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Photographer in Stop & Search in Brighton & Hove

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Lady Jobsworth.

 

Allan

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This was a big issue a few years ago but appears to have mostly stopped now as the police have been educated with regard to photographers' rights to take pictures in public places. But he clearly made it a lot more difficult for himself by refusing to give his identity to the police. It may be his right to do so but it doesn't go down well with the guardians of law and order. Why bother to do this? I know for sure if I was asked for ID by the police, I would have no hesitation in providing it - just for an easy life. And I am a liberal, freedom-loving Guardian reader (which is where I read about this).

 

Oh and I think the police staff woman who first asked him what he was doing was behaving idiotically - a jobsworth as Allan says - incredibly annoying these people - hopefully she got a dressing down from her superiors for instigating such a fuss over nothing.

Edited by MDM
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I'm often approached in London, not surprisingly, and am always happy to answer their questions and it usually ends in conversations about each of our days at what we are doing, and sometimes admirable comments on the size of my lens! Why look for confrontation?

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Hopefully the photographer will make a complaint. What happened to him was very bad, but for a civilian to do it is utterly laughable. Quoting the terror act because he's taking a picture of a town hall?  Comedy gold!

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While the terrorism threat is 'severe',

 

I feel that any photographer taking photos of public places should be prepared to identify themselves.

 

What if the woman in question hadn't asked for I.D and just turned a blind eye and then a bomb exploded in the town hall a day or so later?

 

I think she would have been in for a reprimand.

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While the terrorism threat is 'severe',

 

I feel that any photographer taking photos of public places should be prepared to identify themselves.

 

What if the woman in question hadn't asked for I.D and just turned a blind eye and then a bomb exploded in the town hall a day or so later?

 

I think she would have been in for a reprimand.

 

 

I agree, however, in this instance I would only give my id to an acting police officer. I think the main issue of concern is that the initial person did not make it clear that they were not an "Official Police Officer". I know from past experience and being advised by the police afterwards that it is illegal to impersonate a police officer... or as in this case (and my experience) not make it clear they're not a police officer. It also turned out (the person who stopped me) didn't have the power to do that either. The police actually took the guys details so this could be brought to their attention..... as well as their superiors!.

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I'm often approached in London, not surprisingly, and am always happy to answer their questions and it usually ends in conversations about each of our days at what we are doing, and sometimes admirable comments on the size of my lens! Why look for confrontation?

 

My response to police (including 'community police') and members of the public depends on how they talk to me. A friendly approach gets a friendly response, an aggressive approach makes me less communicative.

 

I have a printed copy of a letter to police chiefs, about how photographers should be treated. It's ten years old now, but I think the info is still applicable. It's always in my back pocket. You can find it here... http://www.theiac.org.uk/resourcesnew/filming-in-public/ACPO_Guidance_PhotographsPublicPlaces.pdf

Edited by John Morrison
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thanks John, I remember that letter but lost my copy. I've printed it out and stuck it in the bag. Not that I've ever had my style cramped by police or lower life forms, but there can always be the first time.

Edited by Robert M Estall

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It's no surprise that people are afraid. The threat of terrorism is very real. People are afraid to the point of paranoia and this fear is being used by certain global forces turning large sectors of society against each other, propagated by certain sections of the media and on social media. This the age of post-truth, fake news, alternative facts, divide and conquer. Could this really be happening - maybe I'm just paranoid.

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While the terrorism threat is 'severe',

 

I feel that any photographer taking photos of public places should be prepared to identify themselves.

 

What if the woman in question hadn't asked for I.D and just turned a blind eye and then a bomb exploded in the town hall a day or so later?

 

I think she would have been in for a reprimand.

I'm not with you there- I'm quite keen on the idea that the police uphold the law, which means obeying it themselves, and not abusing their powers as apparently they did in this case.

Edited by spacecadet
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'The woman in question' had no right to stop the photographer and demand information as she was 'police staff' and not a police officer.  Photographer in question should have demanded to see her warrant card.  If she cannot produce a warrant card then she has no powers whatsoever.

