is supposedly "suspicious" about these harassed photographers is that they are alone (also tis easier to harass an individual than a pair or a group).

  6. John Latham

    How to identify a terrorist

    So imagine you are a policeman, keen to prevent terrorists from blowing up buses, trains or buildings.

    You stop a dodgy looking photographer in order to search through his pictures and establish whether there is any evidence that he "is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism" (text from the Act).

    How do you tell intent from the pictures? He hasn't yet printed them out and scrawled ("bomb here", "escape this way") in red marker pen. Do you hope that his memory card still has pictures from his recent trip to an Afghanistan training camp, with him and his mates firing AK-47s in the air?

    This law is only "useful" in that it provides an arbitrary reason to arrest and detain someone, or have a quick perv at pictures they took of their wife last night.


  7. Mark

    Weasel words

    "the officer will first discuss the matter with the photographer"

    Well unless this is weasel-speak for "threaten the photographer and demand personal information, proof of innocence and destruction of (intellectual) property", that's a load of shite, isn't it?

    If it IS weasel for that, I ought to apologise to weasels: they'd choke on this sort of crap.

  8. Edward Rose

    What's an unlawful arrest

    I'm sure I've heard the term unlawful arrest used in relation to events in the UK. What is one of these if the police has the 'authority' to arrest someone because they happen to be bored.

    As for what the chap had on his camera in Ponty, I'm guessing it's what we call a Welsh Rarebit. A Valleys bus (yes I'm from the Valleys and have memories of regularly giving up and walking a mile to the train station. It still worked out quicker and more reliable).

    They run on the hour,

    Every hour,

    Give or take an hour,

    If you're lucky.

  9. Barrie Shepherd

    Ref Anonymous Coward

    Second that A C - What are our rights?

    I think I’d make a stand and go to the Police Station and be charged than just hand over my personal possessions - if the law says they need a warrant. (and they have not got one) that is.

    BTW if any of you have cameras with telephoto lenses don't visit beaches in New South Wales Australia - you are assumed to be paedophile or pervert and if you have a green laser pointer don’t bring it to Australia - they are classed as deadly weapons (it's OK to own a shotgun though)

  10. Sir Runcible Spoon

    Since 1st Feb 2008

    I see nothing in there that really covers the situation this police officer is talking about. In other words, FUD.

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    If they arrest you

    do they not have to say on what grounds?

    Fortunately, I mainly take photgraphs in the great outdoors, where the density of plods is low enough not to be a problem (yet). Though what they would say about me taking snaps of MY kids playing with friends makes me shudder.

  12. Dave Edmondston

    Poor Guy

    Just because his hobby doesn't conform to the allowable norms of drinking, football and watching shit TV, he gets persecuted.

  13. Ian S

    Zimbabwe anyone?

    It's typical of this Government and it's policy of a Police State before 2010. How many points towards their free toaster do you reckon the police have gained by repeatidly stopping this guy? I appriciate the average terrorist isn't the brightest bulb in the box, but to allow themselves to be nicked over and over again would suggest something less dodgy.

  14. Al
    Black Helicopters

    It's not the power, but the action....

    As any fule kno, it's not whether or not Plod is *allowed* to do it that matters, it whether or not he/she does it that counts. Unfortunately, in our new safer society, arguing the point with the police seems to get you clobbered with 'anti-terrorist' legislation. Telling Plod they can't do something only provokes them....

  15. Richard

    I don't know why I read this website...

    ...all it does is get me depressed and enraged at the state of country, public, government, world, human race etc. At least when I (dare to) read the Daily Mail I just get depressed and enraged at the newspaper and its staff.

    Though I am amused at the concept of someone being mistaken for a terrorist and paedophile. As if the two alone weren't bad enough, now we have terrorist paedophiles.

  16. ian
    IT Angle

    Rob McAffrey

    I did wonder what Sky Sports presenters did during the summer. Now I know.

  17. Steven Jones

    Powers of "confiscation"

    If you get yourself arrested then pretty well anything on your person becomes fair game for the police. The police certianly do not have the power to confiscate any form of property, whether photographic or anything else, unless you are arrested. The real issue then becomes whether you are suspected of committing an indictable offense. That is essentially an offense which requires a preliminary hearing to establish if there is a prima facia case to answer in a court of law.

    The real question then becomes whether the arrest on suspicion is made on reasonable grounds. Given the wide-ranging nature of much of the anti-terrorism legislation, then there's a lot of discretion in the hands of the boys in blue, especially around anything that might be considered sensitive - which frankly might include any number of things in a city centre. Transport centres, buses, local government buildings - who knows.

  18. EvilGav
    Black Helicopters


    From the latest issue of Digital Photographer (which also has this same story in it) and from Liberty.

    "The police have no right to seize property without a court order."

    "There is no law against taking photographs in a public place."

    The advice is, if stopped by the police, be polite, but they have no right to look at the photos on the camera without actually charging you with an offence. If pressed by the officer, ask specifically what law you are being stopped for/with.

    If the officer acted in a threatening manner, once away from (and not being followed by) the officer, write down what was said, along with the plods name and number. Make a complaint about harrassment.

    Nobody bats an eyelid at all the photographers at an airshow - taking photos in a public place of military hardware. But apparently some people are getting their knickers in a twist over someone taking photos of buses on a public high-street.

    We need a Devil Brown or 1984 icon. This country is sleep-walking into a police state.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...they have the authority, under the Police and Criminal Evident Act, to seize the camera and arrest the individual."

    If they arrest you, they take the camera as evidence.

    Yesterdays article dealt with the Police trying to take the Camera film without arresting the person.

    To do this they need a court order.

  20. Tim

    Here's the solution...

    ... Just disguise your camera as the ISO standard CCTV camera. Put it on a shoulder mount and snap to your hearts content. Those camera's are a law unto themselves!

