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back to article Kent Police clamp down on tall photographers

Kent Police set a new legal precedent last week, as they arrested a photographer on the unusual grounds of "being too tall". This follows a year of increasingly unhappy incidents, in which continued reassurances from on high appear to have had little impact on how Police Forces deal with photographers – and reinforces a growing …

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Police state

Yep we live in one, get used to it or if you can emmigrate and don't ever come back. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it.

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Anonymous Coward

more or less

More or less all law chain ganged into commision in the past 10 years should be scrapped.

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Paris Hilton

Typical

The police make me sick, its one rule for them and one for us, no wonder everyone has no trust or confidence in them.

What pisses me off the most is that if you hav ever been where they are filming for say something like "Road Wars" or other 'Make Police look like they do something' programs they will tell you if you kick off that they have a right to film where and who they like, same for the terrorism stuff you see happening at major train stations etc. But you try it with the roles reversed and i bet you end up searched etc and prolly a good chunk of your time taken to without any decent reason, that if they dont try and confiscate your camera etc in the first place.

Paris, cause she would never have a problem with the camera being pointed at her.

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If only...

If only this had happened in Maidstone I'd right a letter to Ann Widdecombe about it!

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Anonymous Coward

too tall?

Well, that's google streetview stitched up good and proper then....

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FAIL

When is tall too tall?

Everything over 4' or thereabouts? Makes me wonder just what the average height is of the inhabitants of Kent.

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Stop

breakdown in relations

"continued failure by the police to address this issue and to ensure that their officers are interacting lawfully with the public is likely to lead to a breakdown in relations."

C'mon, this is already the case, I don't know anyone who would trust a plod.

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Pirate

I remember the time

when the police didn't employ dwarves because they couldn't stand upto big criminals.

As a 5'11'' photographer who weighs in at more than 11 stone (double it) the Kent police must be s+!^ing themselves when they see me.

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Anonymous Coward

Intimidated by...

And here was me thinking that about 5'11" and about 12 stone wasn't far off the average height.

So she's intimidated by the average bloke. That's a nice broad category.

Any coppers reading this - perhaps now you will understand why even normally law abiding people refer to you as "the filth".

Your frustrations are with the inept legislature that bogs you down with paper work, and hampers your abilities to do your real job. Stop taking it out on the population - they would support you otherwise.

Until you do that, you are just the guard dogs for a corrupt and inept government in its dying days. But the public will still be here after they are gone.

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Anonymous Coward

Reminds me of a Not The Nine O'Clock News Sketch

Those of us of a certain age will be reminded of a Not The nine O'Clock news sketch where the reasons for arrest of a person are getting more and more frivolous.

See here for a transcript http://www.wepsite.de/constable_savage.htm

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What about the vertically challenged?

Surely Kent Police should issue guidelines on shorter people taking photos of PCSO's knees so as not to be guilty of discrimination on height grounds.

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I'm 6'7" tall...

...and from now on, I'm avoiding Kent.

If 5'11" is enough to be threatening, I'd expect them just to shoot me on sight, as being more than 2m high must constitute an act of war.

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Black Helicopters

coppers.....you gotta love 'em

cos it's illegal to do anything else to 'em......

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Bronze badge

Too Tall Turner

In the late 1970s (and I suppose early 1980s) a defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys was known as "Too Tall" Jones. He was somewhat larger than Mr. Turner; Wikipedia says 6'9", and I have to imagine his playing weight was at least 250 lbs.

I'll be sure to leave the camera in the states, or at least avoid Chatham High Street, on my next visit.

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Unhappy

sadly it happens

Its not uncommon for short members of the official postition camp to use the cry wolf card just becasue of somebodies height/build, ironicly this is tolerrated based upon no grounds beyond the insecure indiviuals protections. This is what happened here; Its descrimination alright but against height and until there is a test case upon such ground then there will be more and more of this unwarranted descrimination.

Hell i feel descriminated when i get on a bus given the seats designed to remove my kneecaps and cunning support ridges on the ceailing to catch you out in the head department.

But the whole size/height/build of people is still being used today as a form of descrimination and at the council and govermental down to the police it is becomming a growing area of concern for us mild mannored law abiding tall rugby built people.

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FAIL

Appalling

This is too, too bad! Firstly we have an officer of the law who is intimidated by the average bloke (5' 11" and of moderate build). Wonder how she fares when up against real criminals!!

Then the PCSO says it's OK to take photographs, but not of the police. Like it's THEIR decision??!? Ludicrous. How do the police prevent streetcams from seeing officers?? I'd like to see that technology.

