back to article City Police still using Terror Act to bother photographers

Just when you thought it was safe to go snapping... City of London Police prove they still haven't got the memo. Yesterday, it was the turn of Grant Smith to feel the heavy hand of the law. Smith is a professional photographer. On Monday he was looking for a location on London Wall appropriate to a portrait of one of the …


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  1. My Alter Ego
    Big Brother

    Please run a poll

    Which concerns you more when visiting London?

    a). Being blown up whilst using public transport

    b). Being stopped by police under S.44 for taking a tourist photo of a "possible terrorist target"

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Please run a poll

      Evidently the second is vastly more likely and so I'm afraid I've have to vote for that. I presume that isn't the answer you wanted from your loaded question, so sorry about that.

      1. Basic
        Thumb Up


        To be frank the odds of a terrorist attack are so small that I'd personally be willing to brave them in exchange for some civil liberties

      2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

        Re: Re: Please run a poll

        Funny, that's the exact opposite of how I read it. Maybe your internal dictionary is lacking a definition for the word 'irony'?

    2. Ministry of Truth

      The words I want to use...

      ...would offend the delicate shell-likes of Ms Moderatrix.

      I'd rather risk a bomb than be a fascist.

      I'd rather risk a bomb than live in a police state.

      Ignorant and heavy handed police like this just create more problems than their tiny and bullying minds could possibly solve.

      Not only should he press charges for theft, he should press charges for assault.

      That said, if a pig can beat a woman holding a carton of juice on camera and walk away from court, I think he's got no chance.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which concerns me more

      Yep - "B", obviously.

      I have a 9 in 10 chance of being stopped by police for taking a photograph, then being rummaged through, and my cell stolen... sorry "confiscated". Especially if its a nice one. And, as nearly all cell phones have cameras in them anyway, you still don't seem to understand the carte blanche attitude that has been levied against the public.

      By the odds, if I win the lottery in England, Spain and France, and am then hit by lightning (twice, mind), then I might worry that I might be "blown up" by a terrorist.

      Why am I not so worried about them? Well, the government can't get any of their other contractors to follow through with anything properly...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My 2 penneth.

      I fear the police everywhere, not just our Met or City of London fascist bullyboys. The police have an uncanny knack of making decent law abiding citizens feel like they are scum of the earth, while at the same time allowing the actual scum of the earth to get away with blue murder due to their incredibly lax attitude to actually following the rules.

      I also fear the taliban, al qaeda and other associate terror cells because i read the daily mail.

      Infact, thinking about it, i am never leaving the house again.

    5. Anonymous Coward


      Throughout the 80s and 90s when the (rather more competent) IRA were blowing people up on a regular basis, the chances of you getting blown up were vanishingly small. Now, the chances of you getting blown up in London are orders of magnitude lower than the chances of you getting run over, or having a drunken injury on the Tube (in the last 10 years at least 50 times more people have had drunken injuries on public transport in London than have been blown up).

      The chances of me being stopped and screwed around by over-zealous police because I'm enjoying some photography is actually very high, so this concerns me far more than being blown up.

      Finally, and this one is really important so listen carefully. Can someone, please, point out to me the link between photographers and terrorists. As far as I am aware (and I was in the military for 8 years, searching under my car every day for an IRA bomb), there has never been a case reported anywhere in the world in which a terrorist attack has been linked to an earlier recce by a photographer with a big SLR (that would nicely show up on CCTV if you went looking). I can't even remember any cases where someone went out with a point and shoot prior to a terrorist attack. I can remember an SLR being used to photograph the front of a bank in the film, "The Bank Job", and perhaps this is the link the police are using. If you are going to stop photographers because they might be performing recce for a forthcoming explosion, you should also stop everyone who uses the tube, since the 7 Jul bombers (iirc) did do a recce that involved travelling along the tube lines they were going to bomb a short while before 7 Jul.

      If the police can come up with a decent link between photographers and terrorists. One which will withstand some basic scrutiny. Then we can start to take them seriously. At the moment, they are just being pocket stasi, abusing the excessive power that the last government decided to foolishly give them to combat a terror threat that has never been as serious as the IRA.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Does that include

      getting shot on the tube??

      I am much more concerned about the actions of the police than the very slim chance of being a victim of terrorism. The IRA had a good go at blowing things up which was adequately dealt with without the widespread abuse of police powers.

      One has to realise that terrorist acts, deplorable though they are, are an occasional hazard, police actions and abuse can undermine the very fabric of our society.

      This man should make formal complaints including theft of his phone and if necessary seek a judicial review ove rthe police actions.

    7. Trygve
      Thumb Up

      @My Alter Ego

      Don't know about 'visiting' London, but I've lived here for 18 years, and I always take public transport.

      -Bishopsgate truck bomb was about half a mile from my hall of residence

      -South Quay truck bomb went off a couple of weeks after I'd ridden through there to visit a mate

      -Was living in Whitechapel when the tube bombings happened, although I generally used the District line rather than Circle

      And frankly, being blown up wasn't and isn't that much of a worry to me.

      Drunken aggressive yobs who never had the slightest concern that the police would do anything to them? Those were and are regularly a concern.

      Jumped-up little uniform-wearing jobsworths of various kinds, on a power trip? Were and are regularly a pain in the a**e

    8. Stuart Halliday

      One rule for one location...

      Oddly when as a Tourist last year I was taking pictures outside Westminster with gay abandonment! The police looked at me and the dozens of other people taking pictures of this very sensitive building.

      Did they challenge us - no.

      So why else where?

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Put the spot light on Leicester too.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Definite Terrorist

      There is nothing in Leicester that you would want to photo for pleasure.

      Therefore it must be a Taliban plot to destroy the Walker crisp factory

  3. Thomas 4

    How to phrase this without sounding like a DM reader

    I really hope the officers involved in this fiasco, which smacks of bullying and intimidation, get their balls nailed to the wall for this. Metaphorically speaking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Metaphorically hell. Nail his todger to the wall I say. With rusty nails. 10 inch ones. With blunt ends. Attached to a heating coil. At 70degrees.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They won't....

      ...which is actually a major part of this problem...

    3. Squirrel
      Thumb Up

      Metaphorically speaking

      Some high quality ass covering there!!! :D

    4. Richard 120

      You know

      You've obviously also read about the prosecution of the "going to blow the airport up" tweeter. Best avoid making it look too much of a threat

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    The security guard should be charged

    Given that one of the security personnel had previously called the police, and knew that no offence was being committed, should the security guard not be charged with wasting police time?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      It wasn't a waste!

      They got a mobile phone and some amusement out of it.

      Better than doing typewriter duty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He won't....

      ...being a mindless jobsworth is currently one of this country's highest callings...

