Oh look - good news!
Get a photo, quick!
The Metropolitan Police has issued guidance to its officers to remind them that using a camera in public is not in itself a terrorist offence. There has been increasing concern in recent months that police have been over-using terrorism laws and public order legislation to harass professional and amateur photographers. The …
"The over-used Terrorism Act of 2000 does not ban photography either, although it does allow police to look at images on phones or cameras during a search to see if they could be useful to a terrorist."
Cool, this means that I might be able to get the local plod to stump up for my developing costs (me being someone who still uses film). All I need to do is ensure that frame 36 is something innocuous which warrants interest from the nearest bobby. Ah. There the plan falls down - there's never one near when you want one.
There's still the problem of the police being given daily targets to fill, and they pick on photographers as a soft touch to make up the numbers.
Photographers will still be hassled, it's just that they won't be lied to as much about having to delete their photos or threatened with arrest.
Nothing will change.
...are really beginning to improve in this country.
While no great victory has been won, the mentality seems to have shifted away from the repressive, social divide & conquer tactics employed by Nu Labour.
Perhaps they think they can convince the public that the past 10 years didn't happen in time for the Generals.
Is it just me, or are we seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?
Ten years ago this would not have even been an issue: of course people have the right to photograph things in the street.
This just goes to show how far the authorities have attempted to crush our civil liberties since 9/11. I really think it is time to get a sense of perspective: we lived with the on-going threat of terrorism from Northern Ireland for 30 years without the panic and trampling of our rights that has occurred since that event. Now there is not clear direction from where terrorism will be coming from, there re far fewer terrorist attacks and yet we need far more intrusions into our daily lives than we ever did when we were under a real terrorist threat.
"The same line of questioning and responses followed. We were then joined by officer xxxxx who again came from the Rochester end of the High Street. Once again the same line of questioning followed until such time I was arrested. At no time did I refuse to give an account for myself and my activities in the High Street."
It is interesting that the MET appears worried about their relations with members of the media and how this might affect their media image but they never mentioned any concern about their treatment of members of the public and the maintenance of good relations with the public. Maybe the subtext is that the members of the general public should avoid coming into contact with officers of the MET unless someone in the media is pointing a camera at them. That doesn't sound quite right.
I'm a part time photographer, and I get harassed when I take pictures downtown. Less by the police than building security guards. They tell me I can only take photos (of their building or others) if I step into the street (and get hit by the cars I'm not looking at while trying to take the pictures). Used to be this wasn't a problem until after the Patriot Act.
"it does allow police to look at images on phones or cameras during a search to see if they could be useful to a terrorist." Hmmm, any picture of a public building *could* be useful to a terrorist. Not a very definitive guideline (not that you could easily produce a definitive guideline anyways).
Re : ThomH, "Advice from an American?" : License is "permission to", Licence is the "document which shows one is licensed to" ... or summat like that.
It may not stop the rozzers hassling photographers but knowing that they have been reminded of what the law is gives an extra feeling of confidence when standing up to them when they overstep their powers.
If there's also advice issued that it's not acceptable to kick three 'appence of crap out of someone just for being a smart arse, you can safely try that ;-)
The Met harass you for taking innocent photographs, tell you its against the law and that they want you to delete them. If you complain, raise your voice, sound angry, they threaten to arrest you for a public order offense.
After the event you write and complain and get a letter in response. They state the law (which they have misused) and say they have again issued clear guidance to their officers clarifying the law. But guess what? Next day, next week the same thing happens again and again and again. Either the police cannot read or understand the 'clarification' or they are told to ignore the clarification and carry on harassing people because the law gives them the freedom to harass. So how did we get into the position of being harassed by our public servants?
The question really is in whose name do they act? There isn't a me, you and a mysterious other group called the public that wants them to do this to maintain public order. We are the public and MP's are our servants. So who told the MP's to pass this law and its amendments in Parliament? It was the whips. Who told the whips what instructions to issue to MP's?...
