Posts Tagged 'Metropolitan Police'

Met Police Force Photog to Delete Pics

Followers of the  issue know that police in the UK are pretty tone-deaf when it comes to photographers’ rights, no matter what “guidelines” they create.

This past Sunday, freelancer Carmen Valino was working for the Hackney Gazette covering a shooting in East London when she was approached by police, who told her “she was disrupting the investigation and had to hand over her camera.” This was after she had showed her credentials and was working outside the cordoned off area. She protested until the sergeant brought out handcuffs, and then she relented. He took her camera away for five minutes and when he returned it, he told her she had to delete the images.

You have to wonder about Valino here. Perhaps she’s a rookie and didn’t know how to hold her ground. Or maybe the Met Police are frightening thugs and there’s no gettin around them. But she should have never complied – it’s an outrageous request of anyone, much less the working media.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police called it “disappointing” when officers don’t follow the department guidelines and said they’re looking into it.

Article from the Press Gazette

Photography Police Issue Goes to High Court

Photo by danger joel

A woman in England is finally taking on the Met police for their harassment of people who film and photograph them. Gemma Atkinson is pursuing a High Court review (equivalent to our Supreme Court in the US) over the police practice of using the Anti-Terrorism law to basically criminalize all photography.

In March,  Atkinson was filming her boyfriend being detained in a London subway station as part of a drug search when she was approached by a plainclothes officer who told her what she was doing was illegal. (“Do you realise it is an offence under the Terrorism Act to film police officers?” he said.) When she refused to hand over her cell phone – having already slipped it into her shirt pocket – the officer was relentless in trying to get it from her, ultimately calling over two female officers for help. A struggle ensued for the next 25 minutes where she was physically overpowered, handcuffed and threatened with arrest.

Finally, when the officers called the station (presumably to speak with a supervisor who told them they had no cause), they let Atkinson go – no apology, no explanation, nothing. The original officer’s only rationale during the incident was that he didn’t want the video to be all over the internet, i.e., YouTube.

Interestingly, the premise of this case is at odds with the report that police in Manchester have filmed over 900 suspects and their associates, whether they’ve committed a crime or not, all in the interest of building a database for tracking criminals and maybe-someday-future criminals. Police at times have openly followed these suspects down the street with a handheld camera. Suspects are then sent a letter informing them that the footage could appear on YouTube. Oh, the hypocrisies!

Read the article about the Gemma Atkinson incident and an interview with Gemma  at The Guardian site.

Read the BBC report about the Manchester Police here.

Thanks to pixel.eight.

Photography, Half-Truths and the Whole Story

glare1Photo by discarted

Columnist Ian Jack took on the ubiquity of photography in The Guardian this past weekend, and he seems to be conflicted about photography’s role in that it only provides a glimpse of the truth and not the whole story. However what he fails to note is that, without cameras, the only thing that is certain is that we get no truths, never mind half-truths.

To prove his point, Jack refers to the incident in London April 1 at the G20 Summit where police struck Ian Tomlinson from behind, causing him to slam into the ground and later die of a heart attack. The attack, seemingly out of the blue and unprovoked, was caught on film by a bystander.

Update: A second postmortem examination shows that Tomlinson died from an abdominal hemorrhage.

Jack says the details are yet to come out about what really happened, as if the fact that Tomlinson was a part of the protest would somehow justify the brutality. That  is immaterial. Regardless of what the Tomlinson did a block away or four hours before (and all accounts have said he was not a part of the melee), he was killed by a policeman who demonstrated unnecessary force, and it was caught on video. I guess Ian Jack has never heard of the expression “The tape doesn’t lie.”

More importantly, before video surfaced of the Tomlinson attack the only half-truths being told were from the Metropolitan Police (Met) when they claimed that Tomlinson died from a massive heart attack and did not have any contact with police. According to BBC reports, Tomlinson had repeated contact with Met Police before one officer caused his untimely death.

Update: The Guardian releases new photos proving Tomlinson had prior contact with police before being assaulted.

Jack also refers to the firing last week of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism chief, Bob Quick, after highly sensitive documents he was carrying were caught by photographers as he was going to a meeting at 10 Downing Street. The monumental gaffe forced officials to deploy a raid on al Qaeda suspects earlier than they had planned.

Continue reading ‘Photography, Half-Truths and the Whole Story’

In the Name of Terrorism, More Fear in London



It’s been a good week for paranoia-inducing ad campaigns. London has rolled out its latest counter-terrorism posters, which feature, among others images, a full trash can and a security camera with the message that people need to report on their neighbors and fellow citizens when things seem off. This is in addition to the posters released earlier that specifically targeted photographers and cell phone users.

Incidentally, a three-year study released in February found that the anti-terror methods employed in places like the US and the UK are illegal and counter-productive. While the study specifically referred to the detainment and torture of terrorism suspects, I think it can be applied to the overall climate for so-called “suspicious” activity, including photography. Our leaders not only don’t have a problem with using our fear to implement measures that are not legal or ethical, they are relying on it as a tool of governance.

“Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights,” said the chairman of the study’s panel of legal experts.

To boil it all down, it just seems so incredibly ham-handed. Do people need to be reminded to report something they feel is suspicious? And why do our governments need to fight the the nebulous beast that is international terrorism by impairing their own peoples’ quality of life? 

Article via Boing Boing

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