      I suspect they have a factory somewhere that clones them.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Thank god

    they stopped him in time. No way to know how much damage that bastard could have caused had he been allowed to run wild with a camera AND a mobile phone. Good job by the police. Thanks to them at least I can feel safe. Over here in Denmark.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    She then went on to ask...

    Are you Happy?

    Failure to be Happy is punishable by summary execution, arent you a happy little citizen?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Abusing the extent of law

    Imagine all the niceties coming our way with the introduction of the new Digital Economy bill...

  8. Dave 120

    Unlawful force

    If the removal of the phone had no legal basis then any force used was unlawful.

    If you could prove theft then the use of force made it robbery.

    Don't forget to ask for a copy of the search record that will (should) include the numbers of every officer involved. This record is mandatory even for a S44 search.

    1. asiaseen

      and then

      sue (in the civil court) the bastards personally together with whoever is the boss of the City police. A criminal complaint of theft would likely go nowhere because they would be investigating themselves.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just plain wrong

    Harassing innocent tax paying citizens like this is a clear abuse of power. Welcome back to 1984!

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      it's worse than 1984

      in 1984 they were just watching .....

      1. Anonymous Bastard
        Thumb Down

        As someone who has actually read it

        1984 contained a number of beatings, interrogations and torture. Big Brother didn't just watch, he took action too.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge


          oh dear... I'm showing my ignorance, sorry!

    2. Jared Hunt

      Oh god!

      Not another tired old refernce to 1984! I was wondering how long it would take someone to trot that one out. Change the bloody record will you? Sheesh!

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      "Do it to Julia!"

      Perhaps we should bring back the head-cage with the rats, especially for these trumped up nutters!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Aye, and don't forget the flames

        May as well spur the little buggers into action while you're at it.

  10. Maverick
    Thumb Down

    this tells you all you need to know

    . . . about why we need a new government - though it's looking increasingly likely that we will get the same bunch of megalomaniacs back

    at least WJ won't be one of them so be thankful for small mercies (well at least until she gets a peerage)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward least WJ won't be one of them...

      We thought that about Mandelson. Several times...

      1. Maverick

        please don't

        I just had to go for rest in a darkened room after that

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Can U Say Police State

    More proof that the police are getting out of hand any using any excuse to throw their weight around doing the biddin gof their political masters.

    I say press charges for the theft of the mobile.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Stolen property

    Is there a procedure for getting back items the police take from you? I'd be furious if one stole my phone.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Grant Smith again

    Surely this constitutes harassment: is Mr Smith not entitled to perform his job?

  14. Anonymous Coward


    This is getting beyond control, now overzealous shop staff and managers are getting all upset and threatening police involvement for taking photographs in public places...

  15. Lamont Cranston

    I'm normally one to speak up in defence of the police and our justice system,

    afterall, it's a difficult job that wont always be gotten right. Then I read a story like this one, hot on the heels of the poor sod who got his life ruined over threatening tweet. Ugh.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It IS a difficult and dangerous job

      That's why some of them prefer to harrass innocent bystanders instead of putting themselves in harm's way (or even rational thought's way) by fighting actual crime. After all, they're a lot safer fighting against a camera and a phone than a knife or a gun.

  16. Cyberspy
    Black Helicopters

    Progressive Alliance

    All these laws introduced under Labour - one of the self-styled members of the 'Progressive Alliance'.

    Where are we all progressing too? A police state it would seem.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lost opportunity...

    The photographer should have phoned the police to say there was a violent crime in progress. He'd have had plenty of time to walk away during the ensuing wait...

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Sadly, the reputation of the police in this country is tarnished by the actions of the few.

    Although it is difficult to comment without knowing all the facts here, it looks like a clear case of abuse of power by a small number of officers.

    The correct action should be to suspend, and investigate those officers, and if anything untoward is discovered in the ensuing investigation, to sack them. Unfortunately, this is not how it seems to work in this country. The most likely course of events would be for no disciplinary action to be taken at all against the officers concerned. Second most likely is that the press whips up enough fuss that an investigation occurs, and the aforementioned PCs get a slap on the wrist.

    Thich is why the police in this country have a poor reputation. They only have themselves to blame in this respect. Nobody should be above the law, particularly those positioned to be able to abuse the rules.

  19. Dan 10
    Thumb Down

    Crikey, Penfold

    Sounds like they were enjoying themselves from the sound of this.

    I recently had a visit from 2 well-mannered GMP officers, accompanied by an arrest warrant served by the met. Who are 200 miles away. For a suspect with a different middle name to mine. And a different birthday. And a different physical description. etc etc. They were polite and showed some common sense when confronted with the fact that I clearly wasn't the wanted man, but I'm not sure that the same could be said for their Met counterparts.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Had no such problems in Instanbul recently....

    where I shot quite a few 360' panoramics in and around the streets and historic locations. Nobody gave a toss about this shady behaviour, even when I was standing in the middle of some really quite busy roads.

    Hell I even took a picture of a (muslim) ablution fountain where a little girl happened to be sitting on one edge. - No parents hysterically calling me a paedo or a riot van of plod pulling up to arrest me.

    I don't think I'd ever take the risk of shooting 360's in London as the tripod kit doesn't look like normal photo stuff and must therefore be some terror weapon :-(

  21. iMess


    They aren't stupid. When are the security of our country going to realise that they will know of S.44 and send out families to take photos. So would the police suspect EVERY tourist to the city? Would they stop and search them all? Didn't think so. Do you think a terrorist would argue with a security guard or do you think they would just come back at a later time?

    Logic. These forces have none.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    City Coppers

    Just a bunch of met wannabes.

    If they have taken something and not properly logged it they are open to all kinds of legal issues - not to mention it calls into question their handling of evidence in every other case.

    The City of London Police is a comical force at the best of times but really needs to be held under the spotlight (and waterboarded to a man) here.

    Please, El Reg, do not let up on this. You have the choice of simply reporting the news as it hits elsewhere or trying to follow a story through to its conclusion. I know what I would rather see.

  23. Elmer Phud
    Big Brother

    City cops ain't the Met

    Hmm, City of London Police behaving as usual.

    They seem to reckon they are above all other police in the U.K. and don't need to abide by the same advice or rules.

    It has to be remembered that the City of London - the tiny bit with the Bank in it - has it's own rules and regulations - and the City of London police are controlled more by them than anyone else.

    "Move along on now, nothing to see. We're just doing our job.

    No, if you try and quote the law at us we'll nick you for conspiracy to aid a potential terrorist."

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Phone was returned

    If you read the comments he got his phone back. However still pretty poor show.

  25. Shinku 1

    A lesson from the Love Police

    There's something to be learned from the Love Police:

  26. Kurt 5

    Phone Dump

    They need his phone to find out who the rest of the members of his terrorist cell are. Then they can properly expand their inquisition.

