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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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  #1  
Old 22nd February 2010
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Totally Outrageous!

Photography is now antisocial behaviour

What is happening to us?
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

That was blatent and cynical misuse of the law by police officers. If they genuinely believed he was "taking photographs in an anti-social manner" why was that not given as the reason for the stop in the first instance, instead of section 44? It seems clear that when he declined to cooperate, as he was entitled to do given the failure of the officer to provide reasonable grounds for suspicion, the police cynically invented a reason that fell convieiently within another law!

That stinks and is completely unacceptable. I'm starting to believe that the police and the government combined are a bigger and more dangerous threat to our society than Al-Qaeda itself.
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  #3  
Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

I understand the police to a certain extent. I haven't experienced being stopped (yet) but seen photographers being stopped. I know it's not my right to give my details but I'm not paranoid in any way so I don't see any problem with giving my details (Name and address) to the police.

I know there's a hate building against the police and I'm in no way happy with the way photographers are being treated. But I live by the saying "Give some - Take some" and by being a little cooperative might give you many benefits.
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Hi
How have you missed this?
http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
This item has been runing for over a year.
Basically the Chief Constables say one thing, the polis on the ground say another.

http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
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Old 22nd February 2010
AlistairJ AlistairJ is offline
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

I see they imprisoned him for eight hours, effectively for refusing to give his details.
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
Hi
How have you missed this?
http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
This item has been runing for over a year.
Basically the Chief Constables say one thing, the polis on the ground say another.

http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
I have by no means missed it see e.g. this thread or this. I was just incensed by this latest example of utterly stupid behaviour by members of our police forces.
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
Hi
How have you missed this?
http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
This item has been runing for over a year.
Basically the Chief Constables say one thing, the polis on the ground say another.

http://photographernotaterrorist.org/
Of course I've seen this. Without writing a book I just think that the only thing we benefit as photographers is getting an angry police force if all they meet are people trying to be rock hard on their rights. We'll end up with a Israel - Palestine scenario where noone wants to start the premliminary talks to get this problem solved.

I do understand police officers getting suspicious when they're asking for details when they see something happening. Even as innocent as taking a photo. I definately support the action and have mentioned it in my photoclub but all I'm saying is that I, personally, don't have any problems with giving my name and address. The next time I'm stopped it might be from some of the ones that stopped me earlier or if someone complains they'll know who I am.

I'm not looking at things black and white. What you choose to to is your business. I'm doing what I feel is right.
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post
Of course I've seen this. Without writing a book I just think that the only thing we benefit as photographers is getting an angry police force if all they meet are people trying to be rock hard on their rights. We'll end up with a Israel - Palestine scenario where noone wants to start the premliminary talks to get this problem solved.

I do understand police officers getting suspicious when they're asking for details when they see something happening. Even as innocent as taking a photo. I definately support the action and have mentioned it in my photoclub but all I'm saying is that I, personally, don't have any problems with giving my name and address. The next time I'm stopped it might be from some of the ones that stopped me earlier or if someone complains they'll know who I am.

I'm not looking at things black and white. What you choose to to is your business. I'm doing what I feel is right.
Quite. There's no harm in cooperating with the police if you, personally, are happy with the scenario. In fact, if a photographer really is acting suspiciously, and by that I mean acting in a way which could reasonably be construed as, say, with paedophiliac intentions, NOT just the fact that he has a camera, then I agree wholeheartedly that he should be stopped, questioned and made to account for his actions.

But in this case that was plainly not so. The original reason given was that it was a S&S under section 44 of the Counter Terrorism Act. It is just not good enough for the police to decide, when this is obviously not working, that they will use some other reason. Had they really suspected him of using photography in an anti-social way then that should have been the prime and only reason for stopping him. It's almost a case of "he must be guilty of something, we'll fit him up with whatever we can!"

If I am ever stoppped and the officer cannot give a valid reason why, I too will refuse to cooperate. However, should it be pointed out that my actions were being interpeted as using photography improperly I would be mortified and be most willing to cooperate.

