back to article New terror guidelines on photography

New guidelines on the use of police stop and search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in respect of individuals taking photos in public are to be published this afternoon, according to a spokesman for the National Police Improvements Agency (NPIA). Meanwhile, the police continue to demonstrate an uncanny knack …


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  1. Sergie Kaponitovicz

    Not an own goal

    Not an own goal by the police, anyway.

    But an own goal from, who have successfully passed a new law every day since coming to power.

    My sympathy is with the police. How the hell does PC or PCSO Plod keep up? It's barmy!

  2. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Tourists beware?

    Woe be unto the weary traveler wanting to take pictures in these areas. I wonder if England is anything like Alabama: "Y'all ain't from around here, is ya?"

    Paris, she ain't.

  3. Wokstation
    Thumb Down

    Common sense...

    ...a collection of prejudices learned since one was born.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I look forward to the day

    when a rozzer tries to conviscate my camera on these grounds, i will most definitely being pressing charges for theft for reasons of prinicple alone.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about telephones?

    Seems to me that use of mobile phones is also forbidden: "No person shall within the Squares - - use any apparatus for the transmission, reception, reproduction or amplification of sound, speech or images".

    Is this real? How would one know such things, if one were to visit London?

  6. Martin Lyne


    When taking photos to plot your terrorist scheme.. you always carrys your signed and photo-IDd "International Terrorist's Support Forum" membership card.


    If they're taking pictures.. chances are *it's still in the planning stage*.

    Are we meant to close our eyes when police cars go past? I routinely watch films with my eyes closed incase I accidentally remember it at a later date (not too troubling a worry with recent "blockbusters"). Remember: RECORDING EQUIPMENT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    it makes me laugh...

    That in one of the most surveiled societies in the world the same people who watch our every move on cctv are hysterically afraid of anyone wielding a camera of any sort.

    I'd have thought they'd appeciate people doing their surveillance for them, if everyone was happily snapping photos everywhere they went without fear of recrimination and the threat of being demonised as a terrorist then the police might find they get a wealth of information when asking for witnesses to come through for that daylight bank robbery, mugging etc come flooding in as someone goes digging through their snaps and realises they got a photo of the person in question. in fact did they not ask for just this after 7/7?

  8. Joe


    Taking photos in public has to be a right we have, surely. People were arrested in East Berlin for taking photographs in the wrong part of town, let's not go down that road.

    They're not all bad though, the rozzers. While filming in the grounds of a derelict school last year, we were approached by two policemen. We were worried that they would ask us to leave, but instead they just warned us to be careful that the pikies who were regularly stripping the school clean of scrap metal didn't take a shine to our camera!

  9. Andy

    new legislation

    Am I right in thinking that there is new legislation still in the pipeline that may make it illegal to photograph police officers? When does that come into effect?

  10. Luther Blissett

    Ranking Google relevance

    When the Google chariot has been everywhere and photographed everything, the terrorist opportunities will be instantly identifiable by the blanks. The real victims will be press photographers - as the NUJ already is aware. When food riots are brutally suppressed by the police, the BBC will bring us the politically correct pictures - they have had the accompanying narrative in place at least since the Hillsborough disaster, and the disgusting wholesale slander of Liverpool football fans.

    Whacky Jacqui and pals are evidently as oblivious to the state of miniaturization and low cost of discreet surveillance equipment, as she is to IT. Most of us want to see the goods when we're buying; perhaps Jacqui & Co are simply satisfied by nice words. Or maybe not.

    What would Whacky get up to (or down to) if she were shuffled sideways into the MoD? Apart from a ride on a tank of course. And sniping. Perhaps she could learn something about how machines work (and fail). I understand Putin went up in a Mig, but Whacky may find one of those beyond the MoD's budget, if I read Lewis right. Still, she could always try judo. She is looking quite pudgy these days. Some rough and tumble would put some colour in her cheeks.

    // on which unpleasant thought, time for the kevlar jacquette - tho I'm happy to share with bona fide cannibals

  11. Steve Foster


    We need the photographic equivalent to the cycling event/group Critical Mass.

  12. Joe
    Thumb Down

    I wonder...

    which ones will the Filth follow, the actual law or the new 'guidelines' that seek to bend the law to their way of thinking....

  13. Gerry

    You were doing OK until...

    ...somewhere at the back of my mind I recall it being the case that the user of a highway only has the right to pass and re-pass*, so I think they could be asked to "move along" but that's hardly up there with getting bundled into the back of a van, is it?