  27. Scott 19

    Nothing done

    And i'm going to Bet365 (can you use named brands around here) to bet that nothing is done about the police officers, funny enough the same happens with criminals they get caught, the courts let 'em off with a slap on the wrist which ain't bad so you go out and do it again, i'm guessing they think well the crims get away with it so why shouldn't we.

    The film 2001 was based 100 years to early and with the way this police state is going 1985 was based 40/50 years to early.

    That bloke from Ashes-toashes (if he was real) would be so proud.

  28. seanj

    I think, therefore you're nicked.

    'According to Smith, PC374 said: "The very fact you were here at all is the reason we’ve stopped you."'

    What the FUCK kind of country do we live in where simply being at a place is reason to be detained, forcibly searched and have your property stolen?!

    These so-called Police Officers should be arrested and charged with various acts of thuggery, and potentially with carrying out a terrorist act against a member of the public.

  29. Allicorn

    Hey you

    Pick up that can, citizen.

    1. Ned Leprosy Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hey you

      Thanks for that - I was trying to think of what a trip into London made me think of, and that served as a nice reminder. Well, for specific values of "nice" of course.

      1. Sooty

        Welcome :)

        welcome to the City of London, you have chosen, or been chosen, to relocate to one of our finest remaining urban centers. I thought so much of City of London that I elected to establish my administration here, in the Citadel so thoughtfully provided by our benefactors. I have been proud to call City of London my home. So whether you are here to stay, or passing through on your way to parts unknown, welcome to City of London. It's safer here.

  30. Wang N Staines


    Get a new job!

    1. Doshu
      Big Brother

      simple ? how 'bout no, scott

      Oh yeah, great idea. Give up. And while we're all at it, why don't we just let the bastards use terrorism as an excuse for yet MORE intrusions into people's lives and privacy.

      And i don't want to hear from any of you fear mongers about how it's making us safer. Pure bollocks.

      Statistically speaking, we are no more and no less safe with than without most of these ridiculous knee-jerk fear reactions -- oh sorry, anti-terror laws.

      Anyone see V for vandetta? Just a thought.

  31. Giddy Kipper

    @My Alter Ego

    Please save such vacuous remarks for your sycophants at the Daily Fail. They'll love you all the more for it. Thank you.

    1. My Alter Ego

      @Giddy Kipper

      I can only hope that you missed the Big Brother icon.

      I'm really quite insulted at the suggestion that I darken said website.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    This is nothing new

  33. Anonymous Coward

    You didn't complain when stop and search was implemented

    You said "it doesn't bother me, they'll stop and search only criminals.

    Who's going to complain now for you?

  34. Captain TickTock

    Prevention of Tourism Act...

    Tourism/Terrorism... whatever

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They Don't call it The War Against Terror for nothing. And these police officers were definatly being true to the acronymn.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    All coppers are bastards

    Not all of them (I know some pretty good ones), but some are. While such abuse of power is sanctioned, let alone tolerated, many will think they all are. After all, how could any decent copper be comfortable with such abuse, let alone partake in it?

    The police do themselves no favour. Through resentment they may not get the leads and help they need to fight the real terrorist threat. They are consequently putting everyone's lives at risk through their petty jobsworthian behaviour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Two Little Boys in Blue

      Even my father (who has had to keep a good line of communication due to holding shotgun licences) doesn't think much of most of the police force.

      Still whatever else we can look forward to an honest, upfront and unflinching investigation leading to justice for the grievously harassed photographer. And now for a song from Mr Connolly:

  37. Anonymous Coward

    And if you think anything will be done to the orifcers......

    .... You must be out of your tree. (Which is an offence, for which you shall be summarily tortured with electro shock 'therapy').

    Even if it got before one of the inbreds we call judges, it would no doubt be brushed over.

    And if you think it would be any different under the tories boot heel, you would be right, they can afford better bootmakers.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    They do a difficult job

    We all make mistakes, however I for one know that they do a very difficult job in difficult circumstances, do any of the critical folk in here have any idea of what sort of things they have to deal with on a day to day basis? I wonder if they could do the job?

    I suspect some of the nerdy keyboard warriors haven't got a clue, in which case, they should go and get one. Go and spend a shift with your local force and see for yourself.

    1. neverSteady


      So just because the police have a tough job, we need to allow for such minor indiscretions? You need to spend some time on the striking end of a police baton.

      And invoking words such as "Keyboard Warrior" should earn you little more than ridicule.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      HOW difficult?

      Just how difficult is their job?

      Copper: "Hello security guard, please tell me your story..."

      Rentacop: "I am a fascist and don't like this here bloke, he must be a terrorist"

      Copper: "Hello man with camera, please tell me your story..."

      Man: "Well I am trying to take a pic of this building as part of my job. The fascist bloke over there is obstructing me and told me that it is illegal to take photos of this building, although I am standing on public property, and the building is not an official secret."

      I didn't see anything in the article suggesting a difficult situation. No drunks, no guns or knives...

      So if I have a bad time in my job one day, can I use that as an excuse to persecute someone else a different day?

    3. No, I will not fix your computer

      Yes....... But.......

      The police do a difficult job and it mostly goes unappreciated by the general populus, but this doesn't mean they are allowed to operate outside the guidelines (let alone the law).

      >>Go and spend a shift with your local force and see for yourself.

      Police jobs are over-subscribed by people who actually want to do the job, they have have job security, above average pay, reasonable hours, decent pension, early retirement etc. if they don't want to do it there will be 10 others willing and able to take their place. But even if they didn't get rewarded for doing a nasty job it wouldn't excuse them from operating outside the guidelines (let alone the law).

    4. kissingthecarpet

      I'm suprised

      you didn't also come out with "one bad apple..." etc. You a pig then? Or got a relative who's in the filth. If not, does the sight of a copper's truncheon give you the horn? At best they are a necessary evil.

    5. Paul RND*1000

      Yes, they do a difficult job, but...

      You're right, most people have no idea what police sometimes face in their day-to-day duties, but those same people are those whose trust is vital to the police being able to to their job at all. Harassment of those who are not committing a crime *will* destroy that trust. Difficulty of working circumstances is no excuse, you need the public's trust even if they *don't* get how hard your job is sometimes.

      Sure we all make mistakes, but this particular mistake has happened often enough and been publicized widely enough recently that it's hard to see it as anything but deliberate thuggery and abuse of power when it happens now.

      Make those "mistakes" enough times and watch how much more difficult policing will get when even law-abiding people treat you with suspicion. Want an example? Go find someone who was in the RUC and had to attempt to police areas where they were at best unwanted and at worst a target.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Emergency nurses and Mental Health nurses do a far more difficult job with a far higher instance of attack.

    7. Anonymous Coward

      @ AC 11 May 2010 14:02 GMT

      "We all make mistakes, however I for one know that they do a very difficult job in difficult circumstances, do any of the critical folk in here have any idea of what sort of things they have to deal with on a day to day basis? I wonder if they could do the job?"

