Police in UK continue to suffer from debilitating boredom.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by RichA, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    RichA, Jun 24, 2010
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  2. RichA

    Ray Fischer Guest

    99.0% on the irony meter.
    Ray Fischer, Jun 24, 2010
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  3. RichA

    RichA Guest

    Hey! I thought you tired of the humiliation you suffered here and
    shuffled off to the poltical groups?
    RichA, Jun 24, 2010
  4. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    "Amateur Photographer" should know that, in London, there are two
    specific areas where most photography is banned. One is in Trafalgar
    Square, where this incident occurred. The other is in Parliament
    Square and Whitehall, around the Houses of Parliament and the main
    offices of Government.

    Some exceptions are made for tourists with small P&S cameras, although
    they are still liable to be stopped and asked about the end use of any
    images they make. But anything other than tourists' snapshots are
    banned, which means that anyone carrying a camera that looks like they
    mean business (for which read: SLR) is likely to be stopped and
    politely asked to desist.

    Away from these two areas, there are around 40 sites that are
    designated as being of particular interest to potential terrorists,
    and the police have enhanced powers under Section 44 of the Prevention
    of Terrorism Acts 2005 and 2006 to stop and interview anyone using a
    camera in these areas. There is no ban on photography but questions
    about end use are to be expected.

    While the police do not have specific legal powers to ask for evidence
    of identity in these areas, it is wise to co-operate as much as
    possible, otherwise an arrest and a subsequent time-consuming
    interview (at a police station) are likely to spoil your day.

    Outside the Section 44 areas you are still likely to be stopped if you
    are carrying "professional-looking" gear and/or are photographing
    buildings. The police tend not to differentiate between their greater
    powers in Section 44 areas and their more restricted powers elsewhere.

    The reason for all this is the very high level of terrorist threat
    from Islamists based in the UK. It is impossible to quantify the
    overall risk of another terrorist attack (we had two in 2005) and the
    additional risk posed by people photographing buildings, so the police
    err on the side of caution and probably stop rather more people than
    they need to. But we will never know if this has prevented any
    further attacks.

    "Amateur Photographer" should know all this, however the magazine is
    keen to be seen to supporting the freedom of photographers, especially
    in London, and articles like this - which are a knee-jerk reaction to
    something that they should already know - seem increasingly to be a
    regular feature of the magazine.
    Bruce, Jun 24, 2010
  5. RichA

    GMAN Guest

    GMAN, Jun 24, 2010
  6. RichA

    Peter Guest

    I don't take anything Bruce posts, seriously. Especially his interpretations
    of law.
    Peter, Jun 24, 2010
  7. RichA

    Paul Heslop Guest

    why do you say 'the brits'? I don't think I personally know of one
    person who thinks that people should be stopped photographing
    anywhere, except obviously rabid groups of morons who would try to
    hang you if you happen to have a camera within the same area as a
    child, even if it's your own.
    Paul Heslop, Jun 24, 2010
  8. RichA

    tony cooper Guest

    You kinda jumped to a conclusion there. The information presented
    didn't say that tourists are restricted to the type of photographic
    equipment they have. The information says "is likely to be stopped".

    "Likely" means it can happen, not that it will happen. A person with
    "pro" appearing equipment is more likely to come to the attention of
    authorities. I would imagine that the general appearance of the
    tourist will also have to do with the likelihood of being stopped.

    It is a rather silly premise, however. For purposes of terrorism, a
    photograph taken by John Sisker will show just as much as a photograph
    taken by a pro with top drawer equipment. Terrorists are not
    interested in the detail of the feathers of a pigeon on a ledge. They
    want to capture the layout. John's photograph will provide that even
    if his camera changes the colors and misreads the temperature. (Does
    John's camera adjust for Celsius or Fahrenheit?)
    They'd send you off to take photographs of the changing of the guard.

