Feeds

Police snapper silliness reaches new heights

City of London employ new ironic policing tactics

High performance access to file storage

After lagging well behind other forces for most of the year, City of London Police are now making a late surge to take the coveted El Reg prize for most absurd photographic intervention of 2009.

We were not especially impressed by their sending of seven officers in three cars and a riot van to deal with architectural photographer, Grant Smith, caught filming a church in the City of London. This was overkill, but alongside Kent’s arrest of a photographer for being too tall, as well as interference by various forces with assorted schoolboys, trainspotters and Austrian tourists, it was but small beer.

However, City’s decision to stop and quiz London Tonight reporter Marcus Powell, who was out with an ITN crew filming a story about Mr Smith’s little contretemps with the "boys in blue" shows extreme dedication to the cause of foot-in-mouth policing.

According to a spokesman for City of London Police, Powell was initially asked whether he had a permit to film, and then on showing his press card was allowed to continue.

The real question now is: will police efforts to alienate the public and piss off press photographers continue into 2010? Early indications are that common sense should soon reassert itself and we will finally be able to stop reporting on the increasingly silly interactions that appear to take place on an almost daily basis between police and photographers.

Last week, ACPO put out a strongly worded statement to all forces in England and Wales warning against over-use of anti-terror laws to question and search innocent photographers. Writing in The Independent, Chief Constable Andy Trotter, chairman of ACPO's media advisory group was blunt: "Everyone... has a right to take photographs and film in public places. Taking photographs... is not normally cause for suspicion and there are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place."

Liberal Democrat frontbench MP, David Heath has been given the go-ahead to raise the issue of alleged abuse of Section 44 terror legislation against photographers with the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, MP, next week.

Pressure Group "I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist" has responded to events of the last couple of weeks by calling for a mass turnout of Photographers, professional and amateur "to defend our rights and stop the abuse of the terror laws" on 23 January 2010.

On the other hand, we have been here before. It was about this time last year that the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was reassuring the Commons with guidelines to police on the use of the anti-terror laws. ACPO have regularly issued sensible guidelines on the policing of photography, to little apparent effect: and back in April of this year, Tory MP John Randall triggered a debate in the Commons on the subject.

So whilst it would be nice to imagine that 2009 will be the last and peak year for police madness over photography, the omens are not good, and we would not be entirely surprised if a year from now we were writing a very similar piece, perhaps with another force in our sights. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.