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View Poll Results: Does being hassled by police or security put you off photographing in public?
Yes it does and I photograph less in public than before. 8 61.54%
No it doesn't. I know my right and I'm confident about my photography in public. 5 38.46%
I'm not sure. 0 0%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 08-12-09
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Exclamation Police intimidation of photographers?

It's been in the news again this week. A senior police officer says that police should not use anti-terrorist laws as an excuse for preventing photographers from lawfully taking pictures in public. But today, a well known professional architectural photographer was arrested and detained while photographing a church near to a building in the City of London belonging to an international bank.

So, my question is, does the prospect of being challenged by a police officer or officers, or security guards, make you think twice about taking pictures in public?

Ian
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  #2  
Old 08-12-09
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Yes, definitely! I know my rights, but it still wouldn't be too pleasant to be stopped and questioned, so I take far less photos in urban areas than I used to. I'm going to London in January, but won't be taking a tripod to take one of those nice long exposure shots of the London Eye, because I think it would make me more of a target for questioning.

A recent story about a photographer being stopped from photographing on a beach in Sandbanks, close to my home, has even made me feel slightly paranoid when photographing on the beach, too.
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Old 09-12-09
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

I have to admit I do feel nervous about using my camera in public. It's a bit of a triumph for me when I get a good candid shot in public these days, but much more stressful than it used to be. There are various worries - being approached by police or security, and the now perennial problem of being potentially being accused for photographing children with ill intent. As a father myself, I'm not at all worried if my kids are photographed and I find it quite difficult to understand why other parents can be so sensitive. In the end, kids are the responsibility of their parents and what does being objectionable about others taking pictures of your kids achieve? Where is the danger? If you look after your children as any responsible parent should, how can a photograph put them in danger?

The now norm of removing faces on TV is, also, I feel very sad.

What price for 'privacy'?

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  #4  
Old 09-12-09
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

I think it's taken all the fun out of street photography. I rarely take a camera up into the town now. I've been going through some folders of my street shots recently and having all of them printed, even the ones I'd rejected and almost binned at at the time.

Pol
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Old 10-12-09
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Channel 4 news went to investigate the incident with photographer Grant Smith in the City and they too ended up having to explain themselves to police. There is a C4 report here, including a segment with Amateur Photographher news editor, Chris Cheesman:

http://www.channel4.com/news/article...rapher/3456342

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  #6  
Old 11-12-09
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Looks like all the TV Channels are getting involved

http://www.itv.com/london/photosensitive56397/

Can't help but wonder how long it takes for the message to get through.
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Old 11-12-09
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Unhappy Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
Looks like all the TV Channels are getting involved

http://www.itv.com/london/photosensitive56397/

Can't help but wonder how long it takes for the message to get through.
Don't hold your breath because I somehow don't imagine it's going to improve anytime soon.

Look at the links in the article HERE - camera snatched, vox pop interviews interfered with and so on.


Pol
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Old 25-01-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

There is certainly something askew on the civil liberties front in the UK. There are some things going on in the US, but not like you have. Here in Texas there is a law saying it is unlawful to take a picture for erotic intent without the permision of the subject and it has been improperly applied. In the US police officers can be sued for unlawful arrest and malpractice and their employers, the cities, counties and states, hold them harmless, meaning they pay the award. If there is no insurance, it can bankrupt the public entity. The one example that I know about is the City of South Tucson, AZ.
This sort of controls the over zealous police officers.
We do have our share of things that you shouldn't get caught taking pictures of and might not know it. There are not many stories here like the ones coming out of the UK.
Bob
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Old 20-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

It's not something that bothers me really, suppose that's down to being used to being surrounded by Police most of the time, I can see how people can be worried though. Some officers seem to get off on a little bit of power some just don't have a clue on the rights of photography. They could always ask for advice via the radio or phone it really is that simple.
To be fair though most are easy enough to speak to.

If you do get stopped just be polite as the alternative can and quite often does end up causing more bother than it's worth.

I have been approached by a security guard in the past who wanted to know what I had been aking shots of, he asked to look at my camera. He got a blunt NO after which he went away as I think he realised he was onto a losing battle.

It's worth keeping a copy of Photographers rights in your camera bag to refer to if stopped.

Stu
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Old 26-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Police in the UK are out of control, badly trained, badly supported and generally staffed with the wrong people. The mandate to police has been destroyed and replaced with a direction to control; policing by intimidation not by consent. Naturally, this leads to elitism, lack of accountability and excesses of all kinds. This doesn't tell the whole story though. The population carries some of the responsibility for they are generally too lazy to learn the law and all too willing to give up their rights in return for some ephemeral notion of "security" To quote Benjamin Franklin "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither"

The situation is different here. Police are employed by the town governments and are very accountable. Complaints must be investigated, at the local level, within a prescribed period of time and the results reported to the complainee. Policing is still carried out with the consent of the population. The result is that the country as a whole is much safer, the police have much greater respect and there are many fewer excesses.

As for photography, I don't bother taking a camera when I go to the UK, it just isn't worth the hassle for me. Here, I tend to wander about with a camera most of the time. People here love to have their photos taken and especially like you to photograph their children, of whom they are, generally, extremely proud. I am often asked to take pictures of children and people will give me email addresses and ask me to send the pictures to them later.
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Old 26-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear View Post
Police in the UK are out of control, badly trained, badly supported and generally staffed with the wrong people. The mandate to police has been destroyed and replaced with a direction to control; policing by intimidation not by consent. Naturally, this leads to elitism, lack of accountability and excesses of all kinds. This doesn't tell the whole story though. The population carries some of the responsibility for they are generally too lazy to learn the law and all too willing to give up their rights in return for some ephemeral notion of "security" To quote Benjamin Franklin "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither"

The situation is different here. Police are employed by the town governments and are very accountable. Complaints must be investigated, at the local level, within a prescribed period of time and the results reported to the complainee. Policing is still carried out with the consent of the population. The result is that the country as a whole is much safer, the police have much greater respect and there are many fewer excesses.

