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A visit from the Police!


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Whilst I was in town today I was shooting pictures of the signage on my local Police station.

An hour later the cops arrived on my doorstep and wanted to ask a few questions about why I was taking pictures.

I was happy to answer their questions, but he said that they could have taken my camera off me under the terrorist laws, which I strongly disagreed with and said they would have had to charge me with something, or return my gear, including the images.

I am not one of those who would stand arguing with the Police because I have nothing to hide, but, I wouldn't want my property taking off me.

 

My question is, was I right, could I have refused to give up my camera (I was on a public road)?

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Where are you? The Met stopped all this nonsense a few years ago.

Unless they have reasonable suspicion that you are doing something useful to terrorists they cannot confiscate equipment and telling you they can sounds like a deliberate attempt to frighten them. To delete your images, or force you to do so, would be criminal damage. However if you refused they would probably have manufactured the offence of obstructing a constable or a breach of the peaced They would not be entitled to enter your home without the same suspicion.

Complain in the strongest terms to the Chief Constable and copy in anyone you can think of, including the papers, of course. Those officers need a lesson.

You are perfectly entitled to photograph a police station. Everyone on this forum must have done it. I certainly have. Outrageous.

Edited by spacecadet
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You say "An hour later the cops arrived on your doorstep."  How did they know where you were?

 

I took images of a police station on the Isle of Wight. A member of the force walked out to his car, saw me, and smiled.

 

Allan

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I know that in the UK the police forces up and down the country are super alert to terrorism at the moment. So much so that they have been told not to wear uniform to and from work. Given what happened to Lee Rigsby one can understand them being ultra vigilant. However it seems that they are still unable to make enquiries without threatening poor photographers half to death with feeble terrorism charges. For this reason I would ask that you contact your Chief Constable outlining your concerns. You'd be doing us all a favour.

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Bit of a difficult one given the constant risk of terrorist attack these day. The Police have to be on their toes, so, I'm not altogether surprised.

 

I have photographed a few "cop shops" and never had a problem. A friend of mine took a photograph of a Police car during his lunch break in the Market Square in Salisbury (very much public property) and was followed back to his place of work and questioned.

 

I think you did the right thing personally. If it had been me, I would have invited them to arrest me under the terrorism act if they were that concerned, and if they declined to arrest me, I would want to know why???? and why in that case, are they harassing me?

 

By all means write to the Chief Constable, and then sit comfortably and listen to the sound of ranks closing and the overwhelming smell of b******t!

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They said that they caught me on camera and also my car, so traced me using my licence plate.

They were perfectly reasonable the whole time and did explain that they were on high alert, and as I live in a city with a sizeable muslim population including the usual high risk sects I am quite happy that they took action, rather than just ignore me.

If they had questioned me outside the Cop Shop I like to think I would have stood my ground (within reason) but they didn't, so hardly worth crying to their boss about it, and as I said, I'm glad they did something about it, and as I was editing some pics when they arrived I showed them the Police station pictures.
 

They seemed happy enough, but I wonder, if my attitude had been aggressive, would I have been carted off to clink?

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I know that in the UK the police forces up and down the country are super alert to terrorism at the moment. So much so that they have been told not to wear uniform to and from work. Given what happened to Lee Rigsby one can understand them being ultra vigilant. However it seems that they are still unable to make enquiries without threatening poor photographers half to death with feeble terrorism charges. For this reason I would ask that you contact your Chief Constable outlining your concerns. You'd be doing us all a favour.

I'm not soft Sultanpepa, they didn't threaten me half to death, it was more a pleasant chat, BUT one was taken aback when he told me "We could have taken your camera off you" and I pulled him up on that.

Hardly felt harassed, so won't be making a complaint, after all, only the wrong heads would roll, or dogs get kicked by their masters.

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I know that in the UK the police forces up and down the country are super alert to terrorism at the moment. So much so that they have been told not to wear uniform to and from work. Given what happened to Lee Rigsby one can understand them being ultra vigilant. However it seems that they are still unable to make enquiries without threatening poor photographers half to death with feeble terrorism charges. For this reason I would ask that you contact your Chief Constable outlining your concerns. You'd be doing us all a favour.