 

I am often stopped by police and I always politely ask for their warrant card so that I can take their details.  If they are being polite and resonable with me then I will reciprocate and quite happily show my press card.  

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When I read the headline I thought someone had been taking photos of that funny little pixie that runs the Green party.

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Can anyone AUTHORITATIVELY state that this

photographer has legal basis for successful lawsuit

involving financial restitution...?  Legal actions may

be less frequent in UK vs. US, but how else to let

"the 1%" know there will be consequences????!!

 

 

Yes I can...I'm an ex police officer.

 

If the facts as reported are true the police staff and officers actions were unlawful.

 

Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 give an officer (not civilian staff) the power to stop and search anyone that they have a REASONABLE SUSPICION that that person IS A TERRORIST.

 

Anyone going about their lawful business does not have to provide any personal details to an officer. And just because they refuse does not in itself give them reasonable suspicion.

 

I cannot believe for one second under these circumstances the officers thought Mr Mitchell was a threat to anybody let alone a bona fide terrorist. 

 

Therefore the stop, detention (by taking him into the police station) and subsequent search and threats are not covered by the legislation, and unlawful.

 

I find the Chief Superintendent's comments (If correctly reported) backing up her colleges also surprising, unless she also dosn't understand S43, which seems to be the case.

 

 

I have a copy of an internal memo to all Met police officers (the same legislation applies to the whole country) from Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

This was circulated in response to over zealous officers operating outside the law, with regard to street photography.

 

 

A couple of salient points extracted are...

 

  • There is no restriction on people taking photographs in a public place or of any building other than in very exceptional circumstances.
  • There is no prohibition on photographing police officers
  • The act of taking a photograph in itself is not usually sufficient to carry out a stop.
  • Unless there is very good reason, people taking photographs should not be stopped.
  • Officers do not have the power to prevent photography in a public place
  • If the photographer is a journalist the images can only be viewed with a court order.

(I can't seem to find a way of posting it here, if anyone can help I will do so everyone can have a copy)

 
I too have been stopped several times in similar circumstances, I'm always polite and explain what I'm doing, but refuse to give out my personal information, telling them they can take down my description instead. 
I fully understand we live in challenging times, but a bit of common sense goes a long way.
Maybe the police officer should have asked themselves this question...would a bona fide terrorist take reconnaissance photos openly or covertly?
When I hear of these incidents, it makes me think the real terrorists are winning by eroding our civil liberties.
 
Tony Watson
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Maybe the police officer should have asked themselves this question...would a bona fide terrorist take reconnaissance photos openly or covertly?
 
 
Tony Watson

 

 

Yes.. this occurred to me. If a person really was planning something underhand, I doubt they would take with them a DSLR and particularly not a tripod so that the whole world can see that they are taking photos. It would likely be a few quick snaps on a mobile phone and quickly walk on by.

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Maybe the police officer should have asked themselves this question...would a bona fide terrorist take reconnaissance photos openly or covertly?
 
 
Tony Watson

 

 

Yes.. this occurred to me. If a person really was planning something underhand, I doubt they would take with them a DSLR and particularly not a tripod so that the whole world can see that they are taking photos. It would likely be a few quick snaps on a mobile phone and quickly walk on by.

 

 

Or just look on Google street view!  B)

 

Phil

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Can anyone AUTHORITATIVELY state that this

photographer has legal basis for successful lawsuit

involving financial restitution...?  Legal actions may

be less frequent in UK vs. US, but how else to let

"the 1%" know there will be consequences????!!

 

I think the instruction to which Tony is referring is  http://www.urban75.org/photos/met-police-photography-advice.html

 

 

I too carry a copy with me having been 'visited' at home by an officer responding to an unfounded complaint. The police officer was quite high-handed but wasn't sure what offence I was alleged to have committed. She finally left saying "We'll let you off this time"!

 

Incidentally the John Yates instruction was in December 2009 but still equally valid as I understand it.

 

I also question whether there is or was any indication that terrorists intent on committing crimes go around taking photographs of their intended targets? I've never heard any evidence of this.

 

Richard

Edited by Richard Tadman

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Maybe the police officer should have asked themselves this question...would a bona fide terrorist take reconnaissance photos openly or covertly?
 