As for photography, I don't bother taking a camera when I go to the UK, it just isn't worth the hassle for me. Here, I tend to wander about with a camera most of the time. People here love to have their photos taken and especially like you to photograph their children, of whom they are, generally, extremely proud. I am often asked to take pictures of children and people will give me email addresses and ask me to send the pictures to them later.

I find these remarks about our police force from someone living outside the UK very offensive, when all you probably hear about are the sensational cases. Are the police so very lily white over there, I doubt it. We have our own police complaints service that investigates all complaints. UK police except for a handful of specialist trained squads called in only when fire arms are required for special circumstances walk the street unarmed, do they over there, I think not.
I think this fact alone shows policing by consent.

The police in the UK are not out of control there are a few officers as there will be in any police force that over step the mark thinking the uniform gives them more power than they really have. Most are reasonable human beings. It has to be accepted through bad information and a lack of training in this particular area has given rise to some problems. If its looked into more carefully its community officers that are the biggest problem (for those outside the UK who are not familiar with this term they are not the police as such but officers with limited powers that walk a beat to support the police)they are not trained to the level a police officer is, as you might imagine some think they think they know more than they really do. The problems arise when they do challenge someone and things get out of hand the police do then tend to support the community officer, so as not to undermine the job they are trying to do.
We must also accept there can be unreasonable attitudes from a minority of the general public who will immediately get on their high horse when approached. The best way is first to explain oneself if this is not accepted then quote your rights calmly, losing tempers helps no one.

There is however a paranoia here in the UK about photographing children and this stems mostly from parents that see anyone with a camera as a pedophile. Point the camera in the wrong direction and complaints are made, some parents have threatened violence to quite innocent photographers. The police are obliged in law to investigate regardless to any complaints about anything. The photographers then blame the police for harassment when all they are doing is responding to a complaint by a irate parent, putting him/her in a no win situation.
I have taken photographs all over the county and have been spoken to only once very politely by a security officer in Birmingham, I explained showed him by photo club membership card and off he went no problem.

I must admit these days I never ever photograph children.

The very unreasonable cases reported in the press are in actual fact relatively few, they should never have happened we know, but lets not forget the press do amplify everything to make a good read.

Yes we must defend and draw attention to our personal rights, and that is happening via the press its called free speech, hence your belief things are out of control.


Patrick
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Old 26-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Patrick, my comments are based upon personal experience, and not drawn from sensationalised accounts delivered through media outlets. I have travelled the world widely and encountered policing in many different countries and different systems, from communist societies to dictatorships.

I have only ever felt intimidated in such encounters in three countries, US, UK and France. I have been verbally abused in UK and France but it is in the UK alone that I have been beaten and physically abused. Does this colour my view of the state of policing in the UK ? It certainly does, but it is from experience that I speak. I have never committed a crime nor been arrested, anywhere, but in the UK I have been illegally detained, beaten and verbally abused on more than one occasion. As for the police complaints procedure, to all intents and purposes, it is run by the police for the police. Again, it is from experience I speak.

Based upon my experiences, I would never, under any circumstances voluntarily enter into any encounter with the police in the UK. When in the UK I actively seek to avoid contact with the police, I am suspicious and generally physically afraid of UK police officers.

I am sorry if my experiences run contrary to your rather rosy views of UK policing and offend you, but I cannot see the relevance of my location.
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Old 26-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

I find this very hard to believe. I agree with you that the US police, and the French gendarmerie, but not the French police, can be intimidating. Like you I have worked all over the world, experienced some unnerving contacts with police forces, but have never had a cause to worry in the UK.
You must be rather unusual in some way to be "Illegally detained, beaten, and verbally abused, on more than one occasion"
Are you trolling?

Roger
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Old 26-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogleale View Post
I find this very hard to believe. I agree with you that the US police, and the French gendarmerie, but not the French police, can be intimidating. Like you I have worked all over the world, experienced some unnerving contacts with police forces, but have never had a cause to worry in the UK.
You must be rather unusual in some way to be "Illegally detained, beaten, and verbally abused, on more than one occasion"
Are you trolling?

Roger
I too find this hard to believe, yes there are as said in my earlier post the odd renegade as with all forces, but this does not mean they are all that way. As to the Police Complaint Commission it is not run by the police but is independent, and has investigated abusive officers and gone on to discipline or prosecute where necessary on many occasions over the years, and has been fully reported in the media.
To believe you indicates here in the UK we live in a police state, that is nothing like the truth not by a long long way, I will concede standards may not be as high as they have been or that we want, I can also see this is true of other countries as well. Behavior of society the world over has declined.

Saying you have been beaten on more than one occasion indicates you believe this behavior is routine, no way one word to the press and all hell would break loose, they would have a field day on a story like that, especially an innocent person, its just the sort of story they love.

Patrick
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Old 26-12-10
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Re: Police intimidation of photographers?

Gentlemen, if I may clarify, as my punctuation caused my previous post to be ambiguous. I have been beaten on one occasion. I have been illegally detained on one occasion and I have been verbally abused on too many occasions to remember them all. You may choose to believe whatever supports your particular opinions. Your experiences may lead you to conclude I am not being truthful, if this is the case then I am pleased for you, but I would ask you to consider this question: what is to be gained ? Convincing yourselves that my story is a nothing other than a tissue of lies constructed for purposes of trolling may provide you with a degree of comfort but it won't make it so.
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