The headache continues...
"Why oh why is this still happening?"
It pains me to think that photographers get a bad rap for just being photographers. The act of photography has many beautiful and personal descriptions, it is a freedom of expression, it is freedom of observation and documentation and it is considered a free and welcome activity almost everywhere apart from certain dictatorship countries.
In the UK the photographer is free to photograph anything, at any time, if you are on public land or if you are on your own property. In some cases there are certain by-laws on public land that places a restriction on photography, but that is only enforced on commercial photography. As for the hobbyist, you are free to photograph anything within reason.
I have had several encounters with police due to my photography and it was fundamentally because I was holding a camera. Somehow police seemed to have thought that I was a "dodgy bloke", taking photographs for my own sick pleasure and for ill-gotten gains.
But why would a police officer ask a photographer "what are you doing..."?
My story concludes being threatened with arrest if I didn't show them (two police officers) my pictures. I have to say that the police truly have a way of dealing with the public. I had nothing to hide so I politely showed them what I took. To my amazement they then demanded my name and address to check that I wasn't "dodgy"... I had a camera so I must be dodgy right?!
For the people who don't know their rights when it comes to photography can find themselves in very deep water. By standing up for your rights you could find yourself in very deep water still. This should never be the case and as the title says, the headache continues.
Why, when there have been endless guidelines written from government, local authorities and police authorities do the UK police act like the Stazi 2.0 when it comes to communication and respect with photographers?
I fully appreciate the police. They work long hard hours. Of course, not all police officers are considering themselves above the law and act with the greatest amount of decorum and professionalism. The police have to deal with all sorts of horribleness and nastiness on a daily basis. But when it comes to threatening behaviour, harassment and underhand tactics the police really rank up there with the worst of them.
This blog comes to light after a recent case of a photographer in Gloucestershire getting on the receiving end of police tactics. "Threaten, intimidate, illegally confiscate and abuse".
You can watch the video here:
It is not only the police that are to blame but legislation should also shoulder some of the blame. Legislation is written in a way that can be confusing to understand or can be open to interpretation. This was the problem under the Terrorist Act section 44 and continues under section 43 and photographers are being arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act.
Again the underhand tactics.
Everyone currently has the ability to take photographs, whether it's on a expensive camera, a cheap camera or on your mobile phone. The rise of social networking sites exclusively related to uploading photos means that people are taking more pictures than ever before.
With this ongoing trend of guileful police tactics and public non-knowledge it gives me a migraine headache to think that stories like these above will continue and be all too common, and its knowing conclusion of zero repercussions in regard to the lack of manner, conduct, intelligence and professionalism of the police in these circumstances.
Here are some helpful sites to brush up on your rights as a photographer.