Should you be allowed to photograph a Police Officer?

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  • Should you be allowed to photograph a Police Officer?
  • Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Photographers_guilty_until_proved_innocent_news_278299.html

    Inspired to post this by the Miners’ Strike thread.
    During that conflict, many Police Officers removed all means of identification, in order to remain unaccountable for their actions.

    Is this an attempt at achieving the same thing though different means?

    I’m not a member of the ‘Tin Foil Hat’ brigade (great phrase richc) and have never believed in any conspiracy theory, but scares the trousers off me.

    If, as has been suggested by a senior Police officer, there will be large scale demonstrations against Government Policy this summer, will we be allowed to see any images? Will they even be reported?

    Premier Icon dave360
    Subscriber

    “They take away our freedom
    In the name of liberty”

    atlaz
    Member

    It depends really. Police generally have a right to be able to go about their business without feeling that they’re being targetted by anyone. That said, at no point during the problems in Northern Ireland did UK police ban photography of officers going about their work. If there’s a reason for sensitivity in certain places or situations, fine but generally people should be free to take photos by default with prohibitions where needed.

    IanMunro
    Member

    Yep, it’s another shitty bit of legislation that seems to have slipped in 🙁

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    That’s always been the case in NI, or so I thought.

    presumably the pictures on the freshly confiscated camera would have to be showing something the police didnt want you to see and they would therefore delete them, thus removing the evidence that you had been taking pics, thus there would hve been no crime…………..

    seems fairly unenforceable?

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    If you want to find a policeman to photograph, wandering about taking photos of CCTV cameras usually gets them to turn up pretty quickly 🙂

    IWH
    Member

    It’s just a petty extension of the ‘law’ which states you’re not allowed to take photographs of public buildings. I got harrassed in London for taking a picture of the Downing Street sign (it was for a Friend, don’t judge me), but there’s actually bugger all they can do to you unless you let them. They certainly can’t take your camera away (although they’ll try to tell you they can).

    Be afraid though, it’s going to be a rough Summer.

    /edit/

    It appears they’ve now trumped up a way to take your camera away from you. Bloomin’ ‘ek.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Anything or anyone in a public place may be photographed.

    Right of peaceful political protest? Removed as it’s terrorism, apparently
    Right to protest near Parliament? Removed
    Right to heckle or raise an opinion at a conference? Removed, as it’s terrorism, apparently
    It goes on……

    thegreatape
    Member

    I don’t care if anyone takes a photo of me when I’m working. I would though appreciate 15 seconds prior notice so I can quickly put my tie back on.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    ditto, although would be nice if they wake me up first.

    I don’t care if someone takes a picture of me working – as long as they give me a job first.

    Premier Icon dave360
    Subscriber

    So of course Arab al Terrorist will walk right up to Plod and take a snap with his Ixus because they don’t have telephoto lenses in towelheadland.

    sootyandjim
    Member

    .A person commits an offence who elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been: a member of Her Majesty’s forces, a member of any of the intelligence services, or a constable, which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or publishes or communicates any such information..

    So if I were incorrectly accused of trying to rip someone off on the classifieds and you lot started a witch hunt against me in an AATOB-stylee and you published my name, address etc on the internet, as I’m an ex-member of Her Majesty’s Forces you’d be committing an offence of some kind?

    RudeBoy
    Member

    I think it’s a law which will be difficult to implement. I mean, you can stop some random lonephotographer, but what are they going to do, when the World’s press are watching? Arrest all the foreign news crews? That’ll look good, when this country speaks about Democracy and Freedom of Speech, won’t it? We’ll have the Chinese boycotting our Lympics, because of our appalling Human Rights record.

    Truth is, any ‘terrorists’ will be able to get whatever information they need; have you seen how tiny little cams can be these days? It’s not the Fleet St. snapper with a big Nikon you wanna worry about; it’s the bloke quietly walking past apparently minding his own business…

    Snap snap snap.

    Democracy does not in any way really exist in this country anyway. You could argue, it never has. The mechanics of Government are there to serve the ruling elite; always have been, always will be. No politician, driven by a need to serve society, will ever rise to the top; look at Ken Livingstone. Whatever you may think of him, he’s a man of principle, and has mostly sought to serve those he represents. Boris is little more than a Tory stooge; a puppet who can easily be manipulated. The media campaign to remove Ken was carefully orchestrated; and people fell for it. What we actually need are more independant thinking politicians, not fewer! But people are too blinded by consumerism, to actually see the truth.