  21. ktabic

    Re: "...have the power to seize..." ?

    Well, it was a "Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman" that said "under the Police and Criminal Evident Act, to seize the camera and arrest the individual."

    That doesn't mean that the Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman actually knows what the law is, and is just making things up because she, along with lots of Police officers, think the Police have more powers than have been granted to them.

    I'm hoping I get stopped by the police for taking photographs soon, so I can get the letter from the Chief Constable apologising to me, so I can keep it in my camera bag for the future.

  22. Dave Bell

    Cameras with telephoto lenses?

    Now that's going to get a lot of us arrested.

    Apart from the ultra-cheap digitals and the mobile phones, they all have zoom lenses which get into the telephoto range.

  23. E_Nigma
    Gates Horns


    "I can deal with the fact someone might think I'm a terrorist, but when they start saying you're a paedophile it really hurts."

    So, McCaffrey, you find the thought of yourself being a terrorist bearable? Sounds like they've got the right guy after all.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If arrested....

    The police get to take your fingerprints & DNA sample - don't they? Who needs to worry about ID cards when the state can acquire all the info it needs this way.

    Sorry, silly me. Of course, under the current legislation the information cannot be shared so it's quite secure on the PNC

    What other little tricks does the state have planned.

    I don't think I have anything to hide but ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

  25. Frank

    @Barrie Shepherd re. shotgun

    What if the shotgun has a green laser target pointer?

  26. David
    Thumb Up

    Getting your priorities right

    "I can deal with the fact someone might think I'm a terrorist, but when they start saying you're a paedophile it really hurts"

    Yep, cos fiddling with kids is much, much worse than blowing them up.

  27. Tim

    @ john latham - chance would be a fine thing.

    I doubt bus spotters would take pics of their wives that cops would perv over....not unless their wife looked like the back of a bus!

  28. Andy


    That's actually not a bad idea. Rather than waiting to be arrested and getting a letter of apology, why not write to the Chief Constable and get them to send you a letter before you get harassed.

    Ideally, there should be a FAQ and form letter on the ACPO or local police authority website that you can print out and keep with you.

    (Stop sign for the nonsense that the government and police are currently trying on with the populous)

  29. Bad Beaver

    @ Frank

    That'll make for Schrödinger's shotgun with all kinds of interesting results.

    By and by, the UK sinks lower and lower on my "places to go to" list. Which is a shame, as I know so many nice people from around there.

  30. heystoopid

    meanwhile doununder in Oz

    Meanwhile down under in Oz , the Chasers Comedy team have a great time lampooning fools as per this link =

    Now if one could only rickroll both Gordo and Tony B Liar every time this stupidity occurs now that would be justice served !

  31. Mark

    Your rights are here...

    Note it's dated 2004, so it might be out of date... The creator posted a comment last week though, saying;

    "Watch this space, because I am working on an update, honestly I am! I am concentrating more on some of the issues that seem to be of greatest concern and this means reworking the whole document."

    Might be worth having a copy in your camera bag - although I imagine if you try and show it to any over-zealous plod you're more likely to get into trouble, ironically.


    There's another one here, but it seems less comprehensive:

  32. John Tuffen

    Terrorist Vs. Paedophile

    "I can deal with the fact someone might think I'm a terrorist, but when they start saying you're a paedophile it really hurts"

    I think that the point is you can more easily persuade people that you're not a terrorist (i.e. your friends and neighbours will laugh it off), whereas once accused of being a paedo, "There's no smoke without fire" kicks in, and soon everybody *thinks* that, even though there's no damn evidence...

  33. Dave N
    Paris Hilton

    @Barry Shepherd

    Not too sure about the paedo bit, but I've seen plenty of perves at Bondi happily snapping away with their telephoto lenses. Not many people expect to be photographed in public, especially in a bikini. Telephoto lenses on beaches - ANYWHERE - are unnecessary. Unless you've got release forms for everyone on the beach...

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @Barrie Shepherd re. shotgun (& Frank)

    What if he's got a pointed stick ?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    The police really need to pool their resources

    ... and start picking up tourists in Trafalgar Square!

    It would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

  36. Adrian
    Dead Vulture


    What do you mean walking into a police state ? We have been in a police state for the last few years. The USSR under the KGB had a more open, friendlier police state than we currently have.

    Death of personal liberty,freedom,human rights - all gone in the UK

  37. Suburban Inmate
    Black Helicopters

    @ E_Nigma

    I think it's more to do with the fact that nobody (intelligent) believes in the terrorists as the Gov describes them. Even Blair fucked up once and admitted that Al Q'Aida is "an ideology, not an organisation" (IIRC, cant be arsed to google).

    Some middle aged white bloke (i assume he is) is "clearly not a terrorist". But the peedo label sticks like shit when its flung at a man.

    But.... To paraphrase an old saying:

    1000 people walk past a Muslim/"oddball". 999 will walk straight past without batting an eyelid. 1 will piss his/her pants and call the government anti-Fre^HDemoc^HTerror hotline. Or perhaps 100/99. Probly not long before it's 10/9.

    Chopper, cos people who call the old bill by dutifully obeying a poster as a replacement for actual brain function are the most delusional of all. At least conspiracy nuts know where to look for the *real* terrorist scum.

  38. caffeine addict

    Flood the police...

    Right... what about if we organise for groups of us to flood town centres with photographers taking photographs of buses, court buildings, police stations and railway stations? We could even take turns to phone up the police and report each other for acting in a suspicious manner...

  39. Anonymous Coward


    But which is more likely to expose you to a bloodthirsty mob?

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Barrie Shepherd re. shotgun

    "What if the shotgun has a green laser target pointer?"

    Then may God have mercy on us all.

  41. Neil


    It's an interesting world when train (ok, bus), spotters are considered dangerous.

