@Chris Pearson & others
" I can't see many people refusing"
You really think so? I'd be willing to bet the majority of the commenters on these last 3 articles would do exactly that out of a sense of mistrust of the police/state/world or just bloody mindedness.
The PACE amendment idea isn't a good one, and isn't needed.
First lets look at what happens to the images we're taking about.
Your (insert media type here) contains (or reasonably MIGHT contain) evidence of an offence. The police need evidence to do their job, I think most people can agree with that at least.
If you're a professional camera man for a national media organisation it's going to be fairly likely that you'll keep the footage and you or it can be found by making enquiries to your employer. So thats what the police do. All the time. Without issue. But if you are an individual, affiliated with a blog/online mag/small newspaper that ability to follow up is less certain. In either case there is the issue of continuity and integrity of the images as someone already mentioned.
So in order to reduce the risk of evidence being lost altered damaged or destroyed the police need it there and then
They can, and should, ask you for it. Variable degrees of politeness involved but be that as it may you could volunteer to provide the (media type) and get the name/number of the officer. Job done, thanks very much.
Of you could refuse, for whatever reasons seem good to you.
This presents the police with a problem as they still need the evidence.
So they have the power to seize it, there and then. Because its not possible to wait for a warrant, which would certainly be granted in the circumstances outlined already, as in the intervening time the evidence could be lost, deliberately or accidentally. You should still get the officers name or number to follow it up.
Here's what happens next: The entire contents from the media are copied intact onto a write once disk. Actually onto 2. This is done by a person who knows what they're doing. One disk is sealed and marked as an exhibit. It is never opened unless ordered by a judge. The second is used for viewing and for making further sub copies if required. The person making these disks then writes a statement to the effect of "I know what I'm doing and I made this copy which contains everything that was on the media."
At that point the media can be returned to you.
How long that takes depends on the circumstances but I seriously doubt its the only media you have and your life will end without it.
Theress nothing strange, unusual, dodgy or "new" about this process and its what happens every time cctv footage from a shop/pub/garage forecourt is used by police as evidence.
What Mz Ozimek is doing is linking this normal procedure with the more odious, seemingly persistent and patently wrong practice of police trying to prevent people taking pictures when they have no right or power to do so.
But this story isn't about that and shouldn't be linked to that. In my opinion.
Its interesting to note that if you're confrontational, difficult and uncooperative from the outset with police they may judge that there's no point in asking as you'd indignantly say no so they just go to option B.
It should be obvious that how the police treat you might be affected by how you treat them but there's a strange mentality round here that you should be able to be as abusive as you like and the police are obliged to wipe your spit off their face and call you "sir".