I'm not soft Sultanpepa, they didn't threaten me half to death, it was more a pleasant chat, BUT one was taken aback when he told me "We could have taken your camera off you" and I pulled him up on that.

Hardly felt harassed, so won't be making a complaint, after all, only the wrong heads would roll, or dogs get kicked by their masters.

 

I didn't mean they frightened you in particular, but there have been others who have found the whole experience quite distressing. Good to hear they weren't otherwise heavy handed.

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Press card can be v.helpful.

 

Last time I was taken brought in by police I did delete the images. That sounds very dramatic... I waved at the "secret" Policeman filming me after I had been chased down the street. Which makes it sound even more dramatic. I walked down the street and they chased after me.

 

Why did I delete the images? Yes...I could spend hours discussing press freedoms in a country in which I was doubtful of those press freedoms. And really... with all respect to the country I was in... the chances of selling the images of the Swazi National Bank building (and US embassy) are slight.

 

Having said which... there'll be a big story about the said national bank tomorrow and I could have sold those images for multiples of dollars. ;) Maybe three.

 

As long as you don't write any more images to the card it would be very easy to recover those deleted images once you are back home... :)

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I know that in the UK the police forces up and down the country are super alert to terrorism at the moment. So much so that they have been told not to wear uniform to and from work. Given what happened to Lee Rigsby one can understand them being ultra vigilant. However it seems that they are still unable to make enquiries without threatening poor photographers half to death with feeble terrorism charges. For this reason I would ask that you contact your Chief Constable outlining your concerns. You'd be doing us all a favour.

I'm not soft Sultanpepa, they didn't threaten me half to death, it was more a pleasant chat, BUT one was taken aback when he told me "We could have taken your camera off you" and I pulled him up on that.

Hardly felt harassed, so won't be making a complaint, after all, only the wrong heads would roll, or dogs get kicked by their masters.

 

I didn't mean they frightened you in particular, but there have been others who have found the whole experience quite distressing. Good to hear they weren't otherwise heavy handed.

 

I'm sure there would be others who would find it distressing, especially if it had escalated. I wouldn't want to try being a tough guy on their turf, but I think I would refuse to hand over anything unless I was arrested and had no choice. 

 

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Where are you? The Met stopped all this nonsense a few years ago.

Unless they have reasonable suspicion that you are doing something useful to terrorists they cannot confiscate equipment and telling you they can sounds like a deliberate attempt to frighten them. To delete your images, or force you to do so, would be criminal damage. However if you refused they would probably have manufactured the offence of obstructing a constable or a breach of the peaced They would not be entitled to enter your home without the same suspicion.

Complain in the strongest terms to the Chief Constable and copy in anyone you can think of, including the papers, of course. Those officers need a lesson.

You are perfectly entitled to photograph a police station. Everyone on this forum must have done it. I certainly have. Outrageous.

 

I agree, it is errant nonsense, it's outragreous, and it's deserving of the strongest complaint.

 

It is too easy to just sit back and say that it's okay because they're just doing their job or because there's a (insert whatever ethnic/religious/age/socio-economic group is currently being targeted as the biggest threat to civilisation since Ghengis Khan) in the neighbourhood or because you yourself weren't particulary frightened or because you had "nothing to fear because you had nothing to hide", or any of the hundreds of other "justifications" used to subvert certain freedoms most photographers rightly consider "rights", but it's just playing beautifully into the hands of lazy politicians and security forces looking to justify their ever-increasing budgets (not to mention public servants becoming public masters). FFS, stand up for yourself, ain't no one else going to do it for you, let the Chief Constable know it's not good enough.

 

Even if one feels they can't confront the offcers face-to-face (often not easy), then at least complain after the fact, and complain hard.

 

As for the OP, still no indication of where this occured, which may have some bearing . . . however, here in Australia I'd find it totally unacceptable and would file a formal complaint. I have in the past done so with the security arm of our public transport system and in the end received a letter from the State manager (that I carry with my camera gear if I'm travelling into the city) outlining exactly what restrictions (almost none) the security guards are allowed to apply on and around railway property . . . and an apology for the incident reported (that involved some tourist photographers being restricted in their taking photos by an ill-informed security guard).

