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I made a single picture outside the British Museum yesterday while aware of police by the gates but out of nowhere a lady immediately approached me who identified herself has plainclothes Met Police as part of their Operation Servator. This is a well-publicised campaign around London where they spring up to speak to the public about security issues, handing out leaflets about being vigilant etc. - all part of anti-terrorism. Very politely, she told me she'd watched me taking pictures of people on the steps because usually, visitors photograph the wider building and architecture - and I had not, which was 'untypical'. I started my usual spiel explaining who I was but sensed she saw me as zero threat so we chatted very amicably about my profession, how I make a living and then about her busy police work and that when off-duty, she also takes street pictures including landscapes and typography. Very untypical too, I thought! I've been stopped many, many times for the same reason by uniforms in London and the tone is usually pretty good, considering they stop me working - but this was the first time by a covert officer. The Servator project ("unpredictable, highly visible police deployments, designed to deter, detect and disrupt a wide range of criminal activity") tells Londoners that plainclothes officers are out and about looking for 'hostile reconnaissance' (".. the purposeful observation of people, places, vehicles and locations with the intention of collecting information to inform the planning of a hostile act against a target"). She never did ask to see any ID although she was interested in all three pictures on the card so just before we went our own ways I said she should look me up online, offering my website address which I didn't see as a ploy nor compromising my position. We even shook hands with a 'nice to meet you, thanks for the chat'. My reason for posting this is merely to let those of you coming to London that they're currently around major sites, generally just wanting to know you're up to nothing sinister. Happy shooting! Richard.
Sadly, this took place in front of our house this morning. A neighbor thought the car was suspicious and called the police. The guy was shooting up, and you can see the tracks on his left arm. Hopefully, he gets help. Unfortunately this isn't uncommon as folks going into Chicago to buy come to our quiet streets to use as we're immediately west of the West Side. It might also be a reason burglaries are fairly common here.