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Abuse and intimidation of London photographer

 
 
Tony Polson
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      03-30-2008
Darrell Larose <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>In Canada we can't refuse a lawful command of a police officer, but IMHO
>this was just a phony tough guy on a power trip.



The guy is a "Police Community Support Officer" or PCSO. They only
get six weeks' training before they go out on to the streets. In six
weeks they are unlikely to be taught all the aspects of the law as it
applies to street photography.

The reason why PCSOs are needed is that fully trained policemen and
women spend very little of their time out "on the beat". They are
more likely to be found cruising around in police cars or in the
police station completing what their Union claims is a grossly
excessive amount of paperwork required of police officers.

I make no comment other than to say that there are now plenty of
excuses available to stay away from "the beat" if it doesn't appeal.
So instead we now have PCSOs, who cost much less to hire and need/get
rather less training.

I would rather have police officers on the beat than PCSOs, however
PCSOs are a whole lot better than nothing. A policeman or woman isn't
much use to the community while in a car or filling in paperwork at
the police station, so at least PCSOs are providing a presence on the
street that must help to deter crime to some extent, while hopefully
improving relations with the community.

Having said all that, this particular individual does give all the
appearances of a phony guy on a power trip. So I agree with your
comments. I just wanted to give some background and a UK perspective
of recent changes in UK policing.

There has been a steady reduction in overall crime in recent years
and, apart from the terrorist threat (thanks to UK involvement in Iraq
and Afghanistan, and the pro-Israel leanings of the current
Government) Britain is a safer place to be.

I should add that my recent dealings with policemen and women and
PCSOs have been very satisfactory in all respects. There is certainly
no reason for people to avoid Britain or cancel a vacation as a result
of the incident being discussed. That would be a gross over-reaction.

 
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Martin Brown
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      03-30-2008
In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Wolfgang
Weisselberg <(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>["Followup-To:" header set to rec.photo.digital.slr-systems.]
>Martin Brown <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> and if you are taking pictures that might be useful to a terrorist you
>> must expect to be challenged.

>
>So who says what pictures might be useful to a terrorist?


Some architectural photography is indistinguishable from what a
terrorist would do to scope out the location. On one notable occasion I
was photographing buildings in Manchester exactly 24 hours before the
IRA blasted them to hell. You can see why they might be interested in
me. AFAIK The shots did not contain anything useful to the police.

>If I was a terrorist with a semblance of brain, I'd use a bag
>with a hidden lens hole or similar gadgets. not a big, easy to
>see, camera.


These days with ubiquitous camera phones and incredibly cheap miniature
cameras the authorities are up against it. A well equipped and trained
terrorist group is probably impossible to prevent from photographing
stuff at will. But they may still be able to catch badly trained would
be jihadist amateurs who could still be a dangerous nuisance to public
safety.
>
>> I'd say security was a lot tighter in the past during the major IRA
>> bombing campaign against UK city centres than it is now.

>
>Photographing is not like leaving your package unattended in the
>train station.


Depends what you are photographing at the time.

When I was challenged the first time I was photographing something that
had been identified in a strategic risk analysis as a soft target with
severe economic impact. Once challenged by their security I could see
why too. They let me keep the images that I had already taken and it was
a perfectly civilised and professional encounter.

The shot that most nearly got me into serious difficulties was of a
"Keystone Cops" moment in Greece outside a police station just after an
arriving police car had sped into and rear ended one in a line of four,
and badly damaging the whole lot. They were not happy at all. It is
still a good photo.

Regards,
--
Martin Brown

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

 
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Paul J Gans
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      03-31-2008
In rec.photo.digital.slr-systems jaf <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>While they have always been proud to the point of arrogance.
>They always have been, and will remain, subjects of the crown.
>Like sheep.


Had to walk barefoot in a US airport lately?

--
--- Paul J. Gans
 
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Paul J Gans
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-31-2008
In rec.photo.digital.slr-systems Darrell Larose <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>I had a similar "stop shooting request" in 1999 at the Ottawa Airport, a
>squadron of transient RAF Jaguars. I was actually on public land when
>approached by the Military Police. He strutted up claiming I couldn't
>photograph under the "Official Secrets Act" I explained that;


>a/. The a/c were on the civilian ramp, visible from a public place they
>were fair game.