Now here is the bigger view. If you Google 'European Commission final report on ECHELON' you will find that they, no less, are concerned about US monitoring activities of EU citizens. It's all part of a huge enterprise to monitor where we go, what we say, what we like, what we spend our money on, who we know and who knows them. Not just in the UK, Europe or the US but globally. Everyone, everywhere is to be monitored.
Its all done in the name of protecting the 'public' from terrorism. But there is no way the so called terrorists can do so much damage globally that this level a constant surveillance of over 4 billion people is justified. So the truth is really that the state is becoming scared of its own people. We should be complaining more about that than over a few deleted photographs. But oh no I have now expressed a different view making me and all of you terrorists for reading this far. Welcome to the new world order. Go and search Google.
The good thing is that when you're arrested and you DNA sample and fingerprints are added to the All-Knowing Database for the next twelve years, you'll enjoy a sense of rightous indignation at having been screwed over by the State once again, and for once, you'll know you're right because El Reg told you you are.
High time ... though I doubt it will make any difference, given the "us and them" attitude of so much of the police force these days.
I wonder - thinking of photography, demo-control debacles and other incidences of an increasingly politicised police force - is there a single recorded incident of a police officer with enough moral fibre to say to his senior officers "This is NOT what I signed up for!"??
That should be fun...
My Nikon DSLR allows the use of folders, I can have it showing only one folder on image playback before you can say 'ello 'ello.
Even if I don't... "Of course I will delete that image officer"... *delete*
Wait for policeman to leave, swap memory card, recover image later with PC file recovery software.
Lucky they're about a technologically aware as my mother!
I have a coffee-table book containing high-quality photos of Westminster, including inside the not-open-to-tourists areas of Houses of Parliament and the private areas of Bucky the Talking Palace, amongst other places (Sandringham, et ali). The book contains floor plans and high quality aerial photography. I bought it at a used book seller's on Station Parade, between Albert Street & Victoria Avenue in Harrogate about three decades ago. I assume that so-called "terrorists" can acquire similar materials on the used market.
Taking pictures from the street is bloody useless in comparison. Anyone who thinks otherwise is, to put it bluntly, a fucking idiot who shouldn't be left alone with a toaster, much less be in charge of running a nuclear nation!
 I think that's where it was. It was quite a while ago!
For what it's worth, Jeff, most sidewalks in the US are considered "easements," which means the city in which the building is situated *requires by law* that the sidewalk be made available for the traversal of the public. Building security guards have no right, under such a circumstance, to order you off the sidewalk, whether you are taking pictures or not. If they don't like your presence, and so long as you are on a public easement, their only legal recourse is to call the police, possibly under the charge of loitering or some such.
Save a copy of the Met webpage and print it out for Plod to read while you take their photo....or PDF it and put it on your phone which is what I'll be doing. At the same time just mention that you'll be noting their badge number as you'll be needing this for the written harrassment complaint....
They have photographs of everything from satellites and the car has photographs of everything at ground level
Are Google different from the casual snapper who gets hasselled by the Coppers.
ps. Down here in NZ , I have not heard of anyone being oppressed by our Boys in Blue for being a photographer.
I raise a glass in support of our Coppers
In the past couple of months I've read about Austrian tourists and Spanish tourists being treated like terrorists. I suppose if anything can scare the Met it's complaints appearing in the foreign press and lodged at embassies, the last thing the UK needs is another sector of the economy going titsup.
Yawn. Another crowd pleaser from the met guaranteed to change nothing and ensure the 'we dont pick on ethnics' number balancing goes on. The pigs should not be allowed to look at images on a card at all without a warrant or an arrest on properly thought through grounds.
The police are now so statistically obsessed that they no longer perform any actual function beyond providing a topic for tories and labour to argue in the opinion columns. We should all, without fail, lodge a complaint every single time one of Himmler's Little Helpers decides to balance up for the three Asians he pulled earlier in the week for driving expensive cars.
