Posts Tagged 'england'

“No Tolerance” for Invasive Royal-Lusting Paps

The world is in a tizzy over the impending nuptials of Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton, and so in an effort to retain some sense of normalcy, and maybe to prolong his life, the prince will enact a “no tolerance” policy for the paparazzi during his engagement, wedding and married life. He will, according to the Telegraph, have a lawyer at the ready to file civil or criminal charges against intrusive tabloid photographer that violate the couple’s privacy. This is undoubtedly a decision driven in large part by his mother’s infamous death. Among the offending behavior that could land the paps in trouble — vehicle pursuits and telephoto lenses that capture private activity from public land.

I know the argument on one hand: he is a public figure, a member of the beloved royal family, and with that title — and privilege — comes the nuisance of constant attention and scrutiny. But, I also believe even when you’re a public figure you don’t sign up for a 100 mph car crash or the world getting to see revealing photos of you sunbathing in your backyard.

Source: The Telegraph

British Police: “We don’t have to have a law”

British police have been told they shouldn’t harass professional or amateur photographers because – get this – it’s not an illegal activity, but those orders sometimes have a hard time reaching the rank and file. Or maybe it just becomes a lot more difficult if certain officers don’t have to follow things like “laws.”

On Saturday, freelance photographer Jules Mattsson, 16, was shooting an Armed Forces Day parade in Romford in London when he was harassed by officers who told him, among other things, that taking photos of children…and military…and police are all illegal.

How could that be? Where are those laws on the books? That’s what Mattsson thought, and when he tried in vain to assert his rights, he was told: “We don’t have to have a law.”

But Mattsson wasn’t your average pushover, so the officers resorted to stuff like telling him he was “in the way” and an “agitator” and a “threat under the terrorism act.”

The confrontation is priceless in its illustration of the hapless and ill-informed police officer who wants to throw his weight around just because he can. You can read a transcript on the Libertarian Party Members’ Blog here.

Article from The Independent and Jules Mattsson

Jet Ski Photos Provoke Police Visit

Photo by Garry Chinchen

Garry Chinchen, a photographer in England, was approached by police this week for taking photos of jet skiers in South Wales. He was told if he continued he would be arrested for “breach of peace.” All told, the officers checked his images, phoned his employer and ran his name through a database – to which I have only one response, huh?!! Where is the outrage in England? They aren’t just trampling on photographers’ rights; there are apparently no rights to begin with. Apparently the whole incident was touched off by the fact that children were changing into wet suits on the lake’s shore, but Chinchen’s photos are clearly of the jet skis in the water – and not even very close up at that.

The police spokesperson’s statement said in part, “‘The officer carried out all the necessary checks on this person and no offences were disclosed. The photographer was appropriately advised regarding his conduct.” Luckily that was sorted out.

Article via Amateur Photographer

Kent Photographer Stopped Again

Alex Turner was stopped for taking pictures of Chatham High Street in Kent, England, today. Hmmm, sound familiar? It’s the same Alex Turner who was arrested on July 8th for taking pictures on the same busy stretch of road.

When stopped this time, Turner was asked by police what he was doing and to produce some ID. He was also asked if he’d ever been arrested before, which he now had to say yes – under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Not wanting to get arrested again, he handed over his ID, and after seeing the pictures he took, the officers were satisfied that he was not a terrorist and let him go.

Turner admits maybe he was pushing his luck. But, really, why is it pushing one’s luck to photograph a public street at two different times?

Read his full account here.

Don’t Take Photographs in Kent – Or Else

Photo by Alex Turner

It’s well known the English police have no mercy when it comes to photography. The craziest stories always seem to be coming out of there. And this one is no different.

Photographer Alex Turner was arrested last week in Kent after taking some photos of a fish restaurant. The grounds were “prevention of terrorism” under Section 44, the catch-all anti-terrorism law English police like to use to do whatever they damn well please. But really the officer was just annoyed he took a photo of her, and she claimed that was an unlawful obstruction.

As he tell it on his blog: Two men who claimed they worked for the town council stopped Turner while he was taking photos and requested his identity. When he refused, being that they didn’t fully identify themselves or explain their authority to stop him, they called police. When the officers showed up and Turner took a photo, he was handcuffed, arrested and detained in a police van.

Whilst sharing their views about the threat of terrorism officer xxxxx stated she had felt threatened by me when I took her picture. I cannot recall exactly what she said but I do recall her referring to my size and inferring she found it intimidating at the time (I am 5ft 11in and weigh about 12 stone).

Are these officers really that dumb? Because they come off like real lugnuts, going around arresting people taking photos on busy streets and actually bringing up terrorism. Terrorists are blowing up buildings in Jakarta; they’re not taking photos of Mick’s Plaice in Kent.

In his blog on the Guardian site, Henry Porter writes on the incident and the “The war on street photography,” saying “Clearly something has to be done about the police attitude to photography and filming.” It’s heartening that major media outlets recognize things are out of control. But still. It just doesn’t end.

The  Kent Police released a statement to The Register and basically just recapped the incident, noting that the officers felt Turner was suspicious. However, an investigation is underway.

Turner ends his complaint to the Kent police department with this, which I think sums it all up nicely for those people who side with the government in such matters. And there are always those people who just don’t see there’s a much bigger picture here than one man being arrested in one town.

