British police force vows to act on photographers’ anti-terror fears

Three weeks ago I reported that Photographers were under attack and more recently found a video of a film maker getting grief in London and the NUJ calling for ‘Press Freedom Protest’

Well at least the Met look like they are going to reverse there stance over people photographing in London. Maybe they realise photography is quite a natural lifestyle thing to do and we may not be terrorist’s after all.

However if the Met Police are going to play this as “we weren’t aware of the issues of photographers” frankly they can get stuffed, the NUJ have been complaining to the Met for more years than I can remember over abuse to press photographers and reminding them of photographers rights. (see the ‘Resources for the Photographer’ box on the sidebar for downloadable photographer rights guides)

I have to say I have grave concerns over policing in this country when I got stopped and searched at the end of last year for “subject in possession of long lens Nikon camera” (it was in fact only a 24-120 mm zoom and in fact my G9 has a greater focal length range) even when I have a UK press Card. My concern is that an amateur photographer, unaware of their rights may not have faired so well, and could have even ended up being arrested!

I appreciate and understand the police and government  have fears over terrorism, but who is actually calling the shots here? It’s clearly not a government initiative and terrorism, which is a concern to us all has to be kept in perspective like the BBC has pointed out here it is not a new threat to the UK and during the troubles with the IRA we had far more attacks and loss of life than 7/7. Cameras were around then too, and probably used for surveillance by the IRA but it wasn’t deemed necessary to accuse the citizens of being terrorists. It makes little sense to me to restrict the law abiding citizens to a point they are the prisoners and there rights taken way from them.

Well that enough of my rant, Amateur Photographer has a piece on them with links to the MP’s Launching a petition in the House of Commons and more…

British police force vows to act on photographers’ anti-terror fears news – Amateur Photographer

Police pledge to act on photography fears


Thursday 20th March 2008

Chris Cheesman


Police have vowed to act on concerns expressed by photographers who fear Met picofficers will unfairly target them when taking pictures in public following recent anti-terrorism publicity.
The Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards has promised to raise photographers’ concerns with all officers on the ground within the force.
The Met’s pledge came in response to a written complaint from photography enthusiast Andy Barton about the latest anti-terror adverts which are designed to alert members of the public to people with cameras behaving suspiciously.
The police launched the nationwide campaign in newspapers, on the internet and on radio last month.
Barton, a keen photographer from Cheshire who visits London regularly, is worried that everyone who takes photos in public will become terror suspects.
In an official emailed reply to Barton, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lawrence said he will ‘encourage officers at ground level to adopt a more sensible approach when considering whether to stop photographers and other Londoners who are in the vicinity of transport networks’.
Lawrence also promised that he would pass on Barton’s complaint to the Counter Terrorism Command unit, which is in charge of the current publicity project.
He added: ‘We have to balance a genuine terrorist threat, which concentrates on attacking transport networks, but at the same time take account of the human rights of individuals who want to take photographs or enjoy an innocuous hobby.’
The DCI’s email has since been verified to us by Scotland Yard following the force’s initial reluctance for us to publish the contents.
The Met’s press office conceded that Lawrence’s comments had been made in his professional capacity to a member of the public.
The news follows an apparent rise in the number of photographers complaining that they have been unfairly stopped prior to the latest police campaign.
A House of Commons petition on the matter was launched last week by Labour MP Austin Mitchell.
The Early Day Motion has so far gained support from 62 fellow MPs.
• See next week’s issue of Amateur Photographer for a Special Report on the issues facing photographers in today’s anti-terror climate. The magazine goes on sale on Tuesday 25 March and is available to subscribers before this date
Police launch anti-terror publicity
Picture (above): Police launched a new anti-terror campaign last month
MP launches photography petition in House of Commons
Police in ‘deleted’ pictures storm
Anger at police statement on photography
Police apologise over Christmas lights fiasco

British police force vows to act on photographers’ anti-terror fears news – Amateur Photographer – news, camera reviews, lens reviews, camera equipment guides, photography courses, competitions, photography forums


4 thoughts on “British police force vows to act on photographers’ anti-terror fears

  1. As you know I’ve never entirely bought into this whole “anti-terror” malarkey. In so many instances there has clearly been some sort of “other agenda” in play, and I’ve little reason to suppose that the repression of photographers is any different.
    And the way this business with the Met is playing out, it could all just be a devious ploy to introduce yet more legislation that whilst on the face of it seems to protect photographers’ rights could in fact end up giving even greater powers to the police re photographers.

  2. I have blogged on exactly the same issue today, following an unsavoury incident when I too was detained in a police car simply for taking photographs.

    I trust that all photographers will do something to back Mr. Mitchell’s campaign

  3. Hi Curly, well lets hope so.
    I think ALL photographers must realise they have to stand up and be counted and not expect to sit back and think there is someone else doing it for them!

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