      Yes to both. And I am still critical of the facist bastards who did this.

      Now, as you seem to be a uniform services groupie, can you please agree with everything I say? Alternatively you can come and shadow me on my job and watch as I break no laws and manage to avoid harrassing innocent people. It can be done you know.

  39. Technician
    Thumb Down

    Poor tourists

    And we wonder why the number of tourists to London is falling?

    If this happens to everyone that take a picture of the many historic buildings in the City of London then bye bye tourist trade.

    If those officers don't get a reprimand at least then I for one am leaving the country.

    One more nail as we say.

  40. benoit

    Real Question

    I think the real question we should be asking is "what secret installation is below the London Wall" .. because obviously there is one. I can't think of any other reason you would want to take pictures of it. Oh...

    Mines the one with the 300mm lense

  41. Keith Oborn

    Still waiting--

    For the first policeman to try this on a Google Street View car.

  42. Rogerborg

    Seems like a nice earner

    He'll get a mealy-mouthed apology and a nice fat cheque (taxpayer funded), likely significantly more than he could make from a day's snapping.

    Heck, you could probably make a career out of this, without even needing any photographic skill, or for that matter a working camera.

    Given the level of Jobsworthism being displayed, you might even try making a square with your fingers and saying "Click!" then waiting for the riot squad to turn up.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      What makes you think

      he'll get any money? Don't be daft. He'll be lucky not to get his house raided & his computers nicked

    2. Sam Liddicott

      What you do is...

      From the mouth of a policeman; if you suffer harm at the police you:

      1. see a solicitor

      2. pick a price

      3. write a letter to the chief constable asking for the money

      Don't bother with the IPCC or complaints procedures or any of that, they are NOT designed to help the complainant.

      Once the Chief has a demand for money in his hands he can prioritize appropriately and drag the idiot officers who are costing him this money in front of him.

      Do not immerse yourself in their bureaucracy.


  43. kissingthecarpet

    If anyone here

    thinks the cops will get better under a Tory govt must be too young or stupid to remember the last lot. The cops will get a lot worse before they get better. Tories think cops can do no wrong & that the sun shines out of their large & spotty arses. If this isn't you & you voted for them, you've been mugged.

    1. Shakje


      Can't wait for the Tories to start removing all that nasty "red tape".

  44. JohnG

    The cure

    Damages for such abuse of power should not be paid out of overall police budgets provided by the tax payer but should be deducted from the salaries in the force concerned, spread evenly according to pay grade.

  45. nsld

    Take pictures at the weekend

    When the city of London police only have one bod on duty.

    Good job those pesky terrorists dont work at weekends!

  46. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 14:02

    Q) If their job is so difficult then why make it more so by wasting the publics, the courts but mainly their own time with this kind of nonsense.

    A) Because the guy didn't immediately bend over, whimper and act nice and subservient like a good citizen/subject should.

    It's all about anthropology. Having a small penis might also be a factor.

  47. myhandle
    Thumb Down

    Do we want more police?

    Last time there was a topic like this, I asked if we really wanted more police like the politicians were saying as they go about ring fencing police budgets. Many of the people on this list replied, "yes' we do want more police.

    Sigh... If we go about protecting their budgets and stating in public that we want more police, obviously the message they take from this is that we are happy with them and want more of it...

  48. Anonymous Coward

    These cops will make great actors...

    I will laugh on the day that terrorists will start going around dressed as cops...

    I mean, seriously, they always say that they don't have time for the "small" crimes and then keep harassing photographers? Honestly they must have had a really bad training, because terrorists would know better than that, as someone else mentioned in another comment...

    Surely holding back coalition forces for more than 7 years must count as advanced or guerrilla skills... now you would expect them to go peeking in broad daylight to take pictures at "famous" buildings... come on!

    It's just easier for the cops to use "scaring" techniques on easy targets (read walking pedestrian with expensive equipment who would not risk to break those), now that's terror!

  49. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Personally I worry about the huge pressure on the police arresting 100,000 visitors to the olympics - trying to get the message out here that if anyone wants to risk visiting London (crawling as it is with terrorist photographers) they should make sure they don't take a camera or a cellphone with a camera.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > (3) An authorisation under subsection (1) or (2) may be given only if the person giving

    > it considers it expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism.

    It has to be intended to prevent terrorism.

    An explanation of the terror about to be unleashed seems a reasonable request.

    > (4) An authorisation may be given—

    > (c) where the specified area or place is the whole or part of the City of London, by a

    > police officer for the City who is of at least the rank of commander in the City of London

    > police force;

    Note that a lowly constable can't authorise himself.

    Is there a standing authorisation in place in the City?

    > (5) If an authorisation is given orally, the person giving it shall confirm it in writing as soon

    > as is reasonably practicable.

    That'll be interesting reading.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh yes

      > Is there a standing authorisation in place in the City?

      Yes, pretty much along with the rest of London.

      Which rather negates the bit where authorization is needed - if it's always authorized then it's not being authorized really.

  51. John Sturdy

    Street View (and aesthetics)

    Not that I'd know what to look for when planning a terrorist raid, but wouldn't the Google Street View be a reasonably good start? It shows a row of manhole covers (or whatever they're meant to be called now) in the street very near a couple of covers (well, it looks like they have recessed handles) that are on the bank property -- which is information which no-one would have bothered to type in for it to be findable on the web were it not for the idiotic actions of their security goon.

    And if they're that bothered about security, why have they got the front door propped open (see Street View)? Just to let the smoke in from the smokers hanging round outside it? Or couldn't the said smokers be bothered to take their swipe cards out with them for getting back in? Ah, no, there's no swipe card reader outside.

    Maybe the secret bit is underground, down that hole (stairwell?) right at the corner of the building, in front of the potted plants (quite near those movable pavement slabs that are near the manhole cover).

    Having seen what the building looks like, I'd only photograph it in protest -- it's hardly an advert for whoever designed it! Their chief executive might have a $1,516,000 salary and $2,626,000 bonus but that doesn't filter down to the bank having good taste (I didn't expect it to).

    Oh yes, and their Hong Kong branch can't spell "amount".


    State thugs - on too long of a leash

    The police have these great powers to use against teh evil terroristas and they're just itching to use them - you know: have a bit of good ol' argy bargy, cracking a few skulls, wins for the team kicking Al' Qaeda's arse and all that.

    The only problem is, they're all revved up to go and there's no bleedin' terrorists.

    "But we wus promised a good bita skull crackin' guv!"

    Photographers are toys dangling on a bit of string: a soft target the pigs can get their claws into (mixing my metaphors there a bit) and practice their fight-the-good-fight, play at being part of the war on terror and add a bit of excitement to a routine and boring day, with no real risk to themselves (by tackling a real terrorist).

    Can't feel like you have power unless you use it.

