Right to photograph in public places

There has been a trend in recent years for police – especially in London – to stop residents and tourists taking photographs in public places, on the pretext of stopping terrorism. Some have even been made to hand over cameras, or storage cards, or to wipe the pictures in front of the officer. The idea that these actions could ever make the slightest difference for a real terrorist is laughable. It is a complete nonsense, that makes those stopped with their cameras feel like they are in a police state behind the Iron Curtain in the 50's. The law should be clarified to ensure that no officer can stop a person taking photos in public places, per se.

Why is this idea important?

There has been a trend in recent years for police – especially in London – to stop residents and tourists taking photographs in public places, on the pretext of stopping terrorism. Some have even been made to hand over cameras, or storage cards, or to wipe the pictures in front of the officer. The idea that these actions could ever make the slightest difference for a real terrorist is laughable. It is a complete nonsense, that makes those stopped with their cameras feel like they are in a police state behind the Iron Curtain in the 50's. The law should be clarified to ensure that no officer can stop a person taking photos in public places, per se.

remove photography from anti-terror legislation

 




Several years ago, my girlfriend was working in a large shopping centre and asked me to take a photo of her and a friend.  As I was about to take the photo, I was approached by a security man who asked me to stop taking photos as it was not allowed due to anti-terror laws.  I thought this was a pretty awful imposition on my freedom.  If I came back later and planted a bomb then I would have committed a crime, but it is not a crime to simply take photos.

'My idea' as I am asked to put it in this form, is to allow photography in such situations, which is a completely harmless activity – no-one is being hurt or threatened, or having possessions stolen etc.

Why is this idea important?

 




Several years ago, my girlfriend was working in a large shopping centre and asked me to take a photo of her and a friend.  As I was about to take the photo, I was approached by a security man who asked me to stop taking photos as it was not allowed due to anti-terror laws.  I thought this was a pretty awful imposition on my freedom.  If I came back later and planted a bomb then I would have committed a crime, but it is not a crime to simply take photos.

'My idea' as I am asked to put it in this form, is to allow photography in such situations, which is a completely harmless activity – no-one is being hurt or threatened, or having possessions stolen etc.

Photographers are *still* being harrassed by police – 2nd August.

Despite the coalition's efforts in this area, the police still don't get it: they are our public servants, paid for by taxpayers, and not the Stasi in some police state or other.

This article describes how a photographer was treated by police in Hackney, London, on 31st July 2010 – well after new guidelines had been issued:

(It's also really annoying that you can't cut & paste things to/from this site, by the way!)

You need to remind the police – YET AGAIN – of the law in this area and how they are meant to be implementing it in the public interest, not in their interest – or ignoring the law for no reason at all!

Why is this idea important?

Despite the coalition's efforts in this area, the police still don't get it: they are our public servants, paid for by taxpayers, and not the Stasi in some police state or other.

This article describes how a photographer was treated by police in Hackney, London, on 31st July 2010 – well after new guidelines had been issued:

(It's also really annoying that you can't cut & paste things to/from this site, by the way!)

You need to remind the police – YET AGAIN – of the law in this area and how they are meant to be implementing it in the public interest, not in their interest – or ignoring the law for no reason at all!

Why is it a crime to photograph a Policeman?

I have read that the Counter Terrorism Act of 2008 makes it an offence to take a photograph of a Police Officer, punishable by up to ten years jail

If so, I would think that the risks of this law to our freedom outweigh any possible benefit to individual police. (It's the innocent public that always suffer from terrorism after all.) 

 

Why is this idea important?

I have read that the Counter Terrorism Act of 2008 makes it an offence to take a photograph of a Police Officer, punishable by up to ten years jail

If so, I would think that the risks of this law to our freedom outweigh any possible benefit to individual police. (It's the innocent public that always suffer from terrorism after all.) 

 

Remove restrictions on photography in public places and private property.

Remove all restrictions on taking photos in public and on private property.  This would apply to every thing but military instillations.  

My view is that if you do some thing in a public place or on some one else's property then that was you decision and you should live with the photos. This would have the effect of removing rules about displaying notices to warn of CCTV and would mean that your cameras could view adjacent public property. 