 

dd

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Where are you? The Met stopped all this nonsense a few years ago.

Unless they have reasonable suspicion that you are doing something useful to terrorists they cannot confiscate equipment and telling you they can sounds like a deliberate attempt to frighten them. To delete your images, or force you to do so, would be criminal damage. However if you refused they would probably have manufactured the offence of obstructing a constable or a breach of the peaced They would not be entitled to enter your home without the same suspicion.

Complain in the strongest terms to the Chief Constable and copy in anyone you can think of, including the papers, of course. Those officers need a lesson.

You are perfectly entitled to photograph a police station. Everyone on this forum must have done it. I certainly have. Outrageous.

 

I agree, it is errant nonsense, it's outragreous, and it's deserving of the strongest complaint.

 

It is too easy to just sit back and say that it's okay because they're just doing their job or because there's a (insert whatever ethnic/religious/age/socio-economic group is currently being targeted as the biggest threat to civilisation since Ghengis Khan) in the neighbourhood or because you yourself weren't particulary frightened or because you had "nothing to fear because you had nothing to hide", or any of the hundreds of other "justifications" used to subvert certain freedoms most photographers rightly consider "rights", but it's just playing beautifully into the hands of lazy politicians and security forces looking to justify their ever-increasing budgets (not to mention public servants becoming public masters). FFS, stand up for yourself, ain't no one else going to do it for you, let the Chief Constable know it's not good enough.

 

Even if one feels they can't confront the offcers face-to-face (often not easy), then at least complain after the fact, and complain hard.

 

As for the OP, still no indication of where this occured, which may have some bearing . . . however, here in Australia I'd find it totally unacceptable and would file a formal complaint. I have in the past done so with the security arm of our public transport system and in the end received a letter from the State manager (that I carry with my camera gear if I'm travelling into the city) outlining exactly what restrictions (almost none) the security guards are allowed to apply on and around railway property . . . and an apology for the incident reported (that involved some tourist photographers being restricted in their taking photos by an ill-informed security guard).

 

dd

 

I have never been afraid to stand up for myself, but let me just say, there is a definite threat where I live from radical muslims, and there has been plenty going on with them in my City since at least 1998 which i have proof of, hell I even caused a recall of the Canadian Parliament by 'standing up for myself' against Air Canada at Montreal Trudeau Airport a few years back, and the British Police checking on me for taking shots of their station is not a crying matter as I said earlier, BUT if it had been done differently then it may have given me cause for complaint.

 

I find this a bit strange coming from someone in Australia, bearing in mind the recent hostage situation... "(insert whatever ethnic/religious/age/socio-economic group is currently being targeted as the biggest threat to civilisation since Ghengis Khan)"

 

This incident happened in Bradford, England which has a large muslim community with many sects, and without any doubt, some very dangerous people within those sects. I live with it, I can see it, one of the 7/7 bombers was born here, the cell was formed 10 miles away in Leeds.

I'm also well aware that we are not told the truth by politicians, but, whoever is to blame for the worlds ills, the threat from muslim extremists exists on our shores... and yours, and that is why it wasn't exactly a problem (unless they had crossed a line with me).

 

How would you like me to 'stand up for myself' in this instance?

What exactly would I be complaining 'hard' about?

 

Spacecadet "Those officers need a lesson. You are perfectly entitled to photograph a police station. Everyone on this forum must have done it. I certainly have. Outrageous."

 

They were given a lesson, I told him that he was wrong (saying he could have taken my camera) unless he was charging me with something, and I told him to check for himself.

 

I will certainly feel free to take some more pictures, I only started the thread to maybe get clarification that I was right in my instruction to the cop.

Edited by mickfly
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Where are you? The Met stopped all this nonsense a few years ago.

Unless they have reasonable suspicion that you are doing something useful to terrorists they cannot confiscate equipment and telling you they can sounds like a deliberate attempt to frighten them. To delete your images, or force you to do so, would be criminal damage. However if you refused they would probably have manufactured the offence of obstructing a constable or a breach of the peaced They would not be entitled to enter your home without the same suspicion.

