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back to article City Police still using Terror Act to bother photographers

Just when you thought it was safe to go snapping... City of London Police prove they still haven't got the memo. Yesterday, it was the turn of Grant Smith to feel the heavy hand of the law. Smith is a professional photographer. On Monday he was looking for a location on London Wall appropriate to a portrait of one of the …

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Big Brother

Please run a poll

Which concerns you more when visiting London?

a). Being blown up whilst using public transport

b). Being stopped by police under S.44 for taking a tourist photo of a "possible terrorist target"

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Re: Please run a poll

Evidently the second is vastly more likely and so I'm afraid I've have to vote for that. I presume that isn't the answer you wanted from your loaded question, so sorry about that.

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The words I want to use...

...would offend the delicate shell-likes of Ms Moderatrix.

I'd rather risk a bomb than be a fascist.

I'd rather risk a bomb than live in a police state.

Ignorant and heavy handed police like this just create more problems than their tiny and bullying minds could possibly solve.

Not only should he press charges for theft, he should press charges for assault.

That said, if a pig can beat a woman holding a carton of juice on camera and walk away from court, I think he's got no chance.

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Re: Which concerns me more

Yep - "B", obviously.

I have a 9 in 10 chance of being stopped by police for taking a photograph, then being rummaged through, and my cell stolen... sorry "confiscated". Especially if its a nice one. And, as nearly all cell phones have cameras in them anyway, you still don't seem to understand the carte blanche attitude that has been levied against the public.

By the odds, if I win the lottery in England, Spain and France, and am then hit by lightning (twice, mind), then I might worry that I might be "blown up" by a terrorist.

Why am I not so worried about them? Well, the government can't get any of their other contractors to follow through with anything properly...

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Agreed

To be frank the odds of a terrorist attack are so small that I'd personally be willing to brave them in exchange for some civil liberties

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WTF?

Re: Re: Please run a poll

Funny, that's the exact opposite of how I read it. Maybe your internal dictionary is lacking a definition for the word 'irony'?

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Anonymous Coward

My 2 penneth.

I fear the police everywhere, not just our Met or City of London fascist bullyboys. The police have an uncanny knack of making decent law abiding citizens feel like they are scum of the earth, while at the same time allowing the actual scum of the earth to get away with blue murder due to their incredibly lax attitude to actually following the rules.

I also fear the taliban, al qaeda and other associate terror cells because i read the daily mail.

Infact, thinking about it, i am never leaving the house again.

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FAIL

(b)

Throughout the 80s and 90s when the (rather more competent) IRA were blowing people up on a regular basis, the chances of you getting blown up were vanishingly small. Now, the chances of you getting blown up in London are orders of magnitude lower than the chances of you getting run over, or having a drunken injury on the Tube (in the last 10 years at least 50 times more people have had drunken injuries on public transport in London than have been blown up).

The chances of me being stopped and screwed around by over-zealous police because I'm enjoying some photography is actually very high, so this concerns me far more than being blown up.

Finally, and this one is really important so listen carefully. Can someone, please, point out to me the link between photographers and terrorists. As far as I am aware (and I was in the military for 8 years, searching under my car every day for an IRA bomb), there has never been a case reported anywhere in the world in which a terrorist attack has been linked to an earlier recce by a photographer with a big SLR (that would nicely show up on CCTV if you went looking). I can't even remember any cases where someone went out with a point and shoot prior to a terrorist attack. I can remember an SLR being used to photograph the front of a bank in the film, "The Bank Job", and perhaps this is the link the police are using. If you are going to stop photographers because they might be performing recce for a forthcoming explosion, you should also stop everyone who uses the tube, since the 7 Jul bombers (iirc) did do a recce that involved travelling along the tube lines they were going to bomb a short while before 7 Jul.

If the police can come up with a decent link between photographers and terrorists. One which will withstand some basic scrutiny. Then we can start to take them seriously. At the moment, they are just being pocket stasi, abusing the excessive power that the last government decided to foolishly give them to combat a terror threat that has never been as serious as the IRA.

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FAIL

Does that include

getting shot on the tube??

I am much more concerned about the actions of the police than the very slim chance of being a victim of terrorism. The IRA had a good go at blowing things up which was adequately dealt with without the widespread abuse of police powers.

One has to realise that terrorist acts, deplorable though they are, are an occasional hazard, police actions and abuse can undermine the very fabric of our society.