These pitiful examples of law enforcement should be sacked for bringing the police service into disrepute. I feel for all the good coppers who try their best to rid our streets of crime in the face of such incompetence displayed by colleagues.

Not AC. The fuzz can bloody well come and arrest me as well if they want!

</rant>

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Grenade

@you are just the guard dogs for a corrupt and inept government

Makes a change from being Thatcher and Heseltine's private army of unaccountable boot boys I suppose, or is that what you were referring to?

Same old same old.

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Stop

Section 43 vs Section 44

' Yet here is the Met guidance in respect of s.44: "Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras... provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images... are of a kind, which could be used in connection with terrorism."

Not quite. The Met guidelines make no mention of reasonable suspicion: in effect, they duck the single issue that is at the heart of so much grief. '

As I understand it, 'Reasonable suspicion' applies to Section 43 which is applicable anywhere, whereas under section 44 no suspicion is needed for a stop, but the stop has to be in an area authorised for stoppages under section 44, and within the dates prescribed for authorisation - such authorisation must be made by a senior officer, as stated in the linked act. Interestingly, section 44 appears to state that the stop must be made by a uniformed officer, so presumeably if a plains-clothed officer stops you under section 44, they shouldn't have done!

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Hmmmm

I'd be prepared to overlook it IF they could provide proof that they were looking for someone fitting his description or indeed any of them could provide proof that they had arrested a major criminal in the previous year by performing the same dubious actions but I bloody doubt it.

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Joke

Ah, it takes me back...

Anyone remember the "Constable Savage" sketch from 80's show "Not The Nine O'Clock News" - as Kent plod are obviously using it as a training video.

So instead of the racist motives we now apparently have the offence of "using a photographic device whilst being of a intimidatory height" or some such.

What next, are the deodorant-less going to be lifted for "acting in a manner likely to cause olfactory distress". And are the obese similarly going to be winched into the hoosegow for "food consumption leading to damage to vehicle suspension's and/or non-ground level structures".

Seriously, someone needs to get a grip here. Maybe Glasgow police could swing down to give them a course in how not to be intimidated by tall neds with glass in their hands. (Or substitute Manchester, Newcastle, etc for Glasgow if they're not available)

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WTF?

Not the Nine 0'Clock News

Some other offences they might consider:-

'Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing.'

'smelling of foreign food'

'Urinating in a public convenience'

'Coughing without due care and attention.'

'Looking at me in a funny way'

'Walking on the cracks in the pavement,'

'Walking in a loud shirt in a built-up area during the hours of darkness,'

'Walking around with an offensive wife.'

And of course: 'Possession of curly black hair and thick lips.' or stop and search as it is more commonly known. But surely even back then they would not have thought of 'Being of intimidating stature'.

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Black Helicopters

Walking on the cracks in the pavement........

can also get you arrested.

I expect PC plodette and her PCSO attack poodle's attitude would have been markedly different if Mr Turner had happened to snap a few pics of a (real) crime in progress.

Kudos to Mr Turner for having the nouse to keep his cool, record details in a calm and efficient manner and write a detailed complaint about the incident.

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Unhappy

Zimbardo strikes again

For this and related reasons, Britain seems to be casually engaging in a kind of Stanford Prison Experiment, and unfortunately there don't seem to be any signs of an over-arching intelligence guiding the experiment -- cryptocratic or otherwise. The country really is in a bad state.

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Downing Street

Last time I was out-side our Lord_& _Master's street, (Blair at the time,) I politely asked the machine-gun totting police if I could take a photo of them. They grinned & they were up for it!

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visios circle

the police over react and use harsh powers

the public get more hostile to police and lose respect for them

the police and politicians get scared of the unruly youth

parliament votes more harsh powers to the police forgetting about things like due process in the grab for headlines

start wherever you want the result is the same

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Pint

Top tip - wear a suit and look deadly serious

I'm a trim 5'8" and have traversed the length of Kent and the whole Southeast with my cameras - taking pictures of whatever strikes my fancy. I do the same throughout London and have never had an issue with the police.

Of course, I do tend to wear suits everywhere and try and present myself as a professional. I'd like to think I appear to know what I'm doing and everyone just assumes I have the right to be there.

Who knows, but it seems to work for me!

www.flaneurphoto.com

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Simple solution

For goodness sake, get the names and numbers of the officers involved and then immediately get on the phone to your local newspaper. Watch them back down before your eyes

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Welcome

Too tall.

There was also the Spike Milligan 'Q' sketch, in which someone was arrested, IIRC, for being 6'0 in a 5'9 zone, in Lewisham.