>b/. The aircraft were over 25 years old, they were not secret.


>c/. If they were "top secret" perhaps they should have been hangered at
>CFB Trenton.


>He thrust his chest out an said he would confiscate my camera and film...


>I then suggested as I WAS NOT ON THE BASE, he had zero jurisdiction, he
>said he was exempt, I asked "do you have a radio?" that he should ask
>that the city police be responded, that they would eventually show up
>and probably laugh at him. He looked at hi watch and figured he would
>miss the 2-for-one cruller special at Tim Horton's!


>I was also approached by building rent-a-cops when I was shooting the
>facade of a store I worked in. Same BS "the building owner's don't want
>their building photographed. I was on the public sidewalk, so I debated
>with him for a minute, then I waved the RCMP that was sitting 20' away
>on embassy duty. THe RCMP Constable told the rental cop, that no law was
>broken..


Well, good for you, but you were still intimidated. Unsuccessfully
perhaps, but the intimidation existed.

--
--- Paul J. Gans
 
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Paul J Gans
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-31-2008
In rec.photo.digital.slr-systems Cynicor <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Kennedy McEwen wrote:
>> I thought the London Eye was owned and operated by British Airways. I
>> would have thought they had bigger negative problems on their plate at
>> the moment, like finding where the owners of 50,000 bags lost in
>> Terminal 5 were, right now than preventing someone from actively
>> publicising their positive activities.


>Right now there are 50,000 bags going around a carousel in an empty
>arrivals hall at Prestwick.


Daleks. They are filled with Daleks.

--
--- Paul J. Gans
 
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dmaster
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      03-31-2008
On Mar 28, 12:33*pm, "Robert Brace" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "dmaster" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Mar 27, 11:36 am, John Ferguson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > Welcome To The Gulag wrote:> This is scary stuff - seriously, what has
> > happened to a once proud and free
> > > nation?

>
> > >http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...tographer/2008....

>
> > > [click to play video]

>
> > I reckon I'll avoid London if I ever get to GB.

>
> Well, I spent several weeks in London immediately after the
> Underground bombings. *Parts of the line were still blocked and
> security was quite heavy. *My wife and I were carrying a camcorder, my
> none-too-inconspicuous Panasonic FZ20, and another digital camera. *We
> took photos and video everywhere we went, including in the
> underground. *Not once were we stopped, questioned, or harrassed. *We
> did *ask* security personel if we could take their pictures before
> doing so, and we were never refused.
>
> My suspicion is that unless you are purposely trying to annoy someone,
> or taking pictures in an obviously restricted area, you won't have any
> trouble.
>
> Dan (Woj...)
> Dan (Woj...)
>
> dmaster:
> * * Your response is so typical of the "gee if I get in trouble with the
> authorities, then I must obviously be in the wrong and if they question me I
> must bow my head so they can more accurately land their blows".


Wow, that's quite a stretch. I thought I was being reasonable to
recognize that some places (military instalations and the like) have a
legitimate reason to be wary of photography. Hey, what did I know?

> * * You must be Canadian, eh?


Oops. Wrong again. Its a good thing you are so good at leaping to
conclusions. Otherwise, you might come off sounding like a raving nut
job.

> * * What in hell do you mean by "purposely trying" to annoy someone and
> what, specifically, is an "obvious" restriction on an "area".


Well, purposely could involve ignoring clearly posted signs, not
answering when questioned, not pausing to address a question, shouting
"I will not bow my head so you can more accurately land your blows."
instead, "Hi, I'm on a holiday and I was trying to take a couple of
pictures of ...". And so on. You get it. Hmmm. Or maybe not.

> * * Total BS, it is. *The video shows what happens when someone has
> mistakenly interpreted their authority (racial comments aside) and is
> challenged *-- *nothing more.


And while the video may be completely accurate, many of us know how
leaving off what came before can completely color what remains in a
video.

> * * Those of us who have seen this Rent-A-Cop approach to Policing the
> public are not at all surprised by the public's reaction, especially when
> dealing with those in the public who have not accepted the Master VS. Peon
> relationship.
> Bob


You've got quite a row going there, Bob. Nothing wrong with that, but
effective social change usually begins with people who properly
recognize their targets and don't flail mindlessly in all directions.
Or that could just be me.