    That's why the police need to be restrained. They think Peel's laws on policing are something to do with their lunch-time fruit portion and they're in it for the adrenaline and the testosterone hit they get when they exercise their authoritay.

  53. YumDogfood

    Aldermanbury Square?

    You mean like on google streetview?

  54. kapple999

    Did he get his phone back?

    I'd be really p**sed off to be out of pocket and short my BlackBerry!

  55. Maty

    yes, but ...

    There's a proverb that every country gets the government - and by extension the police force - it deserves. Not always true, but in the UK the people voted in the government that passed these laws, and came remarkably close to endorsing that government in the recent election.

    So when the democratic will of the people is that they want to live in something fast approaching a police state/surveillance society, that's what the people get. Fact is, until the public in general come to understand that giving up their rights does not make them safer, it will keep happening.

    (For the protection of our children, obviously)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Change people

    I thought you guys would make the best IT bosses but I was wrong! You lot should replace the coppers on the beat right up to the MPs in parliament. The country would be a much better place than it is now.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Big surprise.

    It's becoming normal police practice to stop people for no discernable reason, and then when nothing untoward is found, concoct some waffle about "beligerance and shifty looks" to cover their arses.

    I used to look at the police in places like Iran and Pakistan like a joke, but now I realise our police are equally as malicious. You simply can't trust them anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As often as not...

      ...such random stops are done to justify why officers aren't where they ought to be. Got to think of something when there's a serious shout and you're coming out of Macdonald's streets away or sitting up a country lane with your fish and chips. Next punter along is in for a surprise....

  58. R 11

    Shoot film?

    It'd be interesting if you used film. That should cause them a few problems when they ask to review your photographs.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    common sense

    Don't these wooden tops come with any common sense built in ?

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CoLP = Graduate's Career Ladder

    The trouble with CoLP is it's full of graduate career-coppers.

    It's location means three things - you get more money and free train travel in the South East (or you did a few years ago) and you don't have to do much.

    You're then free to swan about and work your way up the career ladder by brown-nosing and avoiding work that involves arresting people.

    Once upon a time, policing was a vocation - now it's become a 'good career option for a graduate' and we're lost.

    Things will only get worse as time passes as the folks that joined for the money rather than the job will be working their way up the ranks and making bad decisions for the coppers who joined for the right reasons to deal with.

    AC - why of course

  61. David 45


    This is, once again, despicable gung-ho and heavy-handed tactics by the plod. They seem to forget that they are supposed to be serving us. Have they not got the message that photographers are not be harassed? The phone connection, (if you pardon the pun) must be followed up, if, as it seems, police have "confiscated" (read "thieved") it without sufficient evidence or just cause. This is really getting beyond a joke and someone's wrist needs a severe slapping.

  62. nsld


    Good point, section 44 searches can only occur in areas pre designated under the terms of the act.

    If I recall they have to be renewed and are not open ended.

    Would be amusing if the paperwork wasnt upto spec.

  63. Anonymous Coward

    What would?

    The current police force should stop. And ask themselves: "What would Sir Robert Peel think about this". And if their answer is "who the hell is he?", the police(wo)man in question should go back to school.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poster child

    Evidently this is all a subtle ploy to boost recruitment from the ranks of London's highly esteemed security guards. By very publicly taking a brutal stance with the innocent (while avoiding tangling with any actual dangerous criminals or terrorists) they can promote the substantial benefits of The Job to London's radio wielding classes. Highlights include:

    - realise the full potential of your Jobsworthian tendencies

    - a chance to enact your Gene Hunt fantasies every day!

    - give full reign to your underworked sarcasm organ without risk of a telling off

    - get to say 'sir' in a way that makes it obvious you really, really don't mean it

    - the opportunity to offset that small penis you've always worried about by throwing your weight around and bullying others, backed up by the full force of the law you've just invented

    - access to multiple (and very impressive!) radios and the odd clever handheld machine that goes 'beep'

    - a uniform that fits, unlike the sack of rags they hand out at Canary Wharf

    - get to call up air support for the really recalcitrant dSLR users with beards

    - a decent wage

    - a chance to sidestep the late 20th century PC fad and indulge the PC savage inspired misogynist bigot in your soul

    - opportunities to advance and prove your marksmanship by slotting Brazillian electricians at six inches

    - above all, it's fun and a great way to meet new people who share your prejudices!

  65. Barrie Shepherd

    The Followup

    Lets hope journalists keep a close watch on this story so that we know when the mobile is returned and the police have apologised.

    Maybe the professional photographic fraternity should put a tourist advert together along the lines of "Come to London (for the Olympics) and loose your camera, be searched by the police and embarrassed in public". Nip off to The Mayor and make it clear that unless the actions of the Police are reigned in they will start a world-wide release of the advert.

    There is nothing more guaranteed to cause change than the potential for a politician to loose money on a high profile venture.

  66. cphi

    could have been worse

    oh well at least he wasn't beaten up, maced, arrested, convicted of assaulting a police office and deported.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:Could have been worse

      But he was cuffed and restrained from what I have read.

  67. Dom 1


    In a strongly worded statement, Chief Constable Andy Trotter, chairman of ACPO's media advisory group stated: "Everyone ... has a right to take photographs and film in public places. Taking photographs ... is not normally cause for suspicion and there are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place."

    That was a complete waste of a strongly worded statement Mr Trotter, wasn't it?

    It cannot be very comforting for you Mr Trotter, that your officers completely ignore your orders. On the other hand, it doesn't suprise us mere members of the public on little bit.........

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    is it too expect some balance here, guys?

    Look; almost all comments here are fine, but consider this - why was the guy taking photographs?

    The answer is that he was deliberately trying to provoke the reaction he got - he didn't really want photos of a boring building (!).

    He will have researched and thought about this, read the relevant law(s) in great detail, and worked out how to best get this reaction. He then got exactly what he wanted, and then wrote about it himself (there are issues there then)?

    As I said, I'm not disagreeing that the police actions seem OTT, but it was an intentional sting operation.


    1. Anonymous Coward

      wrong icon

      You should have used the troll icon!

    2. SuperTim


      And what on earth was Jean-Charles Menezes up to trying to get on to a tube train while being Brazilian? How suspect that he was good with electronics! I am just glad that our boys in blue (or plain clothes or whatever) were there to protect us from this menace. I hope they were able to claim for the bullets that were damaged whilst being pumped point blank into the back of his head.

      I tell you, some people think they can just go around, minding their own business. Well it has to STOP!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Sting Operation?

      I'm sorry I don't understand your objection? its ok because?

      The way I see it is that it is NOT OK wheter its a sting or not really makes no diffference, anyway don't the police use stings too? hows that for balance?

    4. Anonymous Coward


      How does your mind work exactly? On what evidence do you base your assumption that the photographer was doing this in order to provoke the police?