This man should make formal complaints including theft of his phone and if necessary seek a judicial review ove rthe police actions.

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@My Alter Ego

Don't know about 'visiting' London, but I've lived here for 18 years, and I always take public transport.

-Bishopsgate truck bomb was about half a mile from my hall of residence

-South Quay truck bomb went off a couple of weeks after I'd ridden through there to visit a mate

-Was living in Whitechapel when the tube bombings happened, although I generally used the District line rather than Circle

And frankly, being blown up wasn't and isn't that much of a worry to me.

Drunken aggressive yobs who never had the slightest concern that the police would do anything to them? Those were and are regularly a concern.

Jumped-up little uniform-wearing jobsworths of various kinds, on a power trip? Were and are regularly a pain in the a**e

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Unhappy

One rule for one location...

Oddly when as a Tourist last year I was taking pictures outside Westminster with gay abandonment! The police looked at me and the dozens of other people taking pictures of this very sensitive building.

Did they challenge us - no.

So why else where?

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Megaphone

Leicester

Put the spot light on Leicester too.

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Grenade

Definite Terrorist

There is nothing in Leicester that you would want to photo for pleasure.

Therefore it must be a Taliban plot to destroy the Walker crisp factory

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FAIL

How to phrase this without sounding like a DM reader

I really hope the officers involved in this fiasco, which smacks of bullying and intimidation, get their balls nailed to the wall for this. Metaphorically speaking.

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Anonymous Coward

@Thomas

Metaphorically hell. Nail his todger to the wall I say. With rusty nails. 10 inch ones. With blunt ends. Attached to a heating coil. At 70degrees.

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Anonymous Coward

They won't....

...which is actually a major part of this problem...

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Metaphorically speaking

Some high quality ass covering there!!! :D

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Happy

You know

You've obviously also read about the prosecution of the "going to blow the airport up" tweeter. Best avoid making it look too much of a threat

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Big Brother

The security guard should be charged

Given that one of the security personnel had previously called the police, and knew that no offence was being committed, should the security guard not be charged with wasting police time?

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Pint

It wasn't a waste!

They got a mobile phone and some amusement out of it.

Better than doing typewriter duty.

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Anonymous Coward

He won't....

...being a mindless jobsworth is currently one of this country's highest callings...

I suspect they have a factory somewhere that clones them.

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Joke

Thank god

they stopped him in time. No way to know how much damage that bastard could have caused had he been allowed to run wild with a camera AND a mobile phone. Good job by the police. Thanks to them at least I can feel safe. Over here in Denmark.

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Badgers

She then went on to ask...

Are you Happy?

Failure to be Happy is punishable by summary execution, arent you a happy little citizen?

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Big Brother

Abusing the extent of law

Imagine all the niceties coming our way with the introduction of the new Digital Economy bill...

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FAIL

Unlawful force

If the removal of the phone had no legal basis then any force used was unlawful.

If you could prove theft then the use of force made it robbery.

Don't forget to ask for a copy of the search record that will (should) include the numbers of every officer involved. This record is mandatory even for a S44 search.

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and then

sue (in the civil court) the bastards personally together with whoever is the boss of the City police. A criminal complaint of theft would likely go nowhere because they would be investigating themselves.

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Just plain wrong

Harassing innocent tax paying citizens like this is a clear abuse of power. Welcome back to 1984!

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it's worse than 1984

in 1984 they were just watching .....

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As someone who has actually read it

1984 contained a number of beatings, interrogations and torture. Big Brother didn't just watch, he took action too.

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Flame

Oh god!

Not another tired old refernce to 1984! I was wondering how long it would take someone to trot that one out. Change the bloody record will you? Sheesh!

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"Do it to Julia!"

Perhaps we should bring back the head-cage with the rats, especially for these trumped up nutters!

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FAIL

Aye, and don't forget the flames

May as well spur the little buggers into action while you're at it.

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haha

oh dear... I'm showing my ignorance, sorry!

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this tells you all you need to know

. . . about why we need a new government - though it's looking increasingly likely that we will get the same bunch of megalomaniacs back

at least WJ won't be one of them so be thankful for small mercies (well at least until she gets a peerage)

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Anonymous Coward

...at least WJ won't be one of them...

We thought that about Mandelson. Several times...

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Unhappy

please don't

I just had to go for rest in a darkened room after that

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Stop

Can U Say Police State

More proof that the police are getting out of hand any using any excuse to throw their weight around doing the biddin gof their political masters.