It is apparent from this video that the police officer herself was unsure of her powers and what the law actually states. She was clearly not comfortable or confident in using the anti-social ploy. It was only when a smart-arsed sergeant (who clearly did know the law and how to abuse it) became involved that an arrest was made.

I do not want this type of dispute with the police. I want a police force we can depend upon, trust and respect, like we used to have. I have recently written at length on the issues twice to both Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary. All I have achieved so far is a standard reply from one of the underlings in the Met and not even an acknowledgement from Johnson. I try to engage them in a constructive debate but they don't want to know, or even acknowledge there is an issue.

The issue goes far deeper than photographer's rights, there is a grave threat to freedom and democracy in general. They won't listen now. Maybe they will listen when there is insurrection on the streets!
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post
Of course I've seen this. Without writing a book I just think that the only thing we benefit as photographers is getting an angry police force if all they meet are people trying to be rock hard on their rights. We'll end up with a Israel - Palestine scenario where noone wants to start the premliminary talks to get this problem solved.

I do understand police officers getting suspicious when they're asking for details when they see something happening. Even as innocent as taking a photo. I definately support the action and have mentioned it in my photoclub but all I'm saying is that I, personally, don't have any problems with giving my name and address. The next time I'm stopped it might be from some of the ones that stopped me earlier or if someone complains they'll know who I am.

I'm not looking at things black and white. What you choose to to is your business. I'm doing what I feel is right.
Perhaps I should envy your being able to accept such police behaviour with an equanimity that I do not share. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” is a commonly trotted out cliché. It is self-delusion of the first magnitude. It assumes that those who would seek to know about you are incorruptible, far from the truth as a recent high profile criminal case involving a Metropolitan Police Commander well demonstrates.

I recommend Grayling, Liberty in the Age of Terror. The following is a short quote from the Preface.
“. . . it is a response to the fact that reducing civil liberties in the hope of increasing security is a mistake of crisis proportions, with 'crisis' being the right word: for it is not only terrorism by itself, but its conjunction with our responses to it, which threatens the real political catastrophe of the age. Whereas it is obvious what threat terrorism represents, the self-harm of inappropriate responses to terrorism is less obvious, more insidious, and in the long term greatly more damaging.”

The PCSO in this case agreed, when prompted, that “it was Section 44”. She then failed to comply with Practice Advice on Stop and Search in Relation to Terrorism – ACPO 2008. In addition S44 does not require the person stopped to give personal details. Then followed the trumped up and bordering on a lie nonsense about anti-social behaviour. The arrest and detention for 8 hours for the latter “offence” was, in my view, corrupt behaviour. It was a punishment for the lack of deference shown by the photographer. How dare he insist on his rights? At the risk of being judged immoderate I will assert that it is but a short step to the knock on the door in the middle of the night by men in black leather trench coats.

I am sorry to bang on like this but as you will have gathered by now it is a matter upon which I feel very strongly. I am no wild young anarchist but a 71 year old law abiding citizen who in a few short years has found his view of the police force go from one of general respect almost to the point of contempt. This sort of behaviour on their part must stop before it is too late.
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Last edited by Adagio; 22nd February 2010 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Very well said, Adagio!

Jim
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  #11  
Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

This particular case is outrageous. I agree more than 100% (If possible) This was an abuse of the authority given to the police

From what I read around on foras there is an increasing level of hate against the police. What seemes to be common is that we all should hate the police for "being such ******** daring to approach us while we take photos" If I'm in the city centre and a police officer approaches asking what I'm doing I have no problem cooperating to a certain limit. The second they try to stop me from taking photos with no reason I think I would be more problematic.