      He's a professional photographer FFS! Taking photographs is what he does. Are you suggesting that when he left school he thought "I'll take up a career as a professional photographer so that in a few years time when the goverment pass a draconian law which will be misinterpreted by the police I can get right up their noses by taking photographs."? That sort of prescience is incredibly impressive.

      Had he been trying to provoke a reaction he would have made a couple of different choices; firstly he would have picked a more controversial building; and secondly he would have done it in front of the police. Were he trying to provoke a reaction he would not have relied upon somebody calling the police.

    5. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Oh shut up trolley!

      Well let's just hope that next time you take a few innocent snaps of the wife and kids, the local fuzz turn up and bundle the lot of you down the local cop shop for several hours of intimidation, then release you without charge.

      Believe it or not photography is taking photos and photos can be of anything! I have taken pictures of manhole covers, door handles. I once spent 45 mins and 250 shots on a pair of freaking door handles and locks, just trying to get that perfect shot. Open your tiny, narrow mind and realise that we photographers are artists and as such what we find interesting, would most likely bore the pants of most people.

      Taking a picture of the outside of a public building does not warrant this disgusting treatment from a bunch of neo-fascist thugs! No matter the reason for this pro-photographer taking his shots, this sort of treatment is unacceptable and the guy should start to consider legal action over his treatment.

      I have taken loads of pictures in the square mile of the office buildings, so far it appears I have just been very lucky. More likely the fuzz can't be arsed to get out of bed at 7am on a Sunday morning when I am mooching about taking my shots!

  69. Winkypop Silver badge


    Everything will be all right. You are in my hands. I am here to protect you. You have nowhere to go. You have nowhere to go. - Chrome Policeman

  70. Charles Smith


    It reputedly takes time for the message to traverse from the Dinosaur pea-brain to the tail, rather like the Met Police. Do we really expect the average policeperson to read memo's? Maybe they've now employed masterminds in the ranks. "I've started ... so I'll finish." It must be very disappointing to bluelight across town with the prospect of collaring Osama only to find it is a brit with previous form as a "Photographer".

  71. ShaggyDoggy

    After 7/7

    If you remember, after 7/7 the police actually pleaded with anyone who could to send in photos taken that day and the days before. They had tourists sending in pics from Canada, Japan, etc.

    Of course this can not happen again in the future since taking pics in London is illegal.

    Which actually helps the terrorists.

  72. dave 54


    The story: 'Man searched in street, phone taken and returned'.

    The Commentard response: 'OMG POLICE STATEz!111!!1one!!1'

    Every time the police do anything, at all, to anyone, the ineffectual fury is sure to follow. Nevermind they do a tough - and largely good - job, nevermind the fact that they're constantly hassled by people who think they're 'pigs' (see first few comments - 30-something 'thumbs up', none down - and let's not start on the idiot who reckons he has a 9/10 chance of being arrested for taking pictures) rather than officers of the law. They offended one bloke, RESTRAINED AND SEARCHED him, no less - leaivng no marks, taking very little of his time, and borrowing his 'phone - which is essentially tantamount to murder, ain't it? Or so you'd think from the ensuing nerdrage.

    Fortunately, the world is a saner place under actualy, functioning human beings than it would be under you hand-wringing failures. Try living in an actual 'police state', then compare it to here. Even better, try living in lawless anarchy, and see how pleasant your whiney little lives are there.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      " borrowing his 'phone "

      So if someone comes up to you and takes you phone its only borrowing.

      In that case I want to also borrow your house keys and wallet...


      1. dave 54


        You are conflating a policeman potentially over-stepping the mark in a largely-harmless fashion with a robbery/mugging of 'you phone' [sic], suggesting (falsely) that 'its [sic] only borrowing' in the latter case, simply because it is in the first. The two are not equivalent, and any suggestion otherwise relegates you to the status of 'intellectually absent'.

        Nice signoff, by the way - really shows you up as an unimaginative troll without the wit to form an argument, or even a decent insult.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Really? How do you know?

      The fact remains that the police officer concerned confiscated that telephone without any apparent legal grounds for doing so. Is that theft or is it misconduct in public office. I'd be more inclined to go for the latter, it is potentially the more serious offence.

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      So why the physical force?

      Why the need to restrain someone in the course of their job?

      Why the need to "borrow" (read :steal ) this guy's phone?

      Why the need for search, when he obviously was already offering to comply with requests?

      Why not simply question him, without the need for force? Why not simply speak to him like a human being, instead of treating him like some piece of drunken scum? Why not ask politely, what he was up to, why he was doing it? Why not ask for confirmation of his work to verify he was working on an assignment?

      I thought the police were supposed to be all community support and gently, gently? Nope! Easier to come down hard knock a few heads, "Dat'll learn 'im proper sarge!".

      Yes, there are good ones and I seem to have been lucky. The police have questioned me once while I was shooting shots off a bridge late one night. They came over and asked in a polite tone, what I was doing and why it was here? I told them exactly what I was up to, showed them the camera and they were happy. They even apologised for bothering me. That's the first step, to building trust. Not freaking hog-tie someone up and steal their stuff!!!

  73. Anonymous Coward


    I object to the use of the picture of Officer Murphy accompanying this article.

    Robocop would be the kind of copper you'd want on your side. He wouldn't be hassling innocent photographers, he'd be out blowing holes in the real terrorists.

    Whereas the coppers in this article are just morons.

    Real life ... fantasy ... things from films that aren't actually for real ... I'm confused.


  74. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    Time to do something...?

    Why don't a pile of photographers simply go to the same spot individually, taking photos of buildings with copies of the act and when challenged show them the copy.

    Do this once a day and the Police will have to get the message surely?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      After you.

      I'm game but you first.

  75. adam.c

    Where does it say his phone was returned?

    Sorry - it's just that various comments refer to his phone being returned, and I can't see where that information is coming from?

    1. ken 12
      Big Brother

      adam.c read the comments after the story on the externall site...

      adam.c read the comments after the story on the externall says thier that the he got his phone back.

    2. Ruana

      It's there

      There's a clarification in the comments on the linked article; it was 'sheepishly' returned when he reminded them they still had it.

  76. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    Did he get a Receipt

    I wonder if the photographer got a receipt for the confiscated phone?

    Surely it is theft otherwise?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Indeed the police MUST give a receipt for anything they confiscate, they must also fill in a stop and search form. A lot of plod, however, see all paperwork as an inconvenience. Some see any sort of audit trail as a threat.

      Without the receipt confiscation of the phone could well be judged to be theft. Worse than that, without the stop and search form the confrontation never officially took place. You can in these cases insist that the police take a written statement from you. Doing this might lightly irritate a policeman who is genuinely only doing his job, it is, after all, more paperwork and time. It will get right on the tits of the bully boys because it's more to add to the audit trail of their actions.