Complain in the strongest terms to the Chief Constable and copy in anyone you can think of, including the papers, of course. Those officers need a lesson.

You are perfectly entitled to photograph a police station. Everyone on this forum must have done it. I certainly have. Outrageous.

I agree, it is errant nonsense, it's outragreous, and it's deserving of the strongest complaint.

 

It is too easy to just sit back and say that it's okay because they're just doing their job or because there's a (insert whatever ethnic/religious/age/socio-economic group is currently being targeted as the biggest threat to civilisation since Ghengis Khan) in the neighbourhood or because you yourself weren't particulary frightened or because you had "nothing to fear because you had nothing to hide", or any of the hundreds of other "justifications" used to subvert certain freedoms most photographers rightly consider "rights", but it's just playing beautifully into the hands of lazy politicians and security forces looking to justify their ever-increasing budgets (not to mention public servants becoming public masters). FFS, stand up for yourself, ain't no one else going to do it for you, let the Chief Constable know it's not good enough.

 

Even if one feels they can't confront the offcers face-to-face (often not easy), then at least complain after the fact, and complain hard.

 

As for the OP, still no indication of where this occured, which may have some bearing . . . however, here in Australia I'd find it totally unacceptable and would file a formal complaint. I have in the past done so with the security arm of our public transport system and in the end received a letter from the State manager (that I carry with my camera gear if I'm travelling into the city) outlining exactly what restrictions (almost none) the security guards are allowed to apply on and around railway property . . . and an apology for the incident reported (that involved some tourist photographers being restricted in their taking photos by an ill-informed security guard).

 

dd

I have never been afraid to stand up for myself, but let me just say, there is a definite threat where I live from radical muslims, and there has been plenty going on with them in my City since at least 1998 which i have proof of, hell I even caused a recall of the Canadian Parliament by 'standing up for myself' against Air Canada at Montreal Trudeau Airport a few years back, but the British Police checking on me for taking shots of their station is not a crying matter as I said earlier, BUT if it had been done differently then it may have given me cause for complaint.

 

I find this a bit strange coming from someone in Australia bearing in mind the recent hostage situation... "(insert whatever ethnic/religious/age/socio-economic group is currently being targeted as the biggest threat to civilisation since Ghengis Khan)"

 

This incident happened in Bradford, England which has a large muslim community with many sects, and without any doubt, some very dangerous people within those sects. I live with it, I can see it, one of the 7/7 bombers was born here, the cell was formed 10 miles away in Leeds.

I'm well aware that we are not told the truth by politicians, but whoever is to blame for the worlds ills, the threat from muslim extremists exists on our shores... and yours and that is why it wasn't a problem for me (unless they had crossed a line with me).

 

How would you like me to 'stand up for myself' in this instance?

What exactly would I be complaining 'hard' about?

 

Spacecadet "Those officers need a lesson.

You are perfectly entitled to photograph a police station. Everyone on this forum must have done it. I certainly have. Outrageous."

 

They were given a lesson, I told him that he was wrong (saying he could have taken my camera) unless he was charging me with something, and I told him to check for himself.

 

I will certainly feel free to take some more pictures, I only started the thread to maybe get clarification that I was right in my instruction to the cop.

Mate, settle, you're taking this personally, which was never my intention (as still seems clear to me, even after several re-readings of what I wrote) . . . my only reference to you in my post was that we didn't know where it occured, and as I said, that may have some bearing.

 

I'm not going to address your questions because they are questions I have not asked.

 

However, I will say two things:

 

the idiot in the recent hostage tragedy was a tool/fool in the middle of a particularly nasty domestic court proceedings, with a history of borderline mental health issues, facts somehow deemed not as important to his state of mind as his religion (even though all branches of his religion rejected him over the past few years). Our federal politicians (and their right-wing shock jock supporters) have expressed grief (rightly) and outrage (rightly) and an inquiry, declarations of a national disaster . . . and muslim folk have been the target of much insult/innuendo . . .

