back to article Court slaps down coppers in photography case

The Met Police were making a spectacle of themselves again last week both in front of the camera and behind it. That, at least, appears to be the conclusion to be drawn from one unfortunate incident and one court ruling. According to a news report by the NUJ London Photographers' Branch, Carmen Valino, a journalist on …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It seems that the mets' approach is nobody can film or photograph us, but we can film or photograph whoever we want. They really haven't moved on since the sixties have they?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Just as a historical aside... mum was a junior solicitor (if that's the right word) at the Crown Prosecution Service in the late 1970s. According to her, it was bloody impossible to get a conviction against people accused of armed robbery at that time even if they'd been arrested in front of a bank with shotguns in front of witnesses and signed a confession saying "it's a fair cop, guv".

      Why? Because public confidence in the police was so low at that time that no jury would believe anything that any Flying Squad officer had told the court when they were on the stand.

      She left the CPS to do something more useful to society: high society divorces...

      1. Guy Herbert

        Re: Just as a historical aside...

        While it might be true that no-one would believe a word Flying Squad officers said in court in the 70s, the source is a bit dubious, since the Crown Prosecution Service didn't start operating till 1986.

  2. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Meh, titles.

    ""We suggested that in a week when issues of how the police interact with the public were particularly sensitive - following the decision not to prosecute Ian Tomlinson last week,""

    Apparently it's hard to get convictions for "Dieing and Inconveniencing an Officer Of The Law" these days, who knew.

  3. blackworx


    I know it's a tired cliché, but when there really is no shortage of properly nasty individuals, why do we constantly hear of law abiding people being intimidated and pushed around by these lot?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Wommit

      Re : FFS

      Because, generally, law abiding citizens do not kick the sh!t out of the plod whereas, again generally, non-law abiding citizens do.

      ESC - Because that's what they're trying to do.

      1. Xerxes

        RE: Properly nasty individuals

        omg, I just flashed on A Clockwork Orange at that statement... the future has finally caught up with us!

    3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge


      A) really nasty people are harder to find than law abiding citizens

      B) really nasty people usual make complaints and that raises too much paperwork.

    4. BoldMan
      Thumb Down

      Because its easier...

      Because its easier to give grief for normal people that to make an effort to catch the criminals. Don't forget, the tickbox targets approach to policing still hasn't been revoked by the new gov'm't, so they can use these arrests in place of actually trying to catch proper criminals to hit their targets.

      1. Tharrick


        Actually, they have..

        You'll find, however, that a large number of police forces across the country have flat-out refused to obey this order from the Home Office, and are carrying on doing their own thing.

    5. frank ly Silver badge

      re. FFS - Why..

      Because law abiding people provide low-risk push around fun.

    6. Brian Morrison
      Thumb Down


      ....because it takes a lot less effort to do that sort of thing than it does to go and find real criminals.

    7. Captain TickTock
      Big Brother

      Because it's easier...

      "I know it's a tired cliché, but when there really is no shortage of properly nasty individuals, why do we constantly hear of law abiding people being intimidated and pushed around by these lot?"

    8. Apocalypse Later

      It's obvious

      Many of the "properly nasty individuals" become policemen.

    9. James 139


      Thats easy, proper criminals are harder to catch and may use "extreme" violence against the plod, law abiding people are generally easier to harass and pose a lot less risk.

      Its all about the numbers.

    10. Mark 65 Silver badge


      It's because the properly nasty people all wear uniforms and badges and are these lot. Eek-gads man, investigating crimes is far too difficult so you need privacy destroying information trawling privileges and DNA databases so the culprits simply have to hand themselves in.

      I often wonder whether Sherlock Holmes could ever have been dreamed up in the modern day. It'd be a bloody imaginative author to come up with the concept of serving and protecting the public, investigating crimes and hunting down criminals using intelligence (not the kind taken with a camera at a rally).

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Because the "properly nasty individuals" are all now employed at the Met?