Why is this idea important?

Remove all restrictions on taking photos in public and on private property.  This would apply to every thing but military instillations.  

My view is that if you do some thing in a public place or on some one else's property then that was you decision and you should live with the photos. This would have the effect of removing rules about displaying notices to warn of CCTV and would mean that your cameras could view adjacent public property. 

Photographing public places and people – including police

Recent restrictions on individuals photographing public scenes, buildings and people which can be otherwise looked at legally should be repealed. 

If something can be seen in public it should be photographable!

Why is this idea important?

Recent restrictions on individuals photographing public scenes, buildings and people which can be otherwise looked at legally should be repealed. 

If something can be seen in public it should be photographable!

Filming and photography by and of Police

Currently Police are allowed to photograph and video anyone on a demonstration, march or gathering.  At any event, but particularly at gatherings addressing civil liberties, environmental issues or animals, Police commonly out-number demonstrators and blatantly video peaceful marchers or people standing at a table selling literature under a banner. For example, in Oxford Police stand on the other side of the street and film a group of people standing under a banner and collecting signatures to do with animal testing.  At marches Police stand on ladders and film everyone on the march.  It is common practice, I suspect it is always done.   At the same time it is an offence to photograph police officers.

This behaviour is intimidating, it means many concerned but lawful citizens are held on Police databases as if they have a 'police record', while all they have done is to show concern and draw attention to an issue of public concern in a peaceful way.  Being filmed deters many – maybe most people, from participating in political events and issues.  Intimidation is stiffling debate and stultifying the possibility of change.

Police should not be allowed to film people on marches or demonstrations or petition collectors.  On the other hand, the public should be allowed to photograph Police, as they are public servants and should have nothing to hide.

Why is this idea important?

Currently Police are allowed to photograph and video anyone on a demonstration, march or gathering.  At any event, but particularly at gatherings addressing civil liberties, environmental issues or animals, Police commonly out-number demonstrators and blatantly video peaceful marchers or people standing at a table selling literature under a banner. For example, in Oxford Police stand on the other side of the street and film a group of people standing under a banner and collecting signatures to do with animal testing.  At marches Police stand on ladders and film everyone on the march.  It is common practice, I suspect it is always done.   At the same time it is an offence to photograph police officers.

This behaviour is intimidating, it means many concerned but lawful citizens are held on Police databases as if they have a 'police record', while all they have done is to show concern and draw attention to an issue of public concern in a peaceful way.  Being filmed deters many – maybe most people, from participating in political events and issues.  Intimidation is stiffling debate and stultifying the possibility of change.

Police should not be allowed to film people on marches or demonstrations or petition collectors.  On the other hand, the public should be allowed to photograph Police, as they are public servants and should have nothing to hide.

Photography is not a crime

Repeal the discretionary powers for an officer to arrest photographers. 

Any real harm to be done with a camera is already covered by 'materials useful to terrorism' or espionage legislation.

Why is this idea important?

Repeal the discretionary powers for an officer to arrest photographers. 

Any real harm to be done with a camera is already covered by 'materials useful to terrorism' or espionage legislation.

Freedom to take photographs in public places.

Restore the right of ordinary people to take photographs in public places without fear of being criminalised.  It is a gross over exaggeration to regard anyone who takes a photograph of a policeman or a public building as a potential terrorist, or family and friends who want to take photographs of their children at school events as potential paedophiles.  Amateur photography  used to be regarded as a legitimate and acceptable pastime, not as an underhand activity to be regarded with suspicion.  I would like to see it restored to its former status.

Why is this idea important?

Restore the right of ordinary people to take photographs in public places without fear of being criminalised.  It is a gross over exaggeration to regard anyone who takes a photograph of a policeman or a public building as a potential terrorist, or family and friends who want to take photographs of their children at school events as potential paedophiles.  Amateur photography  used to be regarded as a legitimate and acceptable pastime, not as an underhand activity to be regarded with suspicion.  I would like to see it restored to its former status.

stop s43 becoming the new s44 Terrorism laws

Todays announcement by the government on interim changes for section 44 of the Terrorism Act are to be warmly welcomed. As of now photographers cannot be stopped and searched under section 44 (unless they are in a vehicle at the time). 