 
Tony Watson

 

 

Yes.. this occurred to me. If a person really was planning something underhand, I doubt they would take with them a DSLR and particularly not a tripod so that the whole world can see that they are taking photos. It would likely be a few quick snaps on a mobile phone and quickly walk on by.

 

 

Or just look on Google street view!  B)

 

Phil

 

Or photo agencies! 

 

Another Phil

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I was visited at home by an officer and a PCSO after they traced me by using cctv footage of my car number plate after I was seen shooting the local cop shop.
 

The Plastic Plod was a pain, making statements like "We can take your camera away, we can delete the images, we have the right to see all the pictures you took" etc etc.

 

The real officer was fine, and after a polite conversation they left.

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I hope you, or the proper policeman, put Mr. Plastic right, because as we all know exactly none of those statements is correct.

I think I would be making a RIPA nad DPA complaint as well for the misuse of your data.

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Back in the early 80's whilst working on a local paper, a young copper demanded my films whilst I was shooting a fairly messy RTA.
I explained I was within my rights to do this, so no, you can't have them, and he got aggressive and started off on a run of "I'll arrest you for disturbing the peace" etc etc.
After a lot of nonsense, I simply said that if he attempted to remove my camera from around my neck, or indeed take my films, the paper would sue for assault, and he finally cleared off.

Far from the only occasion I had run in with inexperienced cops who had a burning need to be the boss of everyone and everything within a 100 yard radius...

Edited by TeeCee

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I hope you, or the proper policeman, put Mr. Plastic right, because as we all know exactly none of those statements is correct.

I think I would be making a RIPA nad DPA complaint as well for the misuse of your data.

I put the plastic one right (even though he tried to insist he was right) and the proper one listened carefully, then wrapped it up and left.

 

I could have refused to even talk to them or let them into my house I suppose, but what is the point of being objectionable to a simple request (why was I shooting pictures of the police station?)?

Although If the plastic one hadn't given up quickly I may have become less amicable.

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When I hear of these incidents, it makes me think the real terrorists are winning by eroding our civil liberties.
 
Tony Watson

 

 

There does seem to be a failure of common sense, when someone with a big camera - and maybe a tripod - is assumed to be 'up to no good'. If would be an outrageous 'double bluff' for any terrorist to use a DSLR to photograph potential targets. I think photographers get questioned because we are visible, and most people don't understand why we are photographing a scene that doesn't have family members in the foreground!

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In the US, perhaps everywhere, the needs to become a law officer seems to be: and not necessarily in this order

 

Following a family tradition

A true desire to serve and protect

Enjoyment of the power a badge gives. In other words, all bullies apply.

 

Growing up in a small town, I remember a big, burly kid in my neighborhood. He bullied everyone, and made his younger sister's life a living hell.

He became a police officer. Thank heavens we'd moved away by then. I'm sure he enjoyed the power over the peons.

 

I've only had a few personal contacts with police in my life. Once when we had an attempted break in, and the second to report a missing auto. The third was while I photographed an oil pumpjack. A highway patrolman stopped and inquired very politely what was my purpose. I explained my profession, and he was very interested to learn about stock photography. Then he gave me directions to other places of interest for me to shoot!! It might have helped that I reminded him of his mom, lol.

We've always been treated with respect.

Two security guys with the bully complex in California were another story. My Nikon and monopod convinced them I was there to shoot property embroiled in a bitter lawsuit, instead of the shorebirds I was very obviously focusing on.

 

They treated me so poorly and made me so furious that as soon as they left, I shot property. Not that I did anything with it.

I shouldn't have been so spiteful.

Betty

Oh yeah. I got a speeding warning ticket, but he was very friendly, too. Otherwise I'd have had to pay a fine. :D

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It might have helped that I reminded him of his mom

 

Same happened to me once. I said, "I have a short beard." He said, "So does my mom."...
:D. Some of you guys are tooo funny, today. Thanks for the laugh. I needed it, I'm worn slick from working (2-3 months of it) on the house, getting ready to put it up for sale.

I'm beginning to think a paintbrush might become a permanent appendage.

Betty

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