    (Don't get me wrong, I'm with Peter Oborne and Mark whassiface on all this, but if we don't distinguish our case it's easier for others to make theirs)

    *Googled this but it is 1998-99, so things might be different

    and this, 2005, which is closer to home

  14. Scott

    Light, tunnel

    There is one light at the end of the tunnel with no one allowed to take photos ever again and Journos being locked up with opposition MPs maybe this is the end of the tabloids (hooray) and it only took our complete lose of libertys, now that wasn't so bad now was it?

  15. TimM


    I'd think of moving from the country to somewhere without a police state like this, but I'd probably be locked up for that (just thinking about it that is).

    Why don't they just go all out and declare everyone a terrorist and be done with it !

  16. Dave Bell

    Back to the old ways.

    Many years ago, Esther Rantzen was done for Obstruction, over some vox pop stuff being shot for That's Life.

    With the tech in that era, this was likely something that really did get in the way. Camera on a tripod, for one thing.

    But that is probably lurking in the background of the talk of "congestion".

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Stalin hated photographers too

    Photography was considered subversive in soviet Russia. Photography has only relatively recently been recognised as a legitimate art form in Russia (and this may only be temporary)

    Yet more evidence of our descent towards a totalitarian state.

  18. M Gale

    Fun stuff.

    Not sure if I posted this here before, but here's my own tuppence worth. I still have the Section 60 notice with "filming a police officer" on it. So.. stopped and given a telling off for the grand crime of filming a couple of high vis jackets.

    Mine's the one with the spare SD card in the pocket.

  19. David Mery

    PCSO claim

    The PCSO claim is interesting as they don't have power of arrest on their own and Section 44 of the TA 2000 is the section about 'Authorisations' to stop and search (1) cars and (2) pedestrians.

    Section 5 of the byelaws also seem apparently does not permit the use of mobile phones -without headphones- in Trafalgar and Parliament square!

    br -d

  20. xjy
    Paris Hilton


    I'm almost as shaky walking around with a camera these days as I am going through Heathrow Insecurity with a tube of toothpaste (gel) and an almost empty bottle of shampoo (liquid), not to mention a decilitre of eyewash (even more liquid liquid). All things confiscated from me at HR without reason by Mr Jobsworth. Since they don't get you to strip naked (I asked), I'm shit scared some loony will blow up my plane or send it zooming into Big Ben with some stealth explosive hidden in his jockstrap.

    (Paris cos I'd like to know what contraband she's got in her jockstrap)

  21. Steve

    Nice to see the rest of the country finally starting to wake up

    I've been stopped because I "matched a description" (I was white with dredlocks) of a guy who'd been shoving burning newspapers through letterboxes. A week or so later, a friend of mine was stopped for the same reason (he was black with a shaved head).

    The police will use whatever laws they think they can bend to fit the situation to enforce their authority. Fuck 'em, they're responsible for a generation of kids that have no reason to respect authority because it has shown no respect to them.

    Any reporter who is shocked that the police will behave this way has obviously not been paying attention.

  22. Michael Palmer

    The Public Will Despise the Police Even More

    .... than they do now. They seem little interested in responding to proper crimes, but on persecuting members of the public (probably because their easy to catch!).

  23. neil
    Black Helicopters

    A couple of things...

    Ranking Google relevance By Luther Blissett

    "When the Google chariot has been everywhere and photographed everything, the terrorist opportunities will be instantly identifiable by the blanks."

    They already reuse older data to protect potential targets, a few years ago I used a Google Earth image of the New layout at Bisley so the Scouts could find the New NSRA building, following year they'd reverted as Pirbright was too clearly shown to data 10 years out of date.

    Obviously, By Steve Foster

    "We need the photographic equivalent to the cycling event/group Critical Mass."

    Yes, maybe, a comment I made on UK.REC.CYCLING was picked up by, and if the Police Inspector was telling the truth, forwarded to the Police by Google. The comment was about the standard of Police drivers driving when returning to an unassuming building on an industrial estate being used as an undercover base. It seems the cyclistas on uk.rec.cycling are concidered subversives and are targeted as such, much the same may happen to photographers rights groups.

    Google is NOT your friend, the Governments friend, but not yours, IME.

  24. SPiT

    Have any of you read the rest of the byelaw

    On reading the whole byelaw item (5) appears to ban the use of mobile phones.

    On the other issues of common law, it is technically illegal to stand still in a public place (causing an obstruction) or carry out a conversation involving more than two persons (counts as a public meeting) if you are asked to cease doing so by a officer of the law. The offense in both cases is obstructing an officer in the course of his duties and is an arrestable offense.

  25. blackworx


    This shit makes me so angry. Cheers Tony. No, really, thanks a fucking bunch.

