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back to article Sussex police try new tactic to relieve snappers of pics

The problem of police decision-making on who is permitted to take photographs of what is highlighted again in a disturbing incident at the weekend, where film was seized at an anti-fascist protest in Brighton. According to a statement by Sussex Police: "Under Section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act [1984], an officer …

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Boffin

All the more reason

To have an Eye-Fi flash card in the camera and have it configured to access any open network it comes across and upload on the fly the image/video files to Picasa or one of the other image/video storage sites.

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Anonymous Coward

This is going to keep happening

Until someone with the resources to bring a judicial review puts them in their place.

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Anonymous Coward

This isn't a one off

The police have been doing this for years!

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Anonymous Coward

Simple technical solution ...

would be to duplicate the pictures taken at the time. If taken on a camera phone, have a script which uploads them to remote storage on the Internet. If not then a connected PDA might be able to copy off the files over USB as they are generated perhaps?

There would be no cause to have both copies under this act.

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Coat

What?

And trust Plod with technology??

That'll end well!

(in all seriousness though - good idea. Simple solutions for a complex world!)

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Grenade

AC; yes good idea, how much will that cost for the causual observer?

I bet you are a popular sales person for the mobile company's trying to pimp data at an extortionate rate.

The best solution is for them to just stop doing this. I noticed in the article it does not say how long they plan to hold the 'evidence' before release (or duplication).

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Too true (@BenR)

Recently a member of our staff had her purse nicked. Said member was able to get CCTV footage from the petrol station, yet the police were unable to use it because it wasn't in a format that they recognised.

All it took was the download of a trial edition of the software the cctv system used (identified by googling the file extension) and lo and behold I had the footage within an hour.

Oddly enough they didn't catch the guy =P

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Anonymous Coward

Any Wifi/3G-enabled camera/corders out there?

Ones that can automatically upload pictures or videos to a server as soon as they are taken?

If not then there's a market for them.

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Not as far as I know,

but there are SD cards that look around for open wifi points and upload as soon as they find one.

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There's a memory card for that.

http://uk.eye.fi/

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Eye-Fi

Thanks for that Chris... That might come in useful.

:-)

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Silver badge

Wifi/3G

Pro SLRs are normally WiFi enabled - inbuilt or addon - so I guess that means journalists are covered.

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Also

A lot of pro SLRs can also take two cards and write an image to both cards at the same time, so only one card would need to be given up in any case.

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Big Brother

next

The next tactic will be "have you got a receipt for that camera - I'll need to confiscate it to check it hasn't been stolen".

You can collect it in 3 months time from John O'Groats police station".

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Silver badge

Isn't it lucky ...

... that they didn't do this with the video of the assault on Ian Tomlinson.

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Correct

...because if they had confiscated the video we might never have been able to succesffuly prosecute the thuggish police man who assaulted an innocent man.

Oh wait, even with proof the C(rap) P(iece) S(hit) can't prosecute.

Gotta love fascism, no other choice really.

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Anonymous Coward

CPS

Criminal Protection Service.

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ITYM

Coppers' Protection Service...

:-(

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Big Brother

coppers. criminals

there's a difference?

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re there's a difference?

Having lived on a council estate in inner city manchester for 10 years I can tell you that yes, yes there is a difference. One are a group of drug dealing, murdering, alcholic, braying, anti social, anti education, nilhistinc bunch of theievy pikey scum, the other are a bunch of helpful, curteous and caring people. Alright, there is a gripe here with the police, but to dismiss all policemen as criminals is almost as morinic as my heroin dealing next door neighbour. Almost.

I sincerely hope you come to realise the idiocy of your statement in your own time, without having it focibly altered by circumstance.

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I lived on a Council Estate (in Glasgow, for what it's worth) for 20 years

And never once was I assaulted by anyone other than the police.

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Joke

@coppers. criminals

Yeah, coppers are salaried, criminals work on commission.

(I was going to say that coppers have uniforms, but the rogues local to me all wear shell suits and baseball caps, so they're effectively in a uniform too.)

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I was under the impression...

I was under the impression that S19 only applied if they reasonably believed the evidence would be lost if they failed to seize it. As such, a reasonable promise to deliver a copy of the evidence to the station should suffice rather than the seizure of the film.

Feels like the police-on-the-ground are actively resisting having their control of photography being eroded.

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Not worried

No, I rather think that, had I been assaulted, I would want the police to seize video evidence of the act taking place. The swift and accurate prosecution of a physical assault outranks the need for a journalist to get the video on youtube quickly, in my view. If he gets it back unaltered once the police have viewed it, I don't really see the problem.