    Even the whole Labour/Conservative thing is a smokescreen; the real people with power, the industrialists, arms dealers, leaders of global corporations, media agencies etc. are still in power. No-one’s gonna knock them off their perch.

    I think this grip on power is slipping, however. The global financial mess has made ordinary people start to wake up a bit, and realise the wool has been pulled over their eyes for far too long. The power structure itself will remain the same, but it will need new faces, if people are to believe in it once more. Oh, hang on…

    I think this new law will put quite a bit of pressure on the police. Some bod photographing Bradford Town Hall, for example, might only be doing it for a college project, or their interest in architecture. Or are they a terrorist? Either way, it could take up a lot of police time, and hang on, aren’t they already understaffed and under resourced?

    I say, people should just get out en masse, an walk round Westminster, snapping at everything. Show this new law is unworkable, and an infringement on our civil liberties. What they gonna do, nick everyone?

    Bring on the Summer of Our Discontent…

    MrSalmon
    Member

    I think TJ’s right, but I guess how it pans out when the PC’s in front of you demanding you hand over your camera is another thing.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    As those in power are wont to say “Why not if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. What’s good for the citizen is good for the public servant.

    sootyandjim
    Member

    What’s good for the citizen is good for the public servant.

    If only that were true.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    They’re certainly not shy of taking your picture though, the filth

    This is genuinely shocking

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/06/police-surveillance-protesters-journalists-climate-kingsnorth

    So now, as far as the plod are concerned, if you are involved in any type of protest, then they have the right to photograph you and add you to a database. Whether you’ve committed any crime or not.

    This government are the biggest threat to genuine personal freedom that this country has ever seen. The sooner everybody wakes up to this, the better

    *puts tinfoil helmet back on and hides under the the desk*

    cynic-al
    Member

    TJ: “Anything or anyone in a public place may be photographed.”

    Not outside or inside courts.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    NUJ has been lobbying government on this.

    There have been many instances of overzealous police officers stopping press photographers taking pics at crime or accident scenes.

    Previously the authorities have backed down when challeneged, but now Home Office minister Vernon Coaker says photography can be limited in certain circumstances in public spaces.

    There is no detailed list of circumstances, so once this filters down to the rank-and-file it’s highly likely that there will be many more officers deciding that photographs shouldn’t be taken of road traffic accidents, house fires, murder scenes or any kind of ongoing incident.

    Check this video.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Not outside or inside courts.

    A bit pedantic, but the actual wording of the law is “in the precincts of the court”, if memory serves.

    It’s common practice or photos to be taken outside court.

    Think of all the pics you see in the paper of Pete Doherty or whoever on the court steps.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    RudeBoy
    One demo has already taken place.
    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Pictures_Hundreds_attend_photographers_rights_protest_update_news_277136.htmlate

    This legislation is so dangerous and open to misuse it almost makes me weep.
    Think of the possibilities – Rodney King type scenario anyone? Would those pictures see the light of day in a British Court if this legislation had already been passed?

    corroded
    Member

    Professional working photographers I know in London are regularly harassed by the police. To understand how we got into this state I recommend reading a mate of mine’s book:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Assault-Liberty-Dominic-Raab/dp/0007293399/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236601582&sr=8-1
    We seem to have given up basic freedoms without even realising it.

    try taking a picture of an american airbase from public ground. They’ll come straight out and threaten you with all sorts of things, as i’ve found out whilst biking.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Fair enough Chapaking – I think I have been told you can’t outside also (in Scotland at least) or there may be signs outside our courts.

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    It is only an offence to take a picture IF you are going to use it for terrorist purposes. So paparazzi taking pics, tourists taking pics of coppers these aren’t offences, unless they are going to pass them onto terrorist organisations to use.

    The article is really typically journalistic (IMO) and not covering the full facts.

    It metions the powers the police have to just stop and search terrorists. We do not have a power if we are walking down the streets to just stop someone I think is a terrorist. There needs to be substantial grounds decided by a Senior Officer (Superintendent) who then authorises that these search powers can be used in a specific area for a specific length of time.