I know that this is pre-emptive but let us not have s43 powers of stop and search take over because the police cannot use s43.

If you think this is an over reaction then bear in mind that 16 yr old Jules Mattsson who was harassed and held in Romford under s44 was held yesterday under s43 when photographing a parade whom he had permission from the supervisor to so (though no permission was necessary).

Why is this idea important?

Todays announcement by the government on interim changes for section 44 of the Terrorism Act are to be warmly welcomed. As of now photographers cannot be stopped and searched under section 44 (unless they are in a vehicle at the time). 

I know that this is pre-emptive but let us not have s43 powers of stop and search take over because the police cannot use s43.

If you think this is an over reaction then bear in mind that 16 yr old Jules Mattsson who was harassed and held in Romford under s44 was held yesterday under s43 when photographing a parade whom he had permission from the supervisor to so (though no permission was necessary).

Right to record

Fundamentally everything anyone sees or hears is admissible in court, by means of witness testimony. However, preventing recordings of what an individual sees or hears – be it photographic, audio or video, in complete contradiction, appears to be prohibited wherever those in authority feel like it, despite no dedicated laws existing to back their claims up.

Whilst the tradition in this country is for negative laws this is one case where a positive law is required. The right to record anything one can perceive in a public space is fundamental to a functioning democracy and the rule of law, as a recording carries much more weight than any individuals witness statement, regardless of that individuals position (The classic scenario here would be in regards to a policemans word versus a citizens word, but it also applies to criminals in general, especially violent relationships, verbal agreements with dodgy business men etc.). No amount of memos to the police will fix this, as there are many laws that can be twisted and distorted to cover any situation they please, and security guards will never get them anyway – someone has to stand up and say, explicitly, that recording is a right.

Why is this idea important?

Fundamentally everything anyone sees or hears is admissible in court, by means of witness testimony. However, preventing recordings of what an individual sees or hears – be it photographic, audio or video, in complete contradiction, appears to be prohibited wherever those in authority feel like it, despite no dedicated laws existing to back their claims up.

Whilst the tradition in this country is for negative laws this is one case where a positive law is required. The right to record anything one can perceive in a public space is fundamental to a functioning democracy and the rule of law, as a recording carries much more weight than any individuals witness statement, regardless of that individuals position (The classic scenario here would be in regards to a policemans word versus a citizens word, but it also applies to criminals in general, especially violent relationships, verbal agreements with dodgy business men etc.). No amount of memos to the police will fix this, as there are many laws that can be twisted and distorted to cover any situation they please, and security guards will never get them anyway – someone has to stand up and say, explicitly, that recording is a right.

Harrassment of photographers

Too many perfectly bona fide photographers (especially in London) are being hassled by police officers, PCSO's and private security staff – on the grounds that they are protecting UK against terrorism. What is happening on the ground is ridiculously over the top and not even sensible. Any terrorist would use a tiny camera or indeed a phone to photograph sensitive areas NOT a huge dslr. And why are national landmarks classed as security issues anyway – Westminster Bridge – the Gherkin – Tower of London etc etc.

Badly trained and badly led staff make London a mockery for tourism. What exactly is going to happen in 2012?

Why is this idea important?

Too many perfectly bona fide photographers (especially in London) are being hassled by police officers, PCSO's and private security staff – on the grounds that they are protecting UK against terrorism. What is happening on the ground is ridiculously over the top and not even sensible. Any terrorist would use a tiny camera or indeed a phone to photograph sensitive areas NOT a huge dslr. And why are national landmarks classed as security issues anyway – Westminster Bridge – the Gherkin – Tower of London etc etc.

Badly trained and badly led staff make London a mockery for tourism. What exactly is going to happen in 2012?

Photography

In a country where almost every surface is covered in CCTV cameras, police telling photographers to not take pictures is an embarrassing abuse of power for no affect on the situations which it claims to offer protection. 

