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Policewatch Films

Monday, 3 November 2008

More on photography in public places

Spotted on Marc Vallee's blog...

On Thursday 20th November the Home Office will publish new operational guidance to the police on the use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 of those taking photographs in public places.

The draft guidance says,

There is no power under the Terrorism Act 2000 to prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.

“If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance then they should act appropriately, by searching the person under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act or making an arrest. Cameras, film and memory cards may be seized as evidence but there is no power for images to be deleted or film to be destroyed by officers.”

If section 43 with its powers to seize “cameras, film and memory cards” is misused in the same way that section 44 has been misused by the police then just think of the chilling effect this will have on photography in a public place.

And then we have Clause 83 of the new Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008.

“(1) A person commits an offence who–

“(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been–

“(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,”

A “Constable” is the legal term for all police officers. Elicits or attempts to elicit information” does that include taking a photograph and publishing it?

“(b) publishes or communicates any such information.”

Yep. And you can get 10 years for this one! And I all most forgot, every police force in Britain is going to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners which will allow the police to carry out identity checks on people on the street.

Read the full article here!


Anonymous said...

how long will it be after this law is passed that someone's nicked for asking a cop's name while being searched?

Anonymous said...

this is a daft idea! the bit about 'hostile terrorist reconnaissances' just doesn't add up. the RAND organization published a report - 'freedom and information', freely available from their site - showing that terrorists can get all the information they needed to attack the US transport infrastructure off the internet. if they were going to do a recce, and wanted to stay legal, all they'd need to do would be download some pictures of eg the thames barrier off the internet and have a wander round.

when the greek cops nicked the planespotters a few years back the media was full of the attitude 'that couldn't happen here', when it seems very clear now that not only can it, it will.

Anonymous said...

PS Comment
"Breaking rocks in the hot sun. I fought the law and the law won!"

Anonymous said...

what a terrible come down it must be for you, pc comment. i didn't know they allowed people on s43 use of the internet to bemoan their fate.

Anonymous said...

"PS Comment"

You been promoted after they found out you could read?

fighting fit said...

The police have been abusing the law in this area for some time, and it is this which has led to the publication of revised guidance. Take, for instance, the two Iraqi refugees who were using a camcorder in a park in South Wales last summer. Two coppers decided it was 'suspicious' that two arab types were using a camera within sight of that well-known terrorist target, the Wales Millenium Stadium. They were arrested and held for two days, and had their houses raided. Lawyers said no less than 40 detectives were involved. After all that, they were released without further action as police had ascertained they were 'no threat' to society. Doh!

And I there's me thinking that I get shit for taking pictures...good job I dont wear a headscarf really, innit..

Anonymous said...

This law won't save anybody, this is just an excuse for a police state.

See a short film on how filming in public places is actually good for society:
Policing the Public Gaze,