    It further mentions the presumption of guilt. This is again in correct. It is similar to drugs. If you have a packet of fags which you think is a packet of fags however your mate has put some cannabis in there you commit the offence of possession of a drug. You will then have to show on the balance of probabilities (lesser than beyond all resonable doubt for prosectuion) that your mate slipped the cannbis in and you didn’t know. This isn’t simply saying “you’re guilty tough”.

    let’s face it it is so easy to find out who a copper is. We all overtly (when in uniform) display our unique shoulder numbers and names (on stab vests and jackets). I don’t have a problem having my pic taken but obviously I don’t want it being used for terrorism offences!

    sootyandjim
    Member

    Munge-chick – How do you draw that conclusion based on the actual wording of the Act.

    A person commits an offence who elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been: a member of Her Majesty’s forces, a member of any of the intelligence services, or a constable, which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or publishes or communicates any such information

    Likely to be useful to… is particularly vague. Protester of some sort takes a picture of a constable, posts it on a protesting blog with name of said constable underneath and it becomes useful to, or is not the sort of thing that CI training is teaching these days?

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    “likely to be useful to” is going to be very tough to prove in a court I have no doubt. We are simply going to have to wait until someone gets nicked and we begin to get case law surrounding this new piece of legislation.

    samuri
    Member

    are people no longer allowed to take pictures of the soldiers in front of Buckingham palace now then? That’s a legitimate terrorist target if I ever saw one.

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    I’m guessing probably not! although that wil be funny to try and police .. oh look they won’t be able to!

    stupid flipping government!

    Indeed, yet another case of this “stupid flipping government” implementing legislation that is pretty much unworkable and unenforcable.

    Premier Icon dave360
    Subscriber

    someone had better tell the Japs

    RudeBoy
    Member

    You will then have to show on the balance of probabilities (lesser than beyond all resonable doubt for prosectuion) that your mate slipped the cannbis in and you didn’t know. This isn’t simply saying “you’re guilty tough”.

    Hmm, I suspect that once the police have deleted the memory card in the cam, they won’t be worried about the person having to prove ‘reasonable doubt’..

    Munque-Chick: I have seen police officers rip film out of a journalist’s camera. I’ve seen police smash cameras, whilst other officers were busy sticking the boot into protestors. I once witnessed a BBC crew attacked, by riot police, to prevent them filming the police using excessive force.

    The institution you work for is often used as a political tool, to suppress legitimate, democratic protest. Protests that actually seek to highlight the erosion of all of our liberties, yours included.

    During one demonstration in London, word got round that police had been issued with baton-rounds, rubber bullets. I spoke to a photographer, bloodied and dazed, who told us that he’d been round the back of some police vans, unnoticed, and seen some officers getting out of a van, with baton round launchers. He started to take pics, and was suddenly attacked by other police. They smashed his camera to bits, then took him and pushed him back into the crowd.

    Don’t be fooled. Suppression of the Truth is happening. It’s always been happening. Censorship of the media has always been going on, in the ‘Public Interest’.

    As for the ‘impartiality’ of the BBC; don’t make me laugh. Marginally more impartial than Sky, perhaps, but not much.

    MrNutt
    Member

    cameras don’t kill people, people kill people.

    terrorism is usually a final symptom of a party’s disquiet over an issue important to them not being correctly addressed, If the intention was to make the country a safer place then there are far better methods of doing so rather than the manipulation of legislation or curtailment of personal freedoms.

    how about taking playstations & satellite TV out of the prison system for a start?

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    You know what I was simply trying to say that the article is biased, and tried to add in a few more honest bits but I should’ve known better.

    Tht’s about as much as i am now going to say on the matter now, I know there are “dodgy” coppers out there and boy does it rile me that rank within the job do not do enough to get the corrupt/dodgy ones out but I sure as hell know that the majority work their ar** off.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I’d just like to add that most coppers I came across in my time as a reporter and snapper were friendly, helpful and happy to have their picture taken.

    But I’m worried how that might change if the perception starts to spread that they can stop photographers doing their job – because some might take this as meaning they have to.

    I’d be interested in your opinion on that Munqe-chick. And also, do you think there is sufficient training and understanding of media law among police officers?

    stumpy01
    Member

    I remember a coupleof years ago ‘Practical Photography’ magazine tried to do an urban photo-shoot tutorial type article in London. They were showing how to look for subjects at different times of the day etc. and as it approached sunset they got their tripods out to photograph something or another. I think it was The London Eye.
    They were approached by Police and told they could use their camera, but not on a tripod…..wtf?

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