 

At the same time, a tiny community has suffered a horrible tragedy, they are struggling with the murder of 8 children by their mother (and in one case, aunty) . . . no declarations of national disaster, no national outrage at the lack of mental health services (actually, they're being heavily reduced by the politicians), no inquiry into mental health services (or the lack thereof) in the bush, and of course no targeting of mothers . . . so please, don't talk to me about it appearing strange from Canda [EDIT: or England, sorry], believe me, it's a whole lot stranger (in many other ways) from close up.

 

Back OT . . .

 

My sincere apologies if you believed this was all about you.

 

It wasn't.

 

It isn't.

 

It's a forum, we address the forum unless we specifically address individuals, which is more often done via PM--however, I post this apology on the main forum for all to see, just in case others misinterpreted my original comment.

 

Again, my apologies if you believed otherwise.

 

But it is a particularly important issue with much wider implications than whether or not we're allowed to photograph the local cop shop, and I (and a few others thankfully, when similar threads have arisen in the past) will always come down on the side of rational thinking, not the often hyperbolic actions of the police etc.

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo
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Dusty dingo, there was no need to apologise, although I did take it somewhat as a personal attack (we all know how fragile the male ego is) as the incident was personal to me, and as you so rightly guessed, the place where it occurred did have some bearing.

You mention the facts about the Sydney case being different close up but I also see things happening 'close up' in my own community, ie when trying to take pictures of a mosque, being told that the camera will be put somewhere unpleasant if I don't clear off, also when shooting store fronts in a certain area being physically threatened by locals.

It may seem from my comments that I have a problem with Islam, I do, because it affects me on a personal level, and the threat from their radical members is real, even if they are  bogeymen of the wests making, they are still bogeymen, and that is why I was questioned.

This is clearly not the place to discuss politics and religion, but the subject at hand is clearly motivated by politics so it's a little difficult.

Anyhoo, thanks for taking the time to apologise, and because we have differing views about politics etc maybe we should keep them off the forum.

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I know that in the UK the police forces up and down the country are super alert to terrorism at the moment. So much so that they have been told not to wear uniform to and from work. Given what happened to Lee Rigsby one can understand them being ultra vigilant. However it seems that they are still unable to make enquiries without threatening poor photographers half to death with feeble terrorism charges. For this reason I would ask that you contact your Chief Constable outlining your concerns. You'd be doing us all a favour.

Amd you rlocal Police and Crime Commisioner.

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I know that in the UK the police forces up and down the country are super alert to terrorism at the moment. So much so that they have been told not to wear uniform to and from work. Given what happened to Lee Rigsby one can understand them being ultra vigilant. However it seems that they are still unable to make enquiries without threatening poor photographers half to death with feeble terrorism charges. For this reason I would ask that you contact your Chief Constable outlining your concerns. You'd be doing us all a favour.

Amd you rlocal Police and Crime Commisioner.

 

Waht would I be complaining about?

They didn't intimidate me, I didn't feel harrassed etc.

The daft thing is that, if, I had terrorist tendencies I wouldn't need to stand in the open taking pictures of the Police station... Google Earth is our (and the terrorists) friend.

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You'd be complaining about being spied on, tracked, threatened with arrest and confiscation of property when going about your lawful occasions, and of course you are now 'in the frame.'

The Met had a bad reputation for this a while back and they stopped because of complaints, not out of the goodness of their hearts.

Photographers especially need to stick up for our rights.

Edited by spacecadet
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There are thousands of images of police stations on Alamy, so the jails must be filling up with stock photographers

 

Yes John i certainly hope so, it should increase my chances here :D.

 

I understand that nobody including the law enforces, can legally make you  delete your work, that dose not mean that the law could not retain your camera or at least memory cards/ film to be scrutinized before a higher order such as a court.

 

Paul.

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There is nothing wrong with letting them know you are shooting images for an agency. Let Alamy News fight this battle... I would explain that BECAUSE of terrorism, you are shooting timely photographs. The police are a part of that story. Someone higher up in the command chain with media relations training will understand. However, I also choose my battles. Not getting myself arrested at a car accident, however during major news events, I feel the need to push the boundaries on all of our behalf. Just my $.02 ...

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In the UK you have more chance of being killed by a bee than in a terrorist attack. If the risk of terrorism is so high why on earth are the police wasting their time tracking down photographers in this way? Just my tuppence ha'penny.

Edited by Stu
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