    I took this photograph in 1984 at the Tower of London. (Scanned
    slide) This young man is probably now the Minister of Photography
    (note the camera in his hand) and reports to the Minister of Silly


    This photograph was taken the same day at the Tower by my daughter.
    The family to the left would probably be hauled off and questioned for
    hours if they were there today. That's my wife, me, my camera bag (Do
    I look like a pro?), my son, and a stranger in the background far
    right. The stranger is probably now the senior Met officer in charge
    of Suspicious Activities.

    tony cooper, Jun 24, 2010
  9. RichA

    Peter Guest

    Your son seems to be saying something like: "Hurry up and take the picture.
    Let's get on with the pub crawl."
    Your wife looks like a very nice person, who is happy to be with you.
    Peter, Jun 24, 2010
  10. RichA

    Ofnuts Guest

    Maybe because Bowser falls victim of exactly the same kind of
    generalization that make others think that anyone with a camera in hand
    is a terrorist.
    Ofnuts, Jun 24, 2010
  11. RichA

    Poldie Guest

    This is untrue. I, along with literally dozens of tourists, took
    photographs in both locations recently, in full view of several police
    officers, and no such action was taken. I think you're confusing the
    occasional, pointless, inconsistent harassment of photographers in
    those and other locations with a permanent, blanket ban.
    Poldie, Jun 24, 2010
  12. RichA

    Rich Guest

    That's assuming you buy the story about it being terrorism they want
    to stop. I like the other one, that sees their economy continue to
    decline until the idea of revolution begins to look attractive.
    That's when the politicos need a huge security infrastructure in-place
    to prevent this, and you can't build it overnight. They are slowly
    becoming the new Soviet Union.
    Rich, Jun 24, 2010
  13. RichA

    tony cooper Guest

    He was 14 (15 later that summer) at the time. We went to a crowded
    pub in Ireland on that trip and I decided to buy him a pint. He was
    across the room, and by the time I worked my way over to him I noticed
    that he already had a pint. He tried to act cool about it, but I know
    he was chuffed to have been able to be served. The legal age here is
    Thank you.
    tony cooper, Jun 25, 2010
  14. RichA

    alex slater Guest

    Guilty, your honour. In my battle against democracy I was armed with
    one 50mm prime and a highly dangerous 18-55 zoom on my EOS 400.
    alex slater, Jun 25, 2010
  15. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    It is nowhere near as bad as it sounds. The people it affects most
    are pro shooters who make images of buildings.

    I know several fellow Brits who have been harassed by police in New
    York and Washington in similar circumstances. One was arrested twice
    in Chicago for taking pictures of the L and subjected to an intrusive
    search and interrogation, during which he was threatened with

    I don't see much difference between the US and UK in that respect;
    both our countries are known terrorist targets.

    Don't be deterred from visiting the UK. We need dollars like we need
    all foreign currency, and US tourists are made more welcome here than
    in most other European capitals.

    I'm glad you know parts of the UK other than London, because London is
    in so many ways the least British city of all. ;-)
    Bruce, Jun 25, 2010
  16. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    It's not so different in the USA, I think. See my reply to

    In both countries, our governments perceive a need to be seen to be
    doing something about the terrorist threat. I think that drives most
    of the police's attitude to photography. The two terrorist attacks on
    London in 2005 both had an element of photographic reconnaissance, so
    that explains some of the apparent paranoia.
    Bruce, Jun 25, 2010
  17. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Interesting how "the new Soviet Union" has just elected a right of
    centre government with a mandate for free market policies including
    the overturning of most of the draconian legislation enacted during
    the last 13 years of a left of centre government. The new government
    is a coalition between the part of the right and a centrist party, and
    both are dedicated to the restoration of personal freedoms insofar as
    the security situation allows.

    It could not be further from "the new Soviet Union".

    The threat of home grown Islamist terrorism is high in the UK because
    we have a large ethnic minority whose roots lie in India and Pakistan.
    The vast majority of people here recognise that there will be some
    restrictions in personal freedom because of the threat level, which is
    very high. A similar situation existed during the Irish Republican
    terror campaigns - this is something that we are used to, and there is
    really no choice.

    The situation in the USA is not so different - see my reply to

    You are in a completely different situation in Canada. Count yourself
    lucky that Islamic terrorists have left Canada alone, at least so far.
    Bruce, Jun 25, 2010
  18. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Interesting how you managed to snip my next paragraph which explained
    why tourists escape the ban. Had you read it, you would have realised
    that you were wasting your time with that reply. ;-)
    Bruce, Jun 25, 2010
  19. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Perhaps you don't understand the difference between "likely" and
    "always". If you were obviously a tourist, you would be less likely
    to be stopped and asked to desist. The powers are there to be used
    when thought necessary, not always.

    It isn't Australian tourists who need to be deterred, and let's face
    it, any London policeman could spot an Australian tourist at 200
    metres, or they shouldn't be in the job. ;-)
    Bruce, Jun 25, 2010
  20. On 2010-06-25, Bruce wrote:
    We catch them before they do anything:
    Chris F.A. Johnson, Jun 25, 2010
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