  77. ShaggyDoggy

    @ dave 54 Pff

    First they came for the photographers

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To pin my colours to the mast I am a keen amateur photographer and erstwhile semi-pro. I do not believe there should be any restrictions on photography in public places. There got that out of the way so other commentards can't claim to misunderstand what follows.

    There seems to be some confusion out there on the internet and indeed on these comment pages. Some people seem to think is it totally wrong for this security guard (ex-plod?) to report to the police a professional photographer, but it is perfectly reasonable to want to ban Google's professional snappers from taking their own pictures. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways; either all photography is allowed in public places or none of it is.

    I have never had a problem with Streetview because it is part of our right to take any images we want to in public places. If you say Google are not allowed to take their photographs without permission then you are starting us down a slippery slope where all photographers, amateur or professional, would have to get permission from every person and owner of property to be captured in their image. This is NOT a good thing.

    Google at least have a takedown procedure, do any news websites have the same facility? Lets say your neighbours are in the news for some reason and a press snapper comes round and take a photograph the includes your house/garden/family/car/bicycle/washing machine and they publish that picture on their website. If you were to ask the news website to remove the image would they do so? Do they have any procedure to do so?

    On the subject of this individual case I wouldn't be at all surprised if the security guard wasn't ex plod or even a moonlighting plod (it happens) who called in his mates.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I dont recall reading a post here about streetview.. I could be wrong there are over a hundred posts. but lets not get too confused. no-one here has drawn the link between this photographer and streetview infact quiet the opposite, do you recall the post saying 'I'd like to see them do that to a streetview car'? as in it aint going to happen. I think reg readers are pretty ok with photography whether am/pro/corp and are ok with google streetview too, only a few take exception. Just look at how we all laughed at the villagers of Broughton and their pitch forks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        So you haven't read the comments on any of the Streetview stories that have appeared on the Reg? The majority of the comments always seem to be of the "invasion of privacy, ought to be illegal" Daily Fail reader type.

    2. Not That Andrew

      A bad example, IMHO

      StreetView cars don't get get hauled over by the plod, but other photographers of all types, including tourists, regularly get hassled.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Of course that and streetview is probably useful to terrorists far more than a single photographer shooting a portrait to earn a living...

  79. ShaggyDoggy

    @ Ac 12th May 2010 10:53 GMT "Confusion"

    I don't plaster it all over the internet on an extremely high-profile website.

    Google does.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Since When...

      ..did the law take into account the size of the intended audience? To make a legal comparison you could consider libel law. Libel requires only that the defamatory comments are published, not in any way on the size of the readership. The photographer in this case was a professional, you can therefore assume that the work was intended for publication in some shape or form.

      To be honest I can't believe that a professional photographer operating in London doesn't carry around a printed copy of s44 and the ACPO statement. I have a copy in my bag even though I don't do much work in urban environments.

  80. andy gibson

    Arrested for building photography

    I've been arrested for photographing buildings numerous times. My "defence" that I'm recording history of 2010, and that they might one day be used in books like these:

    falls on deaf ears.

    I wonder if the Victorian photographers whose work is in these books ever had this kind of trouble?

    1. Mark 65

      The only problem is

      If you intend using the pictures commercially I believe that you would need a release form from the owners of the building in order to use pictures you have taken of it. Getty or the like will have the relevant documentation on their site but I've saved you the bother...

      It is a grey area though and the likes of Alamy tell you to err on the side of caution.

      So, if the photos the pro was taking were commercial in nature and featured recognisable shots of a private building (imagine having someone next to the gherkin snapped from down low etc) then I'm afraid the security guard would have been within his rights - and no doubt told to enforce this by the property owners (I've been questioned by security at 30 St Mary Axe when I worked there but they were alright when I told them the company I worked for owned and occupied the building) - and it is possibly correct that the plod were called.

      However they acted like utter arseholes, abused their position, possibly acted unlawfully and did themselves no favours. The age old disproportionate response from the plod issue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        *ahem* I suggest you check facts

        You do not if you are on public property taking photographs.

        However, that said, Canary Wharf (and virtually the entire Docklands estate) are NOT public property, and in order to take photographs there for commercial use require a license from the estate management. They even have a very helpful map that shows what is and what is not public property.

        The same goes for much of the South Bank of the Thames. Much of it is private property, albeit with public access.

        Do NOT mistake public access with public property.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. SirTainleyBarking

      The only problem the victorian photographer would have

      is keeping the village bobby out of the shot!

      In those days if he got wind of a photographer, it would be best uniform on, buttons and boots polished, and "I'm just standing outside this shop, looking suitably authoratitive, protecting these, errrm, items of ironmongery and ladies corsets from, errrrm, Bolsheviks"

      The only questions asked, would be "Where can one procure a copy, or is it going to be published in the local paper sir? "..... Because his dear old mum would like a picture on the mantelpiece

      A bit far fetched? Check out the published works of Frank M Sutcliffe and others from the era...

  81. David Simpson 1
    Thumb Down

    street view

    He needed a laptop handy to show the security guard a little thing called Google Street View.

    "See Mr Idiot, your building has already been photographed and the world can see it"

    Hopefully the new government will put a stop to this scary big brother crap, but I doubt it.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everybody is guilty of something

    It has long been a basic tenet of British policing that everybody is guilty of something and that if only they could search us all at any time they could catch all the crooks. There has however long been something called the law that keeps them in check. Our law is a big complicated beast that is very difficult to override with a simple peice of legislation, until recently.

    Under new labour a lot of legislation has been passed which makes no reference to or allowance for existing law, either legislative or case law, it simply rides roughshod over existing law. Take for example the prevention of terrorism act, much of it does not require that the police have reasonable grounds for suspicion. This makes a mockery of a lot of our own and european law, it certainly runs contrary to the ECHR since there is absolutely no presumption of innocence.

    To an extent New Labour spent 13 years allowing the civil service to run the country. Does the ID card scheme sound like a politician's idea. Like fuck it was. It's something the civil servants wanted. Living in a country run by beaurocrats would be indistinguishable from a police state eventually. Allow the ID card scheme to be implemented and before too long you'd have legislation that allowed the police to ask for your ID at any time. And the next step would be a police state.

    The pro-plod commentards seem to be running along well trodden paths:

    1. He must have been up to no good, or the police wouldn't have bothered him.

    2. The police were only trying to protect us all against terrorism.

    3. If he didn't want the police to bother him he shouldn't have been taking photographs.


    1. This is an interesting proof of guilt, history, however shows us that the police are quite adept at arresting (and sometimes injuring or even kiilling) the wrong man. Why on earth do we need the courts, the CPS and centuries of case law if the only proof of guilt we need is that the police were hassling you?