Chill.

Dan (Woj...)

 
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Robert Brace
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-31-2008

"dmaster" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
On Mar 28, 12:33 pm, "Robert Brace" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> "dmaster" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Mar 27, 11:36 am, John Ferguson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > Welcome To The Gulag wrote:> This is scary stuff - seriously, what has
> > happened to a once proud and free
> > > nation?

>
> > >http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...tographer/2008...

>
> > > [click to play video]

>
> > I reckon I'll avoid London if I ever get to GB.

>
> Well, I spent several weeks in London immediately after the
> Underground bombings. Parts of the line were still blocked and
> security was quite heavy. My wife and I were carrying a camcorder, my
> none-too-inconspicuous Panasonic FZ20, and another digital camera. We
> took photos and video everywhere we went, including in the
> underground. Not once were we stopped, questioned, or harrassed. We
> did *ask* security personel if we could take their pictures before
> doing so, and we were never refused.
>
> My suspicion is that unless you are purposely trying to annoy someone,
> or taking pictures in an obviously restricted area, you won't have any
> trouble.
>
> Dan (Woj...)
> Dan (Woj...)
>
> dmaster:
> Your response is so typical of the "gee if I get in trouble with the
> authorities, then I must obviously be in the wrong and if they question me
> I
> must bow my head so they can more accurately land their blows".


Wow, that's quite a stretch. I thought I was being reasonable to
recognize that some places (military instalations and the like) have a
legitimate reason to be wary of photography. Hey, what did I know?

> You must be Canadian, eh?


Oops. Wrong again. Its a good thing you are so good at leaping to
conclusions. Otherwise, you might come off sounding like a raving nut
job.

> What in hell do you mean by "purposely trying" to annoy someone and
> what, specifically, is an "obvious" restriction on an "area".


Well, purposely could involve ignoring clearly posted signs, not
answering when questioned, not pausing to address a question, shouting
"I will not bow my head so you can more accurately land your blows."
instead, "Hi, I'm on a holiday and I was trying to take a couple of
pictures of ...". And so on. You get it. Hmmm. Or maybe not.

> Total BS, it is. The video shows what happens when someone has
> mistakenly interpreted their authority (racial comments aside) and is
> challenged -- nothing more.


And while the video may be completely accurate, many of us know how
leaving off what came before can completely color what remains in a
video.

> Those of us who have seen this Rent-A-Cop approach to Policing the
> public are not at all surprised by the public's reaction, especially when
> dealing with those in the public who have not accepted the Master VS. Peon
> relationship.
> Bob


You've got quite a row going there, Bob. Nothing wrong with that, but
effective social change usually begins with people who properly
recognize their targets and don't flail mindlessly in all directions.
Or that could just be me.

Chill.

Dan (Woj...)

Or, as I have learned, the more you let pass unchallenged -- the more that
will pass.
Bob




 
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Wolfgang Weisselberg
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-01-2008
Martin Brown <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> Wolfgang Weisselberg <(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>>Martin Brown <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>>> and if you are taking pictures that might be useful to a terrorist you
>>> must expect to be challenged.


>>So who says what pictures might be useful to a terrorist?


> Some architectural photography is indistinguishable from what a
> terrorist would do to scope out the location.


Then there are only 2 possibilities:
a) outlaw bread, as well: most terrorists (and criminals, too!) eat that
stuff, and use it to fuel their bodies, so they can do terror
b) live with the fact that not even a brutal police state can prevent
terrorism.

> On one notable occasion I
> was photographing buildings in Manchester exactly 24 hours before the
> IRA blasted them to hell. You can see why they might be interested in
> me.


So they knew about the attack 24 hours in advance??
Oh, they were interested after the attack ...

> AFAIK The shots did not contain anything useful to the police.


Obviously.
Most terrorists do not stage demonstrations to tell the world
that they'll blow this-and-that building in 24 hours.

> But they may still be able to catch badly trained would
> be jihadist amateurs who could still be a dangerous nuisance to public
> safety.


Tourists may be a nuisance, but they are not *that* bad.

-Wolfgang
 
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