Scrap Section 44

Why is this idea important?

In a country where almost every surface is covered in CCTV cameras, police telling photographers to not take pictures is an embarrassing abuse of power for no affect on the situations which it claims to offer protection. 

Scrap Section 44

Harassment of railway enthusiasts

End the routine harassment of railway enthusiasts, especially those taking photographs, onsecurity grounds and to replace the presumption of guilt implicit in the Association of Train Operating Companies/Network Rail/British Transport Police  guidance with an instruction to staff not to challenge individuals whose activities clearly constitute neither a threat to security nor the safe functioning of railway premises.

Why is this idea important?

End the routine harassment of railway enthusiasts, especially those taking photographs, onsecurity grounds and to replace the presumption of guilt implicit in the Association of Train Operating Companies/Network Rail/British Transport Police  guidance with an instruction to staff not to challenge individuals whose activities clearly constitute neither a threat to security nor the safe functioning of railway premises.

Taking Photos In Public

Police have been stopping people for taking photos in public places. Innocent people have been arrested for taking 'holiday snaps' of well known buildings. 

It's supposed to stop terrorism,  which of course it does not. There are thousands of photos available to terrorists to use for these purposes on the Internet anyway.

It's a waste of police time, bad for tourism, a waste of paper and a waste of money.

The law should go back to allowing people to take photos in any public place.

People have also been arrested for taking photos of police vehicles which have either been parked illegally or been involved in an accident (many insurance companies need photo evidence of accidents). If the police does something illegal or wrong, then  it's only right that we should be allowed to take photos of it. You can't trust the police if they're allowed to brake the law.

 

Why is this idea important?

Police have been stopping people for taking photos in public places. Innocent people have been arrested for taking 'holiday snaps' of well known buildings. 

It's supposed to stop terrorism,  which of course it does not. There are thousands of photos available to terrorists to use for these purposes on the Internet anyway.

It's a waste of police time, bad for tourism, a waste of paper and a waste of money.

The law should go back to allowing people to take photos in any public place.

People have also been arrested for taking photos of police vehicles which have either been parked illegally or been involved in an accident (many insurance companies need photo evidence of accidents). If the police does something illegal or wrong, then  it's only right that we should be allowed to take photos of it. You can't trust the police if they're allowed to brake the law.

 

Repeal the risk averse society

A common thread running through a lot of overreaching laws is risk aversion.

There are 3 main categories:

  • Terrorism
  • Health and safety
  • Anti paedophillia laws

There are potentially100s of examples in these categories.

(These all help with "bad things" but the risk is generally over stated, and laws overly restrictive and expensive).

Why is this idea important?

A common thread running through a lot of overreaching laws is risk aversion.

There are 3 main categories:

  • Terrorism
  • Health and safety
  • Anti paedophillia laws

There are potentially100s of examples in these categories.

(These all help with "bad things" but the risk is generally over stated, and laws overly restrictive and expensive).

Review S43 and S44 of The Terrorism Act 2000

Many perfectly innocent photographers are being stopped by police officers, PCSO's or Security Personnel and challenged about their rights to be photographing in a public place.  In some cases film or memory cards are confiscated.

The Head of Specialist Operations for the Metropolitan Police service has issued guidelines about this but many forces do not seem to have done so and people are still being challenged.

The reason given is that 'you may be photographing something so that a terrorist attack can be planned.

The nonsense behind this assertion and premise is:

a. in the majority of these cases the photographer is working overtly and in public view, a terrorist would surely work covertly.

b. in most instances a terrorist need only consult Google Earth or similar to obtain much more useful information.

c. the officersconcerned see these people as an 'easy target'.

These sections of the Terrorism Act need to be reviewed, clarified and updated to recognise the changed technological envirnoment and the police and security services need reminding that they are there to serve and portect the population, not harrass it.

Why is this idea important?

Many perfectly innocent photographers are being stopped by police officers, PCSO's or Security Personnel and challenged about their rights to be photographing in a public place.  In some cases film or memory cards are confiscated.

The Head of Specialist Operations for the Metropolitan Police service has issued guidelines about this but many forces do not seem to have done so and people are still being challenged.