    2. Well in that case they are truly incompetent. If they can't tell the difference between a photographer and a terrorist then they shouldn't be trying. Has it occurred to them that a terrorist planning a job might just be a little clandestine in their actions, not waving around a bloody great SLR? Has it also occurred to them that their putative terrorist can probably get most of what he wants from the likes of Streetview?

    3. Don't do something that's legal and you won't get grief from plod? The logic behind that escapes me. So they start with the photographers. You've seen the way public opionion is going in this country, how long before it's OK for the police to hassle any adult without children in a public park. Taking photohraphs? You must be a terrorist. Within 100 metres of a playground? You must be a nonce. We must stand up for our rights to go about or legal business unimpeded or we *will* end up living in a police state. Taking photographs? Papers please! Walking to the shops? Papers please! Forgotten your ID card? Go to jail, go directly to jail.

    The police are here to serve and protect *all* of us. Unfortunately some of them don't see it that way.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You only need a release to protect you from the potential of legal action. The standard release form is basically along the lines of "for a one time fee of £xxx I hereby authorise Mr Blobby to use this photograph howsoever he wishes" (OK so I don't remember the exact words) it protects the photographer against any action the owner of the building (or any other subject in the image) from taking any action against them or chasing them for additional fees. Clauses might be added, for example that the image may not be used for or associated with political campaigning.

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Any chance of a lawsuit?

    Is the photographer considering suing the force for thier intimidating and potentially illegal conduct? I am sure there are more out there like myself who would consider contributing a few quid to get this dealt with by the 'real' law?

    FAIL - as in our governance - who polices the police?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He is...

      He is definitely considering legal action.

  85. Gilbert Gosseyn

    No, no, no...

    Someone said...

    "So, if the photos the pro was taking were commercial in nature and featured recognisable shots of a private building (imagine having someone next to the gherkin snapped from down low etc) then I'm afraid the security guard would have been within his rights - and no doubt told to enforce this by the property owners"

    How can the photos be "commercial in nature" whilst they're still in the camera?

    It's perfectly legal to take a photograph of absolutely anything that isn't considered "sensitive" for the purposes of "national security" (and these things are specific and stipulated), as long as you are standing on and can see it from public ground. How you subsequently use the image is another matter.

    You can not, for example, stop someone taking photos of your house and its occupants from the public pavement outside. You could, with the aid of a sympathetic judge and a lot of money for lawyers, prevent the publication of the photos.

    Use as art or for documentary and news purposes is almost always allowed without having to obtain permission. Commercial use, like illustrating a (non-news) magazine article or in an advertisement, almost always requires permission.

    Don't let anyone - plod, hysterical parents, celebs, royalty, etc - tell you otherwise: Just tell 'em, "I'll see you in court" and carry on photographing. If anyone physically restrains you, sue for aggravated damages and assault.

    I realise this is easy to say, and much more difficult to go through with under most circumstances - but it looks like a few photographers are going to have to take on the plod, hysterical parents, celebs, royalty, etc in this way to prove a point and get some publicity.

    Anyone? Anyone..?

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

    So do all these photographers searched get registered as a "Terrorist incident" stopped by our wonderful B.I.B?

  87. TkH11


    My understanding is that you can photograph anything you want to photograph if you are standing on public land. The exception to this is military institutions which fall within the remit of the Official Secrets Acts.

    In France, I believe they have a system where photographers have to pay a fee to the architect of the building. France/the EU wanted to introduce that in the UK some years ago but I understand it hasn't happened.

    If one is standing on Private Land then one needs permission from the Landowner to take photographs.

  88. TkH11

    Politically Correct

    We're turning in to a way too politically correct society.

    In the run up to Christmas I was photographing people's houses covered in attractive illuminations. I was photographing from a public pavement and a member of the public challenged me asking if I had permission to photograph the houses from the owners.

    I just told him I didn't need permission, and I didn't. He wasn't particularly happy with my response, he clearly thought he was trying to stand up for the rights of the home owners/council tenants. The fact is, if they're going to dress their houses up in attractive illuminations then they're doing it for the illuminations to be seen and I have a right to photograph them.

    We have to fight for our rights. It's not right. But we have to do it.

  89. TkH11

    Common sense

    FFS, if you're a terrorist then you're going to take the pictures covertly, you're not going to do it with a full sized SLR! You'd use a pocket camera or a mobile phone cam.

    The idea that you need reasonable suspicion the person is gathering photos for an act of terrorism, it's a full sized f**ng SLR for Christ's sake.

    I now have little respect for the Police. Where is the common sense. Or is it, they just like to try to show who's boss, to bully people.

    You can't talk to them like reasonable human beings and ask them on what grounds they're stopping you and attempt to challenge them, then then respond with "We don't like your attitude, you're being combative, abusive towards us and because you are, we can now arrest you and take you to the police station", when clearly the member of the public isn't.

    it's about time more court cases for wrongful arrest were taken up and won.

  90. TkH11

    Who Polices the Police

    Who Polices the Police?

    ACPO - the association of Chief Police Officers..yep, you guessed it, Police officers!

    1. SirTainleyBarking
      Black Helicopters

      You mean

      The private company trading under the title of The Association of Chief Police Officers

  91. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    Latest update...

    "Photographer stopped under anti-terror laws may sue police"

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's as maybe, but taking photographs on private property is not a matter for the police.

  93. ShaggyDoggy


    "taking photographs on private property is not a matter for the police"


    If your standing on private property it's a matter for the property owner.

    If you're not then it's ONLY a police matter if a S44 in in force or other e,g, MOD property

    End of

  94. Anonymous Coward

    Common Sense?

    I was stopped by two PCSOs under the Provention of Terrorism Act in London yesterday for photographing a building (55 Baker Street if you must know; loads of details of it on the interweb; if anyone can work out why it's sensitive please let me know).

    I was reluctant to give my details and kept asking questions concerning what would happen to my details, would they be kept on a database, how long for etc. Plenty of questions that they didn't have the answers to and had to call it in. They were eventually told to use their discretion and consequently they let me go.

    Yes, that's right; they had to be told to use their discretion.

  95. Davemc

    Detailed pictures of Aldermanbury Square on google streetview

    Is that not a sufficient defense?

  96. elderlybloke
    Big Brother

    No Paranoid Coppers in New Zealand

    Earlier today I told my grandson about the rather demented behaviour of your preservers of democracy .

    He knows our lot are a lot more intelligent than your lot.

    I have yet to find one that behaves stupidly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Since when were the police there to preserve democracy? Shirley the only time they are called on to do that is in cases of alleged electoral fraud and there's plenty of those around to keep them busy at the moment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And another thing...

      ...What's paranoia got to do with it?

      1. SirTainleyBarking
        Black Helicopters


        Is the irrational belief that people are out to get you.

        In light of the behaviors of certain members of the constabulary, I would say that its not being paranoid to know your rights and carry a stop and search card when looking for artistic inspiration through a lens

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