  42. Paul Hatch

    Two things spring to mind.

    firstly, while easy to ridicule 'geeks' and their hobbies, It can often be only with hindsight that people see the value of their geekish activity as in time it can form a valuable historical and social document not of interest to the mass media of the day. The likes of Ivo Peters spring to mind who spent much of his life photographing and filming what was then contemporary public transport. Most noteably planes and trains. The collection he built up throughout his life is now considered to be of historic value. The collection of 16mm colour films he shot of the now defunct Somerset and Dorset line back in the days of steam has been the subject of a BBC TV series.

    The other point was that its not that long ago that the Greek Authorities were ridiculed for similar over reaction to a group of British planespotters.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I'll take pictures of whatever the fuck I like, and they can arrest me all they fucking like. If the state (which is exactly what it is) feels like giving me free bed and breakfast at HM Pleasure then fine, bring it on, and thanks very much to everyone who contributes most generously via their obscene taxes. At least then you can console yourself with the fact that some of your hard earned cash is going to giving me a place to sleep and and three meals a day, rather than say, for example, funding the killing and mutilations of a large portion of the innocent populace in some far flung piss poor country (take your pick at present). Interestingly, I was in a school attending some model exhibition with my son when I noticed they had `security` cameras set up in the TOILETS. Interesting. So, I guess it's OK for INSTITUTIONS to perv and spy on people, but not for individuals...interesting, I thought Institutions were comprised of lots of individuals, some of whom presumably have access to these camera systems. Hmm.

    How about hand drawings, are they still allowed, or have the idiots currently at the controls fscked that up for everyone too? As someone earlier stated, heaven forbid anyone should have any deeper interests than flicking through 400 channels of fantasy telly for 'tards (read: Lost, Heroes, Prison Break, Torchwood, Buffy, Entourage, Supernatural, ...Oh my f*cking sh*tting christ the list just goes on and on...people are being made DUMBER and DUMBER by this INANE Hollywoodesque effects laden bile ..)

    May god (if against all odds he does exist) help us all (well most of us, with the definite exceptions of Blair, Bush, Brown, and frankly any other present or future zealots who think they know best for every single living creature on the surface of this planet). Fucking Morons.

  44. Tony


    'now we have terrorist paedophiles'

    Osama Bin Kiddyfiddlin ?

  45. Gerry

    @ E_Nigma @David

    How I read the story was that he felt it would be reasonably easy to remove the terrorist label, (duh, I've just got an odd hobby) whereas once labelled a paedophile he was going to be in the shit for the rest of his life arising from "he's a bit different from the rest of us" together with that well known libertarian principle "there's no smoke without fire"

    Have we all forgotten the paediatrician that was persecuted because none of the mob could get past the first four letters?

  46. Les Matthew

    @Getting your priorities right

    "Yep, cos fiddling with kids is much, much worse than blowing them up."

    Because we all know the great unwashed masses think with that kind of rational.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    re. Getting your priorities right

    I think his comment relates to the reaction of the public; if the police arrest you as a suspected terrorist and let you go, it's regarded as a case of mistaken identity; but if you're arrested as a suspected paedo, there are people who will carry on with the rumours and continue the witch hunt for the rest of your life.

    What the police should be doing is throwing these "suspected terrorist/paedophiles" into a pond to see if they sink or float (sink = innocent, float = guilty).

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sleepwalking into a police state?

    I think we ran headlong into a surveillance state quite some time ago, and with the current levels of paranoia out there, not necessarily whipped up by the media, but by politicians who are using it to push the population control agenda. Or am I being paranoid?

    There is loads of this in Amateur Photographer at the moment - it's even taken over from the tired and dusty digital v film "debate" that's been knocking around for far too long. The police are cracking down on old boys taking photos of buses or taking street scene photos while at the same time asking for photographers to come forward with photographic evidence of street crime. Tom Harris, MP, wanted to know why there is a malaise in this country, well maybe he would do well to start looking into the perceived or real liberties that we have lost over the last few years - councils using RIPA to spy on citizens for trivial offences, police coming down hard on people carrying on with legal hobbies, ID cards and more importantly the central database being forced on people, the police DNA database that is almost impossible to be removed from, fingerprinting kids so they can take out library books, the list is pretty endless and is quite apart from the fact that the economy isn't much cop at the moment. How did it go in '97 - things can only get better? I bought into it at the time, how wrong I was.

    Well, I'm looking forward to doing a bit of outdoor photography myself in a couple of weeks, but I'm going to pop over to Canada to do it where the RCMP have a bit more common sense.

    I'm finished now. Sorry.

  49. Hans

    The terrorists have won

    When our civil rights have been eroded to this state then its time to acknowledge that there is little point in fighting terrorists to "protect our freedoms" when the Police state is taking away our rights to be honest, law-abiding, up-standing citizens faster than any terrorist actions could ever do.

    In the last 5 days I've been caught no less than 3 times by the Google street view car carefully mapping and photographing everything in our area.

    Can I complain to plod and have the Google street-mapping car confiscated?

  50. david wilson

    So presumably...

    All a vaguely bright terrorist planning to bomb a building has to do is

    Keep moving so as to be well away before someone can complain to the police, even assuming there are police nearby

    (As suggested earlier) take pictures of his mates (possibly in silly tourist hats) posing in front of sensitive buildings

    Take pictures covertly (presumably not hard to do successfully given the possibilities of checking digital results and then re-trying)

    Use video - make film of accomplices walking down street, easy to take brief excursions to include target buildings which you can grab as stills from the video later

    Take photographs/video from a moving vehicle


    or just the old-fashioned method of using their eyes, possibly making a sketch later if they feel the need.

    You'd *think* that someone capable of looking at photographs of buildings and working out how to attack them would probably be capable of doing the assessment about as well by being there, and unless the place was *so* sensitive that a dawdling pedestrian would be suspect to the point of detention, if they perceived much risk of being caught taking photographs, they'd just not take photographs.