The reason given is that 'you may be photographing something so that a terrorist attack can be planned.

The nonsense behind this assertion and premise is:

a. in the majority of these cases the photographer is working overtly and in public view, a terrorist would surely work covertly.

b. in most instances a terrorist need only consult Google Earth or similar to obtain much more useful information.

c. the officersconcerned see these people as an 'easy target'.

These sections of the Terrorism Act need to be reviewed, clarified and updated to recognise the changed technological envirnoment and the police and security services need reminding that they are there to serve and portect the population, not harrass it.

Photographs (anti-terrorism)

Scrap the ridiculous anti-terrorism law that allows police officers to stop people (usually tourists) from taking photographs of buildings such as Parliament, etc.

Also, scrap the ridiculous law that bans people from taking photographs of police officers.

Why is this idea important?

Scrap the ridiculous anti-terrorism law that allows police officers to stop people (usually tourists) from taking photographs of buildings such as Parliament, etc.

Also, scrap the ridiculous law that bans people from taking photographs of police officers.

Section 44 – Photography

I'm sorry, but the idea that a photographer cannot persue their passion photographing a building (on public property), a landscape scene or something else that seems to scare the life out of the Tripod Police is a joke.  Section 44 'stop and search' has been abused by the Boys in Blue and overzealous security guards.  What gets me is that I am photgraphing (i.e. Big Ben) with a 10-20mm lens, equipped with filters and (the important bit) a tripod, while Johnny Foreigner is snapping away with their 8mp mobile phone with a x50 lens built in….now come on…..

Why is this idea important?

I'm sorry, but the idea that a photographer cannot persue their passion photographing a building (on public property), a landscape scene or something else that seems to scare the life out of the Tripod Police is a joke.  Section 44 'stop and search' has been abused by the Boys in Blue and overzealous security guards.  What gets me is that I am photgraphing (i.e. Big Ben) with a 10-20mm lens, equipped with filters and (the important bit) a tripod, while Johnny Foreigner is snapping away with their 8mp mobile phone with a x50 lens built in….now come on…..

Public photography

The idea that you cannot take a picture in a public place – especially a "postcard" site in London – because you might be doing it for terrorist reasons is absurd. I believe it has been derived from one of the dozens (hundreds?) of "anti-terrorist" laws enacted by the previous government.

Similarly the "child protection" laws have been interpreted to the point where it is theoretically illegal to take a picture in which any child might happen to appear without needing to get signed permission from their parents (for example, as one of the organisers of our annual local village carnival I cannot take a general view picture to use for future publicity in next year's posters etc if there is any child in it – there always are!).

I think these "regulations" are more over-interpretations rather than strictly laws but they derive from a culture of a nanny state and need to be reviewed through common sense glasses!

Why is this idea important?

The idea that you cannot take a picture in a public place – especially a "postcard" site in London – because you might be doing it for terrorist reasons is absurd. I believe it has been derived from one of the dozens (hundreds?) of "anti-terrorist" laws enacted by the previous government.

Similarly the "child protection" laws have been interpreted to the point where it is theoretically illegal to take a picture in which any child might happen to appear without needing to get signed permission from their parents (for example, as one of the organisers of our annual local village carnival I cannot take a general view picture to use for future publicity in next year's posters etc if there is any child in it – there always are!).

I think these "regulations" are more over-interpretations rather than strictly laws but they derive from a culture of a nanny state and need to be reviewed through common sense glasses!

stop & search section 44 – photography

The stop & search section 44 laws should be scrapped as they leave us feeling like we commit an offence every time we pull out our cameras, e.g we cannot photograph city center monuments without a worrying thought in the back of your mind "will i get stopped and searched"…….I want to be able to freely photograph without feeling like a criminal.

Why is this idea important?

The stop & search section 44 laws should be scrapped as they leave us feeling like we commit an offence every time we pull out our cameras, e.g we cannot photograph city center monuments without a worrying thought in the back of your mind "will i get stopped and searched"…….I want to be able to freely photograph without feeling like a criminal.