I, for one, welcome our new easily upset, underheight overlords.

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Big Brother

Sounds like

they are looking after their own.

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FAIL

Plain clothes and no ID. They're just thugs then?

If someone came up to me in plain clothes telling me they were a police officer, but refusing to show ID, then as far as I'm concerned they are thugs attempting to intimidate me and are likely to get a short painful lesson in martial arts.

As for PCSO's - when will someone tell them what the law is and that they can't just make it up on the spot to suit themselves. I've had an argument with one PSCO in my local town regarding section 44 stop and search - he was adamant he could stop anyone he wanted and conduct a search of their person. It wound up with me only agreeing to the search if he agreed to pay me £25,000 out of his own pocket if the appropriate paperwork / court order was not in place. When he checked on the radio he walked off without saying a word to me and wouldn't even look at me or answer my question of "So does this mean I'm free to go home?". Annoyingly I was the only person around at this time (it was about 11:30pm and other than the PCSO I didn't see anyone else on my walk home).

And the police in this country wonder why the public hates them?.

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How about...

We all start taking pictures of every police officer we see? If enough people do it, they are likely to get bored arresting everyone. If they do arrest everyone, all those complaints to the IPCC are likely to get something happening.

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rmv

Robin

"Yet here is the Met guidance in respect of s.44: [...] Not quite. The Met guidelines make no mention of reasonable suspicion"

That's because S.44 doesn't require reasonable suspicion. In fact S.45 says quite explicitly that powers under a S.44 authorisation can be exercised "whether or not the constable has grounds for suspecting the presence of articles [of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism]".

A stop and search under S.43 requires reasonable suspicion.

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FAIL

Remind me please

of the precedent that says the police are to be expected to be less sensitive to abusive language than the general public so I can quote it to them when I tell them to fuck off.

(no one in the police or pseudo-police should be allowed on the streets if they are "intimidated" by normal people... that's what training is for; if it doesn't work on them they should fail to qualify)

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Anonymous Coward

The only thing suspicious...

The only thing that is suspicious is that the Met don't listen to Home Office instruction.

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@iggle piggle

> 'Looking at me in a funny way'

Yup, sounds like "suspicious behaviiour" to me - definitely a terrorist.

However, the big question is one of ID. If we can now be stopped on the street for pretty much any pretext and be compelled to show ID, what do you do if you're not carrying any? Last time I looked, it was not compulsory - so what's the position then? I'm absolutely sure the response would NOT be "OK, on yer bike then". And the only recourse I can see them following would be to haul you down to the nick, until said ID magically appeared - though quite how that would happen is beyond me.

Maybe the requirement to carry ID is another of those repressions that has "just happened" while the news channels were all too busy reporting on celebrities and their affairs?

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Unhappy

A WPC "felt threatened" by having her photo taken?????

Blimey! What's she like with the drunks at chucking out time on a Saturday night?

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Anonymous Coward

@Top tip - wear a suit and look deadly serious

Better still wear a high-visibility jacket, that's a common blagger's trick, they wear a high visibility jacket and there are so many plastic police, health and safety, council officials, and private citizens with police arrest powers now that nobody dares demand an explanation as to what you're doing.

You don't dare challenge somebody that may be able to arrest you, take your DNA samples and fingerprints, and hold you for days without charge.

So they can wander into offices and around factories and the only risk is if they get stopped by someone else wearing an equal or higher ranking, high-visibility jacket.

I don't see anyone in a hurry to fix it, the Shadow Home Secretary is courting ACPO as he can't face down the police with an election coming, the Home Secretary is telling people one thing, while continuing to give them whatever powers they ask for.

It reminds me of that Thai military coup, where the people keep electing the red party, but the police & army want the yellow party. So when the yellows stage a coup, the police stand on the side lines and won't protect the government, but when Reds protest they get shot at and killed by Royal yellow bullets.

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Silver badge

Re: How about...

If I could figure out how this facebook thingy worked I'd suggest organising one of those facebook parties inviting all photographers 5'11 and above to Chatham High St. this coming weekend to take photographs. So as not to be seen as an illegal gathering you would have to wander about aimlessly not talking to anybody else.

It all sounds very Monty Pythonesque, maybe a few silly walks while taking the snaps.

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Flame

Yes but notice....

"regrettable, and that counter-terror legislation was not intended to be used in this way"

It is regrettable, but it doesn't stop prosecutions does it? If you hadn''t passed such bone headed, half-assed ambiguous laws in knee jerk response to the perceived demands of the public it wouldn't be regrettable would it? People's lives can be ruined and it is "regrettable".