Why do the pricks even bother wasting the paper.
It's also worth noting that no police officer, or any security officer (such as Mall security etc) have the right to confiscate a camera, camera equipment or film off you. If you really do upset PC Plod, the only way they can seperate you from your camera is by arresting you. CSOs and security guards have no right to confiscate camera equipment, all they can do is detain you pending the arrival of a full officer.
Despite 20 yrs using Macs, Photoshop etc., I still use my Nikon 35mm systems - still preferring Fujichrome (+ my Nikon film scanner) to digital.
Does this now mean that if Plod demands to see my photographs, I can expect Plod to pay for the processing of my Fujichrome, and to pay restitution + compensation if they "lose" my transparencies?
We were taking our executive members photos on the bridge literally next to A&E at St Marys Hospital, Paddington. The bridge is over the Grand Unipon canal, complete with signs, BIG signs suggesting that people walk or cycle to work down it.
The Police were called by some over-zealous person in a yellow jacket; who then demanded our passports as ID.
The police had a conversation with our chairman, a notable very Senior Medical Consultant who was livid at the police attitude to a simple photograph.
I published them just the same and the yellow-jacketed fool.
Scroll down for the fun....................
I'm free to trawl the streets of Swansea without any policemen harassing me. Why? I told them at the station and informed them of what I was doing, any stoppage I could get and they can then phone through but they never have done. Problem solved and now I have a good relationship with the police here. The ones on the street know me especially and inform their colleagues before they say anything. Job done.
"Why the hell should you or I have to inform anyone that we are conducting ourselves in a lawful manner?"
Because you and I and all our beloveds, friends and neighbors too have all been softly, silently and snarkily put into the NeoPosition of being presumed GUILTY of CRIME on sight now these days, instead of the Right Thing being presumed as was so in the past.
It is a process that has a name. The Name of the Process is called "ponerization". Google [ "Political Ponerology" + Lobicziewski + download + .pdf ] and glom the whole book from Red Pill Press.
Parallel reading: "The Mask of Sanity" by Hervey Cleckley MD. Ditto re the .pdf download - it is evidently now donated to society at large by the author as a Survival Manual. I get the same "feel" from reading about Lobiczievski, who now is a very aged man, as well.
Signs of the times imvho. Because one must *have* the truth in order to *handle* the truth, is why.
The Boffin, because to gain a useful understanding of evil without becoming a practitioner thereof ones' own self at all in any given lifetime is a High Attainment of the Genuine Science. All others are predictably gone to the Dark Side and got a quindillion dirty-gained quatlooz stashed away in Antigua or somewhere no doubt.
I'm happy to delete pictures if the police cause a fuss, but then my DSLR takes 2 memory cards, a large compactflash, and a small non-obvious xd card, and can easily be set to store images to both at once. However it only displays the contents of one of them, and anything deleted will only be deleted from the currently selected card. Selecting the other card is buried somewhere in the menus
Somone ought to remind Cleveland Police about the law, as they've just detained a local newspaper journalist and photographer under the Terrorism Act
The response of the Assistant Chief Constable to yet another PCSO overreaction? Concern? An Apology? Retraining? Nope.
"Cleveland Police do have a right to ask for identification to establish the purpose of those who might be involved in photography around crowded built up urban areas and public space"
And where can we get a copy of this "guidance" so we can show it to over-officious policeman? The looks I get from the Police when I am photographing on the street are quite intimidating; it seems that because I have a "proper camera" I am more suspicious than someone with a compact with the same size zoom...
(About the "Harry Potter" actor done for cannabis possession)
"Police seized the camera after [Waylett] was arrested for taking a picture of officers as he and his friend John Innis, 20, drove past, the court was told."
"Waylett and Innis were stopped under the Terrorism Act in Lodge Road, St John's Wood, west London, after the actor took a photograph of a police patrol."
That pesky terrorism act coupled with shy policemen...