Police Dig Deeper Hole?

Police seem determined to spurn the usual sage advice about stopping digging in their relationship with photographers.  Read today’s news piece by Chris Cheesman on the Amateur Photographer, Police crackdown on City photographers, which recounts how Graham White was stopped by a security guared while photogarphing a building in Silk St. A police spokeswoman is reported as having said that the police advise photographers to inform a security official of their intentions, prior to taking pictures.

Yesterday AP reported yet another case of photographer harassment, in which a man taking pictures in Hounslow High Street was arrested, handcuffed and taken to Hounslow Police Station where he was held for three hours for a for a ‘Section 5’ Public Order Offence before being issued with an £80 fine and released. He intends to take the case to court rather than pay the fine.

Also today, in The Register, John Ozimek titles his piecePolice snapper silliness reaches new heights: City of London employ new ironic policing tactics‘ and recounts how London Tonight reporter Marcus Powell with an ITN crew filming a story about an earlier incident in which seven police officers in three cars and a riot van were called to deal with architectural photographer Grant Smith who was photographing one of the city’s Wren churches were questioned by police.

These incidents appear to be getting more common, despite various campaigns and demonstrations by photographers, a Home Office Circular, statements by the Home Secretary and ACPO, a debate in the House of Commons, comments in the Lords, features and leading articles in newspapers… But it seems that there is nothing and nobody that can bring the police under control.

You can of course read some more about the situation on the ‘I’m a photographer not a Terrorist‘ web site, which also gives details of a Mass Photo Gathering in defence of street photography to take place in Trafalgar Square at 12 noon on Saturday 23rd January 2010.  Something to put in your new Diary. See you there!

In the meantime, I suggest we all take our cameras with us whenever we go into town (any town)  and take pictures, even if we are only going shopping or to the pub and intend to delete the pictures (unless the police tell us to.)  That way we might wear the bastards down.

If you’ve got a camera, use it. Otherwise soon you won’t be able to.

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