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Headmaster

@Alex King: "had I been assaulted, I would want the police to seize video evidence"

So what would you do if you were treated badly or even assaulted by the police?

Whilst most police try to do a good job, often in difficult circumstances, no one can deny that some police do not follow every rule and some even break the law very badly (as the news yesterday showed about that assault case jailed officer, who throw the woman to the floor in the jail cell).

All Police have to follow strict rules of conduct, yet some bad elements think their police powers comes from their uniforms and not the law and so they act like they are the law; that their words are law and you cannot tell them no, even if you are totally right and totally within your rights to speak against what they say. (Don't forget people with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder are attracted to jobs that give them power over people, yet that kind of person is the wrong kind of person to be in the police because they are so unfairly Narcissistic). Cameras have the power to undercover these bad officers. Its no wonder then that some police are going after cameras and don't like to be filmed. If anything they need to be filmed far more often and in situations where they cannot get access to the film to destroy evidence of their own wrong doing.

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Bronze badge

Psychometric testing

That is why psychometric testing is now used in recruiting for sensitive work but. However, there is a clear burden on the police to provide facilities at such protest meetings that enable them to download appropriate copies of material supposedly containing evidence. There is no longer any need to confiscate (temporarily steal) someone's property as a tiny portable machine with large storage capacity will do the job. The problem of them attempting to nab unrelated personal filming remains.

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Alert

Re: Psychometric testing

"That is why psychometric testing is now used in recruiting for sensitive work"

Shame it doesn't work.

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FAIL

Wrong

and you're talking to someone trained in the psychology professions, someone who'd like to see you adduce evidence in support of your claim. Otherwise this is just verbiage. Before your respond, remember that the onus is always on the claimant. Now get to it.

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If he gets it back unaltered once the police have viewed it

Can I just say

AHAHAHAHHHHAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA.

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Silver badge
Alert

Burden of proof is on you

Notwithstanding that the burden of proof is upon *you* as the one making the extraordinary claim (not working is the default position), you must surely be able to see that it's trivial to give the answers that you think the questioner wants as opposed to telling the truth.

I saw an article on how to beat psychometric testing in an edition of 2600 (may have been Autumn, 1993) which I no longer have, and thought it was old hat then.

This is not just snake oil. This is M&S™ cold pressed, extra virgin snake oil.

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FAIL

Burden

I have not yet claimed that they work, have I? However, there is good evidence in support of the robustness of tests for psychopathy for a start (take a look on the data for the MMPI also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Multiphasic_Personality_Inventory ). However, and I put the point again, since you make a claim the onus is on you to produce proof in support of your claims. Here, outside of the fora where data are chewed over - particularly in peer reviewed journals, in laboratory replications and other tests - you are just an individual making claims with nothing to support them.

FWIW all human science is, like the hard sciences, a matter of probability. There are always outliers at each end of the distribution, and that means there will be both false positives and false negatives. People guilty of scientism are prone to claiming that a single exception is proof of failure. Were this naive falsificationism (a la Popper) a valid position then much of modern science would have been rejected.

So much of modern science is in fact serendipitous, but that is for another day. Where are your data? It needs to be better than remarks like "I read a book once, it was blue". Your mark for your 'essay is 1/10 for effort only. HTH.

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Burden

One more point missed in my response; there is *no* default position, never mind that something is not working. There must have been something about null hypothesis testing that you didn't understand when you generated that view; the correct view is one of not adopting preconceptions. Anything else constitutes ascertainment/recruitment bias, a substantial cause of false convictions and mistrials, to say nothing of the matter of false allegations and, here I am again, on topic and pointing out that Salem is not merely a word. YMLT read about it. It is very instructive, both methodologically and from the perspective of the current debate, from which you seem to have slid.

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Badgers

<face/palm>

Someone alleges a crime so plod casts about for cameras for evidence. For some reason they ignore every mobile phone (most of which can take pics and video) and opt for the camera that I suspect might just have been pointing at them. Suspicious? Moi?

Strange that when people offer their cctv footage to police as evidence of their car or house being vandalised, the police rarely seem to interested in viewing it or taking it seriously. And by strange I obviously mean "bloody predictable".

Badgers? Well it's black 'n' white sarge, yer actual prima facie evidence 'n' stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Destruction of evidence

"Sussex police clearly think that Section 19 entitles them to remove film and footage from people where they suspect they have evidence of a crime and they can say that they have reason to believe the person may destroy that evidence."