    Apart from people blowing up car-bombs outside (which surely doesn't take much precise planning of location), or walking in past defective physical security with a bomb to leave somewhere or detonate in a suicide attack, what kinds of building attack are there?

    (I suppose the IRA mortar attack springs to mind, but I assume *they* could have just used a map.)

    At the very best, curtailing photography just seems to be a significant pain for many regular citizens, which might make things fractionally more inconvenient for a few possible terrorists.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    im suprised by one thing ...

    that he lived to tell his tale, I would've expected him to have been given at least 5 life sentences for such henous {sp} crimes.

    Do hate the busy-body joe public though :roll:

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "This country is sleep-walking into a police state."

    From the tone of this article, it seems more like we're rushing headlong into the welcoming arms of one.

  53. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Down

    re: "What are my rights?"

    You seem to be mistaken -- there are only 'wrongs'. You don't have rights or otherwise you wouldn't need to explain what you are doing and why you're doing it all the time.

    F'rinstance - just how many CRB forms do I have to fill in to prove I'm not a kiddiefiddler? Even then the 'authorities' can object just 'cos they don't like the look of you.

  54. Al Iguana

    yeah, but...

    I was hassled a while back while taking photos of a Bridge (also in Wales). Some council type in Yellow jacket came up and demanded to know what I was doing and why I was taking the photos. Erm... cos it's a landmark? jeez....

    some of the most famous photos of the 20th century, hell in the history of photography, have been street photos. Some of the most iconic images ever have been taken by some person with a camera, in the right place at the right time. If we stop photographers taking snaps, or make them too scared to, western culture will lose a huge future archive of history. All we will have a paparazzi shots and... cleared... media shots. Lock up the person on the London Underground who took footage of the tube attacks (that were on the news constantly). Lock up the people who took photos of 9/11. Lock up the people who took photos of the man in front of the Tanks in Tiananmen square. I mean.. come on. A bus in Ponty?

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Who's the more frightening

    I'm now more paranoid about plod, HM Gov and the local council than I am of terrorists.

    It's time the Government were put out of their (and our) misery, before they do some serious damage.

  56. James

    Sieg Heil !

    nuff said...

  57. Richard

    The evidence seizing law

    "...they have the authority, under the Police and Criminal Evident Act, to seize the camera and arrest the individual."

    Ok lets clear this up.

    If you take innocuous pictures, the Police can't do anything. If they believe you have evidence of a crime being committed, then its a slightly different story.

    The key point is that just taking a photo isn't in itself a crime, regardless of what you take photos of. Even the Instilling-Terror-Into-The-Public Act 2000 can't help them here, unless they can prove there and then that your activities are definitely part of a terrorist plot.

    Now, if you take pictures of a crime being comitted (regardles of who's comitting it) things change a little. The Police do have a right to obtain any pictures pertaining to evidence of said crime, BUT you do have a choice of how they get it.

    While inevitably you will have to hand something over, you can either hand over your film/card straight away, OR you have the right to make a copy for the Police instead, and as such they have to wait while you do so.

    If you refuse to hand over such evidence, it comes under "witholding evidence"/"obstructing justice" which is in fact an offence. This does only apply if you have evidence of a crime being comitted though! AND it does not give them the right to just arrest you like that, they can only arrest you for refusing to hand over evidence when it has been proven you have evidence of a crime.

    The best case if its in doubt, is to show your pictures and prove what you do or don't have.

    I'm afraid this is another case of the Police not knowing their own laws properly. And don't forget, if your camera is seized, you can usually get it back within a few hours with a statutory declaration (these usually piss the police right off, having to comply with the law and such).

    -- Richard

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Getting your priorities right

    At least if your a terrorist people just dislike you a bit, if people think you may possibly just maybe are a peadophile they'll picket your house, put poo through the letter box, beat you up, youi'll lose your job, and other great things. If you get convicted you'll be lucky to get away with your testicals.

  59. Stephen Stagg


    The Police can search you, and confiscate film/camers/cards IF they have 'reasonable suspicion' that they can use the film/card as evidence that you are a terrorist. [Terrorism Act 2000 sec. 43.4]

    This is limited to PCs and not PCSOs.

    They have to give you a copy of the incident report, OR tell you how to get hold of it.

    It can only be carried out by a PC of the same sex.

    It's the laws that are bad, as well as the application of them, in this case.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ all the I'll refuse to hand over my camera remarks

    All of you who would refuse to hand over your cameras are braver than me.

    I know, if I was photographing stuff and the filth asked me to stop and delete my photos that should I refuse I would be arrested under anti-terrorism laws, taken to the station, fingerprinted, DNA swabbed, have my camera and phone confiscated as evidence, have other plods go to my house and remove anything that could be of assistance to their enquiries (computer, laptop, ipod, memory sticks, CDs, paperwork etc. etc.) and not be given them back for a few months.

    I know I would receive an apology afterwards, but no compensation (they would just claim I was acting suspiciously and refusing a "reasonable" request from a Police Officer which game them just cause). I would also be assisting in the restriction of freedoms by becoming another success statistic in the "war on terror".

    Those of you that would put up with all of this just to make a point, I salute your fortitude and bravery. Me, I'd just comply whilst making it clear I was only doing so because plod made me and then sue them afterwards.

  61. E_Nigma


    I was just twisting the guys words a bit (joking). :)

    And no, I haven't heard about that doctor. It's sad that there would be a bunch of people who would know what a paedophile was, and not know what's a paediatrician. :( Plus it makes you wander were do they live, if you were a child until recently, you went to a paediatrician, and if you have children of your own, you take them to see one, right?

    A very non-PC joke ahead:

    What is the difference between paedophiles and paediatricians?

