Smith attempted to obtain further explanation from the police in respect of their actions. He claims: "The answer they gave was because of my obstructive and non-compliant attitude."
At the end of the search, the police departed, having failed to return Smith’s mobile phone to him. This, in ordinary circumstances, might be considered theft - although s.45(2) of the Terrorism Act does entitle a PC to seize any item which "he reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism".
The difficulty in this case is that if the PC genuinely believed Smith to be carrying the tools of terror on him, it was clearly perverse to leave him free to carry out the rest of his mission, photographing buildings around the City of London.
We asked the City of London Police to comment on this incident – specifically asking them for their views on the removal of the phone and whether it constituted theft. An official spokeswoman told us: "A man was spoken to by officers yesterday after police were called by security personnel. He was later searched under terrorism powers."
What about the phone? No comment.
What about suggestions that the City of London continues to abuse s44 powers long after other forces have learned their lesson? She added: "We continue to work to make sure the city remains a safe place to work and visit."
Unless, presumably, your work includes taking photographs, in which case the safety of neither yourself nor your property can be guaranteed. ®
The words I want to use...
...would offend the delicate shell-likes of Ms Moderatrix.
I'd rather risk a bomb than be a fascist.
I'd rather risk a bomb than live in a police state.
Ignorant and heavy handed police like this just create more problems than their tiny and bullying minds could possibly solve.
Not only should he press charges for theft, he should press charges for assault.
That said, if a pig can beat a woman holding a carton of juice on camera and walk away from court, I think he's got no chance.
Throughout the 80s and 90s when the (rather more competent) IRA were blowing people up on a regular basis, the chances of you getting blown up were vanishingly small. Now, the chances of you getting blown up in London are orders of magnitude lower than the chances of you getting run over, or having a drunken injury on the Tube (in the last 10 years at least 50 times more people have had drunken injuries on public transport in London than have been blown up).
The chances of me being stopped and screwed around by over-zealous police because I'm enjoying some photography is actually very high, so this concerns me far more than being blown up.
Finally, and this one is really important so listen carefully. Can someone, please, point out to me the link between photographers and terrorists. As far as I am aware (and I was in the military for 8 years, searching under my car every day for an IRA bomb), there has never been a case reported anywhere in the world in which a terrorist attack has been linked to an earlier recce by a photographer with a big SLR (that would nicely show up on CCTV if you went looking). I can't even remember any cases where someone went out with a point and shoot prior to a terrorist attack. I can remember an SLR being used to photograph the front of a bank in the film, "The Bank Job", and perhaps this is the link the police are using. If you are going to stop photographers because they might be performing recce for a forthcoming explosion, you should also stop everyone who uses the tube, since the 7 Jul bombers (iirc) did do a recce that involved travelling along the tube lines they were going to bomb a short while before 7 Jul.
If the police can come up with a decent link between photographers and terrorists. One which will withstand some basic scrutiny. Then we can start to take them seriously. At the moment, they are just being pocket stasi, abusing the excessive power that the last government decided to foolishly give them to combat a terror threat that has never been as serious as the IRA.
Re: Please run a poll
Evidently the second is vastly more likely and so I'm afraid I've have to vote for that. I presume that isn't the answer you wanted from your loaded question, so sorry about that.