Why not just write simple laws for simple situations. Most things can be broken down into those, and while there will always be one off situations that can't be covered, you don't need a new law for every one off situation that can be thought of. We are not far off having specific laws for taking photos in a public area, where that area has been designated under section 44 by a senior officer (but not a junior one) using an Olympus camera with a 4Gb sd card, while standing on one leg and squinting. Ooh-ooh, we'd better have another law for all the other makes, and sd card sizes, and what about not squinting and standing on 2 (or more) legs?

It's all a load of arse.

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3rd World Dictatorship

And Labour politicians have the nerve to object to Mugabe??

What's the difference. They've destroyed our economy, as he did to Zimbabwe. They have changed the police into their own bunch of brown shirts, same as here...........

I hope the US invade us soon to remove this tyrany. Even Saddam never arrested photographers for being too tall......

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Black Helicopters

@ Julian I-Do-Stuff

Tell them to fuck off and you'll likely end up arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order act :/

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FAIL

No ID?

Sorry, but I'm with AC 14:00GMT. If someone walks up to me and requests ID and they don't say why or who and then prove it, the answer will be "sod off". If they persist then yes, I too will classify them as thugs/crims and respond in what I deem an appropriate manner.

As for this WPC being intimidated? Simple, she's grossly unsuitable to BE a WPC and should be fired. PCSO should be shot just for being a PCSO, let alone for creatively reinterpretting the rules.

Shouldn't those who are entrusted to absue, I mean keep the peace, actually be required to have some form of formal legal qualification rather than this frankly lame "I'm a copper/PCSO/jumped up thug in a Uniform so I'll tell you what the Law is and you have to do as I say" crap.

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Reasonable Suspicion

Point taken (about the lack of need for reasonable suspicion in s.44) and my fault for allowing my finger to hover briefly between the 3 and 4. Point is (I read the guidelines through and then searched on the word "reasonable"). It isn't there.

Taken at face value, the guidelines talk at length about the powers that police have to stop, search, etc. - but do not really spell out the limits placed on those powers. Which is the key point.

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Coat

@Professor Quatermass

Suit up!

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Black Helicopters

Phew… I’m still safe… for the moment

I’m short, lacking confidence [1] and anxious [2].

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/03/civil-liberties-stop-and-search

[2] http://gizmonaut.net/blog/uk/creative_use_of_the_dpa.html

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Stop

Oh dear!

I'm 6' 6" and a keen photographer. I guess I must be their worst nightmare.

I think part of the problem is a lack of calm rational discussion. If you don't raise your voice and swear and if you treat them as human beings rather than evil authority figures, then generally they will respond well. I think it's a confrontational attitude that causes belligerence.

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Black Helicopters

Corrupt as ever

No surprise from Kent police making it up as they go along. Having experienced at first hand there corruption this is par for the course.

A few years back a custody officer in Kent was prosecuted for smuggling alcohol and cigarettes and supplying the entire Folkestone police station and CPS office for six years with cheap illegal goods.

He kept records and many of the master criminal plods paid by Cheque!.

The judge said it was appalling and wanted action taken over police officers and CPS staff buying obviously smuggled goods.

Guess how many where prosecuted, disciplined or fired?

Answer - None.

As for a voluntary referall to the IPCC, that goes straight back to Kent PSD who bless them have huge difficulties actually investigating there own officers.

As for the lack of ID provided by the plain clothes officers, on demand a police officer is obliged to provide a copy of there warrant card or other form of ID.

As for the WPC saying she was intimidated, that comes under the public order act, not the terrorism act. She has to give a warning advising you to stop the action and only if you refuse does it become an offence.

As for PCSO's, they have no legal powers and need reminding of this all the time.

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Stop

@Ian Rons

In the Stanford Prison Experiment, I thought the guards weren't instructed to be brutal, they just descended into it. Whereas with the current government they're being told "go on, hit him! A dead man can't sue!"

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MnM

If I happen to walk past someone being arrested for photography

I shall photograph it and encourage others to do the same.

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Pirate

I have a lot of respect for most coppers, but.....

... when I look at f&$^$%s like this, I can only say, it is diminishing by the minute!!!!

Cops have a hard job, granted but it is not surprising, that more and more people start going against them when there are exactly idiots like that who -in my opinion- don't even have the right to breath, since it is a waste of resource (I sure hope they read this).

First thing to be done should be a psycho-analysis whether they have an inferiority complex.

If they do, then they should immediately be relieved of street duty in order to prevent PR-disasters like this.

Things like this just ruin good honest and reasonable coppers reputation, and I think that is definitely not fair and most of all a waste of tax payers money

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