...and alternatively, where the Police believe one or more of their colleagues may have been filmed or photographed in commission of one or more crimes and the Police wish to ensure that any evidence is destroyed before it gets to the press or the Internet.

This may spark some interest in having cameras synced with online storage services to ensure such accidents don't happen.

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Boffin

ACPO Media Guidelines

Chief Constable Andy Trotter, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ media advisory group, told forces in a letter:

"...Once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order."

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=45956&c=1

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Ooops!

"Sorry, your image/video appears to have been 'accidentally' lost/erased/deleted. We apologise for your inconvenience/loss."

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No, it's true

I have talked to a Hastings policeman who is quite sure that he has the right to confiscate cameras if he believes they contain evidence.

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Anonymous Coward

Anon because they may be watching !

Such is life. They were bound to use other excuses after the original acpo "guidance".

Bet they wish that charge room cctv was as easily sorted !

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Unhappy

It is tempting to suspect

... that the true intent is to check whether the footage contains anything that incriminates the police, in which case that footage will be conveniently and "accidentally" lost or destroyed.

If the police believe somebody has evidence, then it might be reasonable to expect them to provide a certified COPY of it and it might even be reasonable to require the original to be handed to a mutually agreed third party to produce the copy (at police expense, of course) but the police clearly should not at any time be allowed to have the ONLY copy of the material.

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Bronze badge

nice idea

Proffesional Digital cameras with Built in 3G synchronisation to host server :)

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Headmaster

Problem

Yer professional camera will take pictures at ~5 frames a second at over 10 megapixels. And your professional photographer will want to store in the raw and not JPEG. 3G and wifi won't cut it.

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Silver badge

Not as much of a problem

Journalists and paparazzi tend to use jpegs for quicker time to print. You could always wifi to a colleague with a laptop in range of wireless n if it's somewhere where you suspect your gear may get lifted - such as the policing of a G8 summit etc.

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@ AC ("Problem")

Would it not be fast enough, if supporting 802.11n to some sort of local wifi receiver in your backpack, or a nearby friend's backpack? Sure, it can still be (dubiously) confiscated, but the s19 excuse won't apply if there are now multiple copies of said image.

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Flame

Not really...

Many pros already shoot "dual": The camera makes a RAW file and also saves a lower res medium quality JPEG for thumbnail/preview/mock-up purposes. These JPEGs could be uploaded to "the cloud" as a kind of anti-tamper insurance.

Does any one know how you'd stand if you refused to relinquish the hardware because, say, you have reasonable grounds to believe the officer is technically inept, knows less than you about the equipment and may therefore damage it or the data on it?

Can they use force to physically remove the equipment from your grip? Presumably they'd have to arrest you; can they arrest you for refusing to relinquish, or relaxing your grip on, the equipment?

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Awesome

so legally the police can remove the evidence of themselves (possibly) commiting crimes with the full backing of the law?

Particularly thinking examples such as protests where 'overzealous' crowd control may be questioned

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Unhappy

Correct.

Its called perverting the course of justice.

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FAIL

Reading the blog...

Provides an interesting insight into the whole matter. First you're outraged that the photographer has had his film taken. Then you're sort of relieved that the police reply to say that it captured an assault - considering the nature of the march and the kind of thugs who usually attend them, you think its a good thing.

Then you read the post from the guy who's film was taken:

"When the footage was later taken I was told it was because I had filmed an alleged assault which occurred when a man on a disability scooter apparently drove over the foot of an officer."

A disability scooter running over a coppers foot? FFS.....

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FAIL

Bloody hell.

I missed that in the blog when I posted earlier.

My point still stands though - you need powers like this for those occasions where someone is being obstinate about turning over something they need as evidence.

Oh, and as for the suggestions about "agreeing to turn it over to a third-party at a mutually agree time and place" or whatever - the problem there is that once the item is out of the eyes/possession of the Plod, then who is to say the incriminating evidence isn't deleted before it's turned over?

The same problem applies should you end up with incriminating evidence of a copper doing wrong though - they can just delete it as soon as they get their hands on it too!

Fail - because I failed at reading the blog properly :D

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@BenR

If its so important for the cops to have the right to access your pics for evidence, issue them with media storage devices. Then they can take a copy on the spot, without all of this nonsense. Of course that would take away the ability to do what they like with the images when there's only a single copy...

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Bronze badge

You missed a bit

This bit: "As I later found out the man concerned was told at the scene that he would not be charged which makes the ostensible reason they seized my film seem slightly ridiculous."

A lie, IOW.

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