Instead of automatically switching on the "hate police"-modus when approached there should be an option of establishing a dialogue. Even if the police is the authority doesn't give them the right to do what's done in the case this thread started with. Police, as the approaching part, meeting unwillingness and refusal to cooperate (even if that's their right) will in almost 100% of all cases lead to an escalation of the situation. The police, like everyone else, is dead afraid of the blame-culture that exists in UK. If they could have prevented something but didn't you can bet he will be prosecuted. All they want to avoid is getting their a** kicked by their bosses. Nothing in this country seemes to "just happen". There must ALWAYS be someone to blame (Ref.the number of solicitors)
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

I have not yet been stopped while taking photographs...I would like to think I would act in a courteous way to the servant of society charged with maintaining law and order...to start with a feeling of enmity will only lead to an aggressive and possibly disproportionate response...how we turn around this society that has been made so afraid of itself that terrorism has won I don't know...for those of you old enough did you ever feel this way in the 70's during the 'Irish' bombing campaigns...

So if you don't already do so, take your camera out on the street and take photographs..while you can
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post
I have no problem cooperating to a certain limit.
This I think is the telling phrase for all of us.

We all have our limits and I admire people who are able to take it to these limits. Whilst I think the photographer in question stood up for his rights his language did nothing to defuse a situation. I admire him for taking it so far, but equally I think a more reasoned set of arguments that moved the argument on somwhat would have been more interesting to listen to.

I personally don't think it's a case that the terrorists havewon, but those who like to keep us "frightened" and "under control!" are winning

Regards
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

There is a lot to criticise in not only the police force these days as to how metrics/targets/guidelines/call them what you will that are 'imposed' (I believe the term is championed) by those at the top and how they end up being implemented. Usually the intention from above is laudible and reasonable but often becomes less so by those who experience its effects.

But.... Adagio, as a sprightly 71 year old, before you lose respect for a police force that was always the apple of Dixon of Dock Green's eye in a byegone era let us not forget the corruption of the vice squad in the 60s, the disgrace of the West Midland Serious Crime Squad in the 70s (under a similar guise as today) and the brutality of the police during the miners' strike in the 80s... all events where those in higher echelons were either expressly or impliedly involved.

We should always be vigilant of those who wield power over us and was it ever so; that vigil is no different today, just the field of play changes from time to time.

Rather than focus on the officers and PCSOs who (mis)use the tool, would it not be better to remove the tool altogether? s44 should be consigned to the dustbin of history and dare I say it the power to do that only lies in the hands of the legislature.
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Old 22nd February 2010
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Re: Totally Outrageous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gethin View Post
But.... Adagio, as a sprightly 71 year old, before you lose respect for a police force that was always the apple of Dixon of Dock Green's eye in a byegone era let us not forget the corruption of the vice squad in the 60s, the disgrace of the West Midland Serious Crime Squad in the 70s (under a similar guise as today) and the brutality of the police during the miners' strike in the 80s... all events where those in higher echelons were either expressly or impliedly involved.
You are, of course, correct to remind me that things were never as rosy as my tinted spectacles might suggest

What I do find dispiriting is that, despite exhortations from some senior officers and direction from the ACPO guidelines to which I referred, there seems to be an almost universal lack of common sense.

Two extracts from a letter sent by the Association of Chief Police Officers to Chief Constables and Commissioners on December 4th 2009, only 2 weeks before this incident:-

"Adverse media coverage of the police service use of Section 44 powers, when dealing with issues relating to photography, have recently hit the headlines again and suggests that officers continue to misuse the legislation that is available to them. The evidence also suggests that there is confusion over the recording requirements of 'Stop and Account' and the actual
police powers of 'Stop and Search'."

"Officers should be reminded that it is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs of a public building and use of cameras by the public does not ordinarily permit use of stop and search powers."

I know that the poor PCSO did not draft S44 but I wonder what on earth her motive was in addressing the photographer as she did. As for the 'acting sergeant', words appropriate to describe him are inappropriate on a family forum!

The real villains are the politicians. From Howard onwards we have suffered a succession of unbelievably illiberal Home Secretaries. Come back Roy Jenkins all is forgiven.
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