I know a fair few people may say serves you right for a number of reasons. My reponse to that is it will serve you right when you wake up one day and realise you don’t live in a free country anymore. I’ve been stopped nearly a dozen time under section 44. Up until now I’ve always provided my details. Today I decided not to. Seems that when I choose to exercise my rights I get arrested, cuffed and detained for doing so. Yossarian would appreciate the logic in that.

Read Turner’s full account in his blog.

Watchdog Says UK Police Better Watch It

Photo by cloudy images

In a heartwarming development, England’s terror legislation watchdog has warned police that they should stop abusing anti-terrorism laws by criminalizing photography of the police. Further, Lord Carlile said in his annual report that officers who do this could face possible criminal and disciplinary prosecution. 

This strikes a major blow to English police who have used the powers accorded them under Section 58A of the Counter-Terrorism Act to their great benefit, harassing, detaining and roughing up photographers however they saw fit. 

In his report, Carlile wrote: 

It should be emphasised that photography of the police by the media or amateurs remains as legitimate as before, unless the photograph is likely to be of use to a terrorist. This is a high bar. It is inexcusable for police officers ever to use this provision to interfere with the rights of individuals to take photographs. The police must adjust to the undoubted fact that the scrutiny of them by members of the public is at least proportional to any increase in police powers – given the ubiquity of photograph and video enabled mobile phones.

It is interesting he acknowledged the ubiquity of photography, as we’ve long thought law enforcement agencies have been slow to recognize that their days of unchecked authority are coming to an end.

Article via Daily Mail

Officer Doesn’t Like Photograph of Misdeed

Photo by Terence Eden

We’ve heard how hostile those UK police are to photography, and  blogger Terence Eden found that out firsthand. Eden writes on his blog that he took a photo of a police van parked in a disabled bay – or handicapped space for us Americans – and was approached by an officer who wanted to know what he was doing. The officer explained she was there to respond to a call, which Eden accepted, but then she asked to delete his photo. Eden writes:

I asked her why she wanted the photo to be deleted, she told me that “in the current climate” the police had been asked to stop people from taking photos of sensitive buildings and of the police.

He told her that wasn’t the case. She wanted to take down his information. There was some  more back and forth. They resolved the matter amicably without any photos being deleted.

My guess would be that she didn’t want any proof of her transgression. Legitimate call or not, it still looks bad for the police to be taking a handicapped spot. I don’t know about in England, but here in the US there are loads of other illegal parking spots an officer could park in in a hurry and still not take up a handicap spot. (But that’s just conjecture on my part.)

At any rate, there is one thing I disagree with in Eden’s post: He advises uploading important photos as soon as possible (which may not always be possible in a confrontation, but okay), and he says if you’re asked to delete photos it may be worth it to comply since they can be recovered later.  Actually, deleting photos from your camera when there is no law on the books backing that up is just  foolish. That’s giving in, admitting guilt, relinquishing power and saying you were in the wrong and your private property isn’t yours and you’re fine with being bullied. I don’t recommend that at all.

Read the whole post at Terence Eden’s blog here.

Man Takes Photo of Kid, Gets Visit From Police

The most ridiculous stories involving photography and children always seem to come out of the UK. ePHOTOzine reports that a 69-year-old man took a photo of a child who was vandalizing trees and got a visit from the police as a result.

Geoffrey Massey, of Somersham in East England, recalls:

When the child realised I was taking his picture he turned round and told me that I can’t do that and that he would tell someone what I did. Well later that day the lady that child-minds him came round and told me she would report me as I’m not allowed to take pictures of children without consent from their parents.

The officer was talking to me and said I don’t care if you’re a professional photographer or not you can’t take a picture of a child without written consent of the parent.

Never mind that it was the children who were committing an illegal activity in the first place; it’s those precious parents who emphasize their childrens’ personal happiness and individual rights over their moral and societal obligations.

Massey says the incident has put him off taking pictures, but we think that’s a little extreme. C’mon, Geoff, you can’t let one snot-nosed kid ruin it all for you.

Article via ePHOTOzine

Google Street View Employee Objects Over Photo

A Google Street View car in York, England. Photo by itspaulkelly

In what could be the supreme irony, a Google Street View employee objected to his photo being taken while working to capture public streets and landmarks. The Telegraph reports that an English  photographer spotted the Google car in Dorset, and when he started taking photos, the employee, who was visibly agitated, told him, “Don’t you take pictures of me, mate.” Then he actually asked the photographer to blur out his face in the photos like Google Street View does.  Seems like someone’s maybe in the wrong line of work.

Article via the Telegraph

Chilly Reception for English Photographers

From the Independent, this article details the increasingly fraught environment for photography in England where police, using the all-encompassing Anti-Terrorism Act, regularly harass and detain photographers who they believe to be a threat.

Reuben Powell was jailed for five hours for taking photos of a public building in London last week. (He was ultimately released, but they did take his DNA for good measure.) The article also points to the now constant problems for railroad enthusiasts and the case of Jess Hurd, which we posted on last month.

And while the police do have a clear-cut policy on how to handle public photography, the officers in the streets seem to wantonly enforce the law whichever way they please.

Jeremy Dear, the general secretary of the NUJ, said:

Even the police’s own guidance makes it clear that there’s nothing in the Terrorism Act that can be used to prohibit the taking of photos in a public place. The authorities have got to do more to ensure that those people charged with upholding the law don’t keep on contravening it by trampling over well-established civil liberties.

Article via The Independent

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