    - Paedophiles really love children.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin = KGB/Stasi Wet Dream

    We need to start a campaign to put a stop to all this bollocks before it gets any worse - and it will get worse...

    I don't just mean voting Nu-Labour out of power. We need to do a lot more than that to reclaim the freedoms and liberties that we grew up with; that we've fought for...

    It will take a big effort to reclaim liberties and rights from the police state that we have.

    It will take a big effort to remove the fear (of the tourists/drugs/organised-crims/pedos and the HM.GOV) from the hearts of the population at large.

    It will take a big effort to stop the media from fanning the flames of fear.

    It will take a big effort to educate people.


    But we need to start somewhere, instead of just talking about how much we hate all this bollocks - all that does is make us all really angry.


    I think we should get Lester Haines to dress up as 'V' and get the revolution started...

  63. Darkside

    Being British

    I'm British. I haven't merely a right to act strangely, I have a moral duty to act strangely.

    Morris dancing, bus-spotting, playing Mornington Crescent while queueing for bizarre public entertainments, they're vital to our traditional British way of life.

    If you care about public safety, start by preventing road accidents and food poisoning - they kill far more people.

  64. Anonymous Coward

    Alas... We all live in fear of our Police and what the could do to us.

    ... most people are too afraid of the Government/Police-state to do anything beyond the UK national pastime of moaning.

    (Sometimes I wish were a bit more French)

    People are afraid of being labelled a Terrist, or Pedophile etc, or being carted off for 42-days without charge while the Police work at their leisure to find some scraps of criminal behaviour to support their accusations.

    We are guilty until proven innocent - irrespective of how unsubstantiated the accusations may be.

    We are being systematically robbed of our rights.

    We are being monitored and tracked wherever we go.

    We are being monitored and tracked on all of our communications.

    We are being encouraged to report "suspicious" behaviour of anyone and everyone.

    We are being monitored with ID-Cards.

    We are loosing the right to freedom to travel without ID.

    We are being told to live in fear of all manner of imaginary bogey men.

    We are being told to TRUST our loving, caring government with all our data.

    We are told to ignore the government's incompetant track record with our data.


    And for some reason we people think that this is a land of Freedom, Liberty and Democracy.

    The Scum in (and colluding Media outlets) need to stop preaching to China, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi, Cuba, Pakistan, Burma etc, and start practicing their preachiness on themselves.

  65. Paul Hurst

    @Steven Jones

    '...The real question then becomes whether the arrest on suspicion is made on reasonable grounds...'

    In one evening in London, I was stopped 4 times (3 times by one pair, 1 time by another pair). It was as I was waiting for the sunset, I never moved in that time.

    In my eyes the problem is that you feel compelled to show them your photos.

    By refusing to show them your pictures, you could be classed as suspicious.

    You’re stuck either way!

  66. Paul Hurst

    @Dave N

    '...Telephoto lenses on beaches - ANYWHERE - are unnecessary. Unless you've got release forms for everyone on the beach...'

    I don't see a problem with a telephoto on the beach (and what implies that I'm even pointing it at people?).

    And why would I need a model release at all? Especially given that a telephoto is likely to capture less people than a wide angle.

    Plus what about people in the background of photos?

  67. Tony

    Godwin's law

    I am a firm believer in Godwin's law.

    However, I am starting to believe that any discussions relating to the UK & US governments should be granted special exemption.

    After all.. if it sounds like a fascist state and acts like a fascist state then it seems reasonable to compare it to a fascist state.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dave N

    "Telephoto lenses on beaches - ANYWHERE - are unnecessary"

    Rubbish - I take photos of my kids surfing. Without a 300mm lens (minimum) all I would get is an array of coloured blobs in the distance.

    How and where you point your telephoto - that's what matters!

  69. Joe


    The public are insane! Who would see someone taking pictures of buses in Pontypridd and think "terrorist!"? Why would that be the logical conclusion, instead of "nerd"?

    Like any self-respecting terrorist would target Pontypridd. Wouldn't even make the national news, let alone get George Bush's knickers in a twist.

  70. IHateWearingATie

    PACE 2008 Section 7, Terrorism Act 2000 sections 41-44

    Okay, I'm not a lawyer (thank god) but a quick seach of the legislation on the Home Office web site would give some good answers:

    Under Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) 2008 section 7 it would seem that the police have the powers to sieze property if they reasonable suspect that an offence has been committed. There are a number of clauses in this, but it would seem that they should not be siezing anything unless a crime has been committed. It would seem to me at that point that it will be illegal for the police to delete any photos on your camera - either no crime has been committed (and so deleting it will be criminal damage) or a crime has been committed and destroying the picture will be interfering with the chain of evidence and thus a criminal offence.

    Under PACE 1984 and section 60 of the Crim Justice and Public Order act 1994 you can be stopped and searched if they have suspicion of you committing a criminal offence - however the only offences that I can see that would be linked to photographing buses etc would be Terrorism which would be covered by the Terrorism Act 2000. Under a stop and search they can look at your stuff and that's it. This would suggest that the only option that the officer has once you have shown him / her your photos is to let you go or arrest you for something. Nothing in between really.

    Under the terrorism act 2000 you can only be searched if they 'reasonably' believe you to be a terrorist (section 41) or if one of their dragnet operations has been authorised (section 44). With our photographer in the street, surely its not 'reasonable' to suspect him of being a terrorist if its a little old man taking pictures of buses!?

    In short, by my reckoning, if you're stopped for taking pictures the best thing to do is explain what you're doing, show them the pictures and that's it. Never hand over your camera. No confiscation without being arrested and never ever any deletion. PACE 2008 gives you all sorts of rights of copying of evidence and for them to delete it is a criminal offence.

    As always, this isn't legal advice, it's the work of 30 minutes reading boring home office websites and Acts of Parliament!