  26. Michael Fremlins
    Thumb Up

    My thoughts

    Do what the police do - ignore the law!

  27. kain preacher


    You match the description . One phrase minorities hate hearing in America . We are looking for a black male with jeans and shirt. Then they stop every black person. Sound like they have have learned that phrase in jolly ole england. You match the description. Male, breathing with an opinion .

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too bad, you lose

    Great Britain has become such a repressive state, that I will never return there, and will boycott British products as much as I can. I spent a very happy year of school in London in the early 60's, my sister lived in London for almost 25 years, and her kids are graduates of British universities. Too bad, GB loses. This cruft is sooo 1984 that Orwell has to be poking God in the ribs and twitting "I told you so!"...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The slippery slope...

    ... is lined with the nails of the coffins of the tips of the icebergs with their feet in the doors of our fundamental liberties.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    don't worry

    The coppers will take your picture for a line-up or with a number...take your choice.

  31. Adrian Esdaile
    Thumb Up

    The Solomon solution

    Blind EVERYONE.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terrified by the police state

    and it is all their own fault along with the Labour government.

    They have created a society that is so fragmented, and so opposed to each other, all in the name of stuffing the ballot box. They have increased tax revenue, but dropped standard of living by cramming so many people onto this isle, then layered on more and more laws that no one wants. It is a powder keg waiting to explode.

    Most of us are looking to leave the country, or in some way claim our independence of the UK, the latter would be preferable and is quite doable. Scotland will probably gain freedom in the next election. It is going to go SNP and their standard of living will be a lot better, they have much fewer people and far more space. After that, Wales will break. And the reason their economy will be stronger is they will be able to make their own laws, and run their own style of taxation.

  33. Trevor Watt

    In Soviet Russia

    The camera photographs you!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    We don't lkike the way some of you are thinking, so we will be around to arrest you all promptly.

    Kind Regards

    The Met Police (aka SS)

  35. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hitler and Stalin...

    would have creamed their fascist jeans if they had ever had this much power!


    Not Great Britain

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Not just photographers...

    "...However, if individuals were taking photos in Parliament Square, and did so without checking with us first, we would probably ask them to move on".

    Yeah, right. And if you ask, they will wholly unlawfully attempt to impose conditions on your doing it, such as demanding public liability insurance.

    The attitude of local authorities is so much governed by fear of risk and fear of liability, as well as sheer officiousness, that if you ask permission to do *anything* the automatic reaction is to say no - without even considering whether they have jurisdiction. Sworn police officers (can't talk about the various auxilliaries and authority employed security guards) are usually much better.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The old joke is no longer so funny now, is it?

    I'm reminded of the old joke that went:

    In Russia, everything is forbidden.

    In Germany, everything is forbidden unless it is explicitly permitted.

    In Britain, everything is permitted unless it is explicitly forbidden.

    In Italy, everything is permitted whether it is forbidden or not.

    Remind me again, someone, in which of these countries do we live nowadays?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    So if a pigeon craps on your coat...'re not allowed to clean it off - Section 3 of the bye-law:

    "No person shall within the Squares-


    (5) wash or dry any piece of clothing or fabric"

    Mine's the one with a white streak on the lapel.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @The old joke is no longer so funny now, is it?

    Actually, we're still "In Britain, everything is permitted unless it is explicitly forbidden", but they've just about forbidden everything... Hence the staggering burden of extra laws passed since 1997.

    I'm sure they'll seal the loopholes in due course...

  40. david wilson


    >>"Hitler and Stalin... would have creamed their fascist jeans if they had ever had this much power!"

    *Sure* they would.

    *They* just couldn't stop people taking pictures of anything they wanted.

    If only they'd had some kind of police force, or maybe even some 'secret police', they might have been able to actually repress a few citizens.

    Good job *they* never thought of doing anything like that.

    Winky, exactly *which* breakfast cereal box did you learn your 20th century history from?

    Not a large pack, I guess.

  41. Sam Radford

    Hidden cameras

    Of course the real terrorists use hidden cameras. The police should be arresting everyone who is not obviously taking a photo. Very suspicious.

    (Mine's the camera disguise as a cuddly penguin.)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Interesting video short

    The PCSO in this makes me want to hit soemthing.

  43. Tonto Popaduopolos

    I'm livid!

    I'm pretty sure I'm never going to take a photograph that would or could get me into trouble but I wish to rant and rave about it from the safety of my own home/desk etc. If Brown and his Nazi pigs want to do something about it they can rip the camera from my still twitching hands. GRRRRRRRRRR!

    Grow up and get a bloody life you bunch of slack-jawwed wankers.

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