I say press charges for the theft of the mobile.

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Unhappy

Stolen property

Is there a procedure for getting back items the police take from you? I'd be furious if one stole my phone.

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Flame

Grant Smith again

Surely this constitutes harassment: is Mr Smith not entitled to perform his job?

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Stop

Spreading

This is getting beyond control, now overzealous shop staff and managers are getting all upset and threatening police involvement for taking photographs in public places... http://gareth.halfacree.co.uk/2010/04/the-photos-they-tried-to-ban

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Unhappy

I'm normally one to speak up in defence of the police and our justice system,

afterall, it's a difficult job that wont always be gotten right. Then I read a story like this one, hot on the heels of the poor sod who got his life ruined over threatening tweet. Ugh.

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FAIL

It IS a difficult and dangerous job

That's why some of them prefer to harrass innocent bystanders instead of putting themselves in harm's way (or even rational thought's way) by fighting actual crime. After all, they're a lot safer fighting against a camera and a phone than a knife or a gun.

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Black Helicopters

Progressive Alliance

All these laws introduced under Labour - one of the self-styled members of the 'Progressive Alliance'.

Where are we all progressing too? A police state it would seem.

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Anonymous Coward

Lost opportunity...

The photographer should have phoned the police to say there was a violent crime in progress. He'd have had plenty of time to walk away during the ensuing wait...

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Stop

Sadly, the reputation of the police in this country is tarnished by the actions of the few.

Although it is difficult to comment without knowing all the facts here, it looks like a clear case of abuse of power by a small number of officers.

The correct action should be to suspend, and investigate those officers, and if anything untoward is discovered in the ensuing investigation, to sack them. Unfortunately, this is not how it seems to work in this country. The most likely course of events would be for no disciplinary action to be taken at all against the officers concerned. Second most likely is that the press whips up enough fuss that an investigation occurs, and the aforementioned PCs get a slap on the wrist.

Thich is why the police in this country have a poor reputation. They only have themselves to blame in this respect. Nobody should be above the law, particularly those positioned to be able to abuse the rules.

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Crikey, Penfold

Sounds like they were enjoying themselves from the sound of this.

I recently had a visit from 2 well-mannered GMP officers, accompanied by an arrest warrant served by the met. Who are 200 miles away. For a suspect with a different middle name to mine. And a different birthday. And a different physical description. etc etc. They were polite and showed some common sense when confronted with the fact that I clearly wasn't the wanted man, but I'm not sure that the same could be said for their Met counterparts.

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Had no such problems in Instanbul recently....

where I shot quite a few 360' panoramics in and around the streets and historic locations. Nobody gave a toss about this shady behaviour, even when I was standing in the middle of some really quite busy roads.

Hell I even took a picture of a (muslim) ablution fountain where a little girl happened to be sitting on one edge. - No parents hysterically calling me a paedo or a riot van of plod pulling up to arrest me.

I don't think I'd ever take the risk of shooting 360's in London as the tripod kit doesn't look like normal photo stuff and must therefore be some terror weapon :-(

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Grenade

Terrorists

They aren't stupid. When are the security of our country going to realise that they will know of S.44 and send out families to take photos. So would the police suspect EVERY tourist to the city? Would they stop and search them all? Didn't think so. Do you think a terrorist would argue with a security guard or do you think they would just come back at a later time?

Logic. These forces have none.

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Grenade

City Coppers

Just a bunch of met wannabes.

If they have taken something and not properly logged it they are open to all kinds of legal issues - not to mention it calls into question their handling of evidence in every other case.

The City of London Police is a comical force at the best of times but really needs to be held under the spotlight (and waterboarded to a man) here.

Please, El Reg, do not let up on this. You have the choice of simply reporting the news as it hits elsewhere or trying to follow a story through to its conclusion. I know what I would rather see.

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Big Brother

City cops ain't the Met

Hmm, City of London Police behaving as usual.

They seem to reckon they are above all other police in the U.K. and don't need to abide by the same advice or rules.

It has to be remembered that the City of London - the tiny bit with the Bank in it - has it's own rules and regulations - and the City of London police are controlled more by them than anyone else.

"Move along on now, nothing to see. We're just doing our job.

No, if you try and quote the law at us we'll nick you for conspiracy to aid a potential terrorist."

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