  71. Anonymous Coward

    freedoms, we don't need no stinking freedoms

    Obviously a freetard - where does he think he is, China?! This is Britain, THE police state of the world... and damn proud of it too.

    Burn the film, before they confiscate it.

  72. Gav

    Re: yeah, but...

    "If we stop photographers taking snaps, or make them too scared to, western culture will lose a huge future archive of history"

    That will make it nice and easy for the state to 'control' history as explained in the Labour government's favorite instruction manual, entitled "Nineteen Eighty-four".

  73. Ru

    @Dave N

    Its unfortunate that people in bikins don't expect to be photographed, but when you're out on a public beach, where exactly is your expectation of privacy? No, it isn't very nice, but is it actually illegal? No expectation of privacy means no invasion of privacy

    Release forms? Well, if the photographer isn't going to start making money from the image, release forms are hardly necessary. That's verging on a grey area of the law as well, but you don't have a legal right not to be photographed. That's more like a Soviet style 'taking photos of the People without their consent' law, which we don't have, yet. Photographers are quite within their rights to take candid photographs.

    I do not like people who take the sort of pictures that you are complaining about, and I would not do it myself. But I absolutely refuse to roll over and support some kind of 'Won't somebody please think of the boobies?' law that prevents me using my camera in public.

    And as for no need for telephoto lenses, well thankyou for deciding what sort of photographs everyone should be allowed to take. I do surfing and windsurfing photography from time to time, and this pretty much requires me to be on a beach, with a big lens. Thankyou for deciding I am a pervert or a terrorist, and happily allowing our government to treat me as such.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Flood the police...

    A Flash Mob?

    The one with 'Yes I am pleased to see you' in the pocket.

  75. g e

    That is a fkn ACE idea...

    "That's actually not a bad idea. Rather than waiting to be arrested and getting a letter of apology, why not write to the Chief Constable and get them to send you a letter before you get harassed."

    I'm writing to mine tonight to hopefully get something I can keep in the camera bag / lens bumbag

    Everyone should do it, and also subsequently write to their local TV prog with the response to increase publicity, fairly sure Central TV (my region) would take note as a local interest thing.

    Mine's the one with the fully zoomed Sigma 50-500mm foot-long super-tele lens and 430EX shoemount flash on a Canon body cos I don't want to stand out in a crowd when I'm taking my pictures for Osama bin fkn Laden and his lackies. Fk it, I'll attach the tripod to it too so I can be extra bastrd covert. Twats.

  76. Simon

    @Dave N

    "Telephoto lenses on beaches - ANYWHERE - are unnecessary. Unless you've got release forms for everyone on the beach..."

    Who are you to dictate what is necessary? What if I wanted to photograph surfers? or wildlife native to the coastline? Or, since they are people in a public place even the beach folk would legally be fair game.

    Furthermore, in the uk I wouldn't need a release form unless I was going to use the photos for commercial gain - is this different in Australia?

    Finally, surely with a telephoto, I'd be able to isolate people in shot more effectively than with a non-telephoto, so I'd be less likely to need a release form for everybody on the beach, since they wouldn't be in my photo...

  77. Richard Thomas

    Somebody here ordered a Terrorist Paedophile

    "Though I am amused at the concept of someone being mistaken for a terrorist and paedophile. As if the two alone weren't bad enough, now we have terrorist paedophiles."

    No sooner said than done:

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dave N

    To summise.

    You're a retard. Also you need to buy a good camera. Cheapskate.

    I also bet you fap to JB on teh interwebs.

    Anyway unless the guy is blowing his load in your girlfriends hair - who cares? People are far too uptight nowdays. They're just bodies, everybodies got one.

    It's one of the many reasons I like Japan, ask anyone for a photo and they're game, as long as you don't go spreading them around the internet (or if you do you're expected to smuge faces out of curtesy) I'm pretty sure it's common around most of the world where people have gone completly mad yet. Ironically the Japanese are also big on privacy...

    My old man liked cameras so he always had a nice set whever we went, he'd set up and take photos. Alot of the dads seemed to back then, it was quite nice, gave them something to do during other wise dull trips, photos, bit of cricket, look at the sea... Not no more, retards like Dave and Alan (the interweb hard guy) ruining the country.

    O well.

  79. Wayland Sothcott

    terrorist bus pervert

    1. Well if a terrorist wanted to blow up busses then this mans knowledge and photos could be very useful to such a terrorist. That's illegal.

    2. If he finds the photos of busses sexy then that's a bit pervy and extreme and is probably illegal too.

    With all this stuff that would be useful to both a terrorist and a bus pervert the we have to take no chances and lock him up for 42 days in case he is a terrorist bus pervert. After 42 days he is cured and can be released.

  80. Watashi

    All nerds are terrorists

    As anyone whose been involved in a Warhammer wargaming rules argument can attest, there is plenty of reason to believe that nerds are capable of blowing themselves (and anyone nearby) up to prove a point.

    The difference between the typical terrorist and the typical Western citizen is that the terrorist actually cares about his or her (granted, rather perverse) moral and ethical priciples. Nerds are the exception in our society, as they are so obsessed about being right that they will dedicate their lives to following their personal cause. If only we could haness that nerdosity for the forces of good (like we did during WW2 ie RADAR, jet engine, Enigma machine), then we could fight fire with fire.

  81. Ivan Headache

    @ Being British

    You've got a point there - when was the last time you saw some morris dancers being arresting for acting strangely?

    But standing still holding a camera - acting strange or doing what photographers do?

  82. jezza

    @ all the I'll refuse to hand over my camera remarks By Lee

    Sorry Lee,

    but that is a terrible attitude. As soon as you stop fighting for your rights then you are fucked. do you really want to live in a country where the people are too scared to stick up for themselves and meekly roll over and accept whatever bullshit the government comes up with?

    and sorry for sounding so aggressive, its not aimed at you but it goes some way to hide the dispair that fills me when i think about what is happening to the uk.

    really. not. good. :(

  83. Bruce Sinton
    Black Helicopters

    Mr. Hans -- The Terrorist have won

    Your dead right there mate!

    But the Google mob must have given the job of driving around photographing every thing and every body, as you are now all suspects.

    And will be presumed guilty until you can prove you are innocent.

    Good Luck

    Hiel Gordon

  84. Steve Roper

    Fighting back

    Use the Terrorist Hotline to dob in all the curtain-twitching nannies and do-gooders who sic the pigs onto innocent people. Such scumbags are indeed terrorists themselves, because they are using fear to cow law-abiding members of the public from engaging in legitimate activities. They, more than the government, are the true threat to our freedom.

    Incidentally, Dave N above is a prime example of this sort of scum. If anyone here finds out who this bastard is, make sure you phone the Terrorist Hotline on him straight away! Let's give these fuckers a dose of their own medicine.

  85. Keith T

    I find people in police uniforms strange and threatening

    I find people in police uniforms strange and threatening. Does that mean I can have them all taken in for questioning?

  86. Keith T

    Anyone using London Transport could be arrested on reasonable grounds.

    @Steven Jones

    Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 09:56 GMT

    "The real question then becomes whether the arrest on suspicion is made on reasonable grounds. Given the wide-ranging nature of much of the anti-terrorism legislation, then there's a lot of discretion in the hands of the boys in blue, especially around anything that might be considered sensitive - which frankly might include any number of things in a city centre. Transport centres, buses, local government buildings - who knows."

    One thing we do know is that all the London Transport Bombers were using London Transport, and none of them were carrying cameras, at the time of the explosions.

    So with your argument, under current legislation, anyone using London Transport, and not in possession of a camera, could be arrested on reasonable grounds.

  87. Keith T
    Black Helicopters

    This is what happens when your anti-terror legislation is written to appease

    George Bush.

  88. Tim Bates

    Re: @Dave N

    "Furthermore, in the uk I wouldn't need a release form unless I was going to use the photos for commercial gain - is this different in Australia?"

    Pretty much the same deal here in NSW, as I understand. It's a nice idea to ask permission, but not a legal requirement.

  89. Mr Larrington
    Black Helicopters


    "Its unfortunate that people in bikins don't expect to be photographed, but when you're out on a public beach, where exactly is your expectation of privacy? No, it isn't very nice, but is it actually illegal? No expectation of privacy means no invasion of privacy"

    In this country, perhaps, but elsewhere in Europe they take expectations of privacy /very/ seriously. Back in the mid-eighties a TV-watching Frau X spotted Herr X seated next to Fraulein Y at the German grand prix. Herr X soon found himself a bachelor, whereupon he sued the TV company for his plight. And won. Anglo-Saxon minds found this rather odd, but The Woman Formerly Known As Mrs Larrington, a German of long service, said this was entirely normal.

  90. James Osborne-Smith

    It's all about information control

    The basic fact of the situation is that it's all about controlling who has access to the "undeniable" evidence of photographic images.

    The police happily video everybody attending a protest march - even going so far as to make people who wear face coverings remove them for easier identification. But you start videoing them and they'll be confiscating your camera pretty sharpish. They want to keep tabs on us but feel uneasy about us having the power to do the same to them.

    This attitude has filtered down to the point that anyone with a camera in a public place is suspicious now.

    Anyway, if you really wanted to get photos of places all you'd need to do is round up a couple dozen of your shortest mates, all wear kagouls and carry cameras with extremely powerful flashes that you all use as one cohesive battery... Oh, and speaking Japanese would be an asset too ;-P

  91. A J Stiles

    @ Lee

    How nice of you to declare in advance your refusal to bleed when your neighbour is cut.

    If I ever meet you, and you're on fire and I'm busting for a piss, I'll make sure not to get a drop anywhere near you. As a favour to everyone else.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Puzzled (as usual)

    "I've seen plenty of perves at Bondi happily snapping away with their telephoto lenses. Not many people expect to be photographed in public, especially in a bikini."

    At the risk of excavating a fine large rathole - what's with this "perv" word that seems to have become so common? I suppose it's short for "pervert", "a person with abnormal or unacceptable sexual behaviour".

    "Abnormal" or "unacceptable" sexual behaviour? Hmmmm, that's a tricky one in this day and age. Let's see: homosexuality was thought to be classic perversion for many centuries, but now we know it's perfectly natural (most other animals exhibit it) and of course entirely acceptable. In fact, it's illegal not to accept it.

    Paedophilia, in the now usual sense of sexual activity involving an adult and a child, is just as natural as homosexuality, and is exhibited by many other animal species. But although natural enough, it's deemed utterly unacceptable and even thinking about it is highly illegal. (Besides which, it can get you lynched). It does rather raise the question of "what is a child?" Juliet, of Romeo fame, for instance, was a child so Romeo was a paedophile, and got what he deserved.

    But why would it be perverted for a man to take a photograph of a pretty girl in a bikini? Is it natural to look at a sexually desirable member of the opposite sex in the flesh, but not in the form of a photo? Oh dear, there goes Hollywood...

  93. Anonymous Coward


    Come on you silly Brits. I'm glad I don't live there any more.

    Elect a government that promotes civil liberties. Stop voting Labour and Tory and whatever that other party is called today.

    Look for a party not bankrolled by the unions, the rich and big business.

    You're all daft.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ A J Stiles; @jezza

    If you two seriously believed that then you would now be down London taking lots of pictures in full view of plod so as to get yourselves "noticed" so that you could then refuse to hand over your cameras and instead fight the man in court, for the good of mankind and to help your neighbours.

    But you aren't.

    Jezza, please think a little before you post, now be a good chap and go get yourself arrested. Go on, dispel the fear and despair by sticking up for your rights.

    AJ Stiles, Hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahhahahah. Man you are funny. I have merely refused to bleed by cutting myself. Should my neighbour be cut I will be up there campaigning for his / her release and for the prosecution of the police officers involved. As we will see when you put *your* money where *your* mouth is and go get yourself arrested, along with Jezza.

    I await the imminent story of the El-Reg Freedom Two and their battle against the evil Zimbabwean police operating in London under the personal orders of G W Bush and Gordon (Bob) MugaBrown.

  95. Mark


    The magna carta and Queen Anne's bill of rights (both MASSIVELY preceeding the US bill of rights).

    We have the right to a jury of our peers before money can be taken from us in fines.

    That we aren't told this is our right isn't the fault of the population except in so far as our politicians and solicitors in the justice system are able to get away with it because of our apathy.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Welcome back to UKSSR

    Bulwark of multiculturalism etc. But even as we get closer to our goal of building a free and liberal society, class str--- sorry, the war against terror intensifies. All true patriots should unite under the leadership of the party. Some mistakes and excesses are unavoidable and a few innocent people may be swept by our wrath, but this is the price the government is prepared to pay.

  97. bruce hyman

    from a US photog who's been stopped by the fuzz...

    several months ago, i was taking photos of the corporate seal on the wall of a local train termius. (the general manager of the train line had explcitly rescinded an anti-photo policy three years ago.) i was stopped by a train cop (a real cop, not a private guard). after he demanded that i stop taking lawful pictures and much discussion, we went our separate ways - but then he followed me to see if i would remain compliant with his order.

    at this writing, i have now testified against him in an internal affairs investigation and await a response. the police lieutenant who took my testimony told me off record that he would have reamed the cop for his treatment of me.

  98. Mr Ropey
    Thumb Down

    Taking photo's of public transport

    This debacle has not only affected the omnibologist, but also the many rail enthusiasts who take pictures of trains. There have been many instances reported in the railway press about security guards harrasing people legitimately taking photo's on railway stations.

    What is not well known is that the infrastructure including the buildings, platforms etc at your average national railway station bel;ongs to Network Rail and not the train operating company. Network Rail state quite clearly that they "encourage rail enthusiasts" as they believe that they would be of assistance in identifying people acting strangely on railway property. I downloaded that page from their website and I've now have it laminated and carry it with me.

    It has proven useful on several occasions, especially at Bromley South where I was photographing the last of the Eurostar services passing through before the new high speed line was opened. I was berrated by the station security staff, who at point threatened to physically remove me, at which point I phoned the police.

    The Met arrived in force and after a 20 minute debate promptly threatened to arrested the security staff! I have written several letters to South Eastern about this, just standard letters back. I then wrote to Network Rail, instant personal response which was received with a strongly worded letter sent to the South Easterns management.

    So it's now spreading to the public highways? Personally, If challenged I suggest being polite, cooperative, then if they start to go past the legal boundaries ensure that you have your solicitors phone number on your mobile. Then when they ask what you are doing, tell them that you are seeking legal advice. I've found it's worked dividends in the past and it puts the wind up the average plod!

  99. Alex Barwick

    Remember the reds

    20 years ago we were talking about the poor people in the communist police states. Now look at us frightened to a photo, so much for free speech and freedom of the individual, let alone all our servicemen and woman who died in WW1 & 2 fighting for our freedom. Might not have bothered as we are becoming a police state now.

    Mine is the one under the tin helmet

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Power and Authority Are Not The Same Thing

    The police certainly have the *power* to seize your property. Any big, beefy person armed with a club, pepper spray, even a gun, has the power to take your property.

    What is uncertain is whether they have the *authority* to do it. That depends on the law of the land, which varies according to the land.

    It is usually a simple enough matter to explain to the nice officer what you're doing and why, providing identification as needed. Respectful, courteous treatment will get you far, in my experience.

    I live in Chicago where the notorious Chicago Police are a law unto themselves. The civil approach works even here, most of the time.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we at war with Iran?

    Look at the evidence.

    1. Terror fear knob is turned up to 'max', e.g. UK MET making everyone suspicious of photographs, people with more than one mobile phone, people who look funny....

    2. US terrorized, I just saw an advert telling people to prepare for emergencies by stockpiling food. No kidding, they're telling Americans to stockpile tinned food in government adverts.

    3. Bush impeachment papers show he's authorized covert attacks and assasinations against Iran.

    4. Across Europe mass surveillance laws are being enacted. Nazi calls for internment and right to declare people 'enemy combatants'.

    5. Israel practising to bomb *non* civilian targets for a change.

    6. Brown is all smiles now when Bush is around, starts doing the 'UN sanctions against Iran' stuff? Very similar to Blair calling for 'UN sanctions against Iraq'....

    It's like they know Bush'y wants to go out with a bang and are preparing for the worst don't you think? There's no rational explanation why a person taking a photo of a bus is harrassed like that, it's insane and dysfunctional, but yet perhaps there's method in the madness. Somebody declared war and Murdoch has forgotten to tell us about it!

    Well either that or we have a bunch of morons in power....

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why didn't they just shoot him?

    WTF are our Police playing at?

    He was clearly a suspected terrorist so why are these rural bumkins pussyfooting around? Shoot the b*stard.

    I'm sure they could easily have alleged he was wearing bulky clothing (anorak would suffice here) and saw him try to jump a barrier (OK, so he tripped on an uneven paving slab, 'tis near enough the same thing.)

    Shoot first and cover up questions later, that's the standard of policing we have come to expect.

    Jeez, these guys have got a lot to learn from the Met.

  103. Stratman

    @ Mark

    "The magna carta and Queen Anne's bill of rights (both MASSIVELY preceeding the US bill of rights)"

    Wasn't Magna Carta signed under duress?

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