  4. Joe K

    Shitting hell

    Just what the flying fuck is going on?

    Its like a war, or something.

  5. Gulfie
    Thumb Up


    Somebody is prepared to point out that the king isn't wearing any clothes. Somebody who occupies a neutral position of authority. Next step is to make covering up or removing shoulder ID when working an 'instant sacking' offence and perhaps the police will go back to serving the interests of the people rather than the state.

  6. myhandle
    Thumb Down

    President of the ACPO

    I watched the Andrew Maar show in the weekend and they had the president of the ACPO on there. And the main points he wanted to make amounted to "Think of the childre, CHEOP is great" and he wanted the police on the street to be about to make up their own minds even more and rest assured that they would back him if he happened to make a mistake. I couldn't beleive my ears, he's not learnt a thing about the change on Government.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bar-code shoulder slides may be a good idea

      The numbers on the slides are visible from a small range of angles, which may be obscured in situations where it wuold be desirable to know which officer is in the picture.

      The range of numbers is small, and a bar code woven into the fabric by a Jacquard process, or printed on or constructed with reflective tape or %_technical_means that wrapped around the whole slide would be readable wherever the edges of the slides could be distinguished.

      Why no lightbulb icon?

  7. TkH11


    We need more court cases where the judge slaps the police down.

    That journalist and her newspaper should commence litigation against the police for deleting the photos on her camera: they're not allowed to do that.

    It's about time the Police were put in their place and made to realise their job is to enforce the law, to comply with the law, not to do as they see fit.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      VFAT + undelete

      Undelete the pictures.

      It's theft if they take the camera/card from you isn't it?

      1. Tharrick


        ..and criminal damage if they delete any pictures as well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's at least malicious damage if they delete them

        Either way, time to prosecute them.

        The only way these bad coppers are going to learn is when it costs them jail time. So far, all we've seen is fines (paid by the taxpayer to the taxpayer) and compensation (paid by the taxpayer).

        Until the 'bad eggs' responsible for these flagrant breaches of the public trust are held individually and personally responsible, they will continue to destroy the excellent reputation our police force used to have, one incident at a time.

        Which is a terrible shame, because the vast majority of policemen and policewomen are brave people doing a difficult job.

        It's a shame that these good people still appear to feel the need to cover up for the illegal, violent and frankly vicious behaviour of a minority of their colleagues, which is bringing the entire Force into disrepute and making their job so much more difficult than it should be.

        If that continues, it won't be long before juries won't convict on the basis of police evidence, witnesses won't come forward, and riots will become more commonplace and more violent.

        My message to the good coppers - shop the bad ones. It will make your job easier and the streets a *lot* safer.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It's not so much the Police that worry me in this case...

    ...but the CPS.

    "In court, the prosecution argued that anyone regularly attending or organising protests should expect to be of the interest to the state."

    That has to be one of the most chilling things I have ever heard from a Government official. I imagine it's always gone on (albeit sometimes illegally), but the dropping of the *pretence* that it never happens is just frightening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      your right

      The CPS are by far the ones to fear, they are a law unto themselves.

      Anonymous as I had 2 years of shit from them and 8 years from the plod.

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    Handy tip for the Met.

    " much or as little right as anyone else to be taking pictures, and therefore no right to complain when they were obstructed."

    Now that's been cleared up, next time you get the hump with someone taking pics of you at work, just get two of the lads to stand in front of 'em with a banner reading: "Get stuffed!". That way nobody gets hurt and everyone's happy.

  10. DrStrangeLug

    Paging Mr Bin London....

    Of course, all this goes out the window in an emergency or terrorist attack, when the plod become heroes again.

    Whats the betting something will "slip" through net soon ...?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stay at home then?

    Curiously, one of the three wasn't arrested outside the Pullen Centre, but much later in Parliament Square, when he went to to collect his bike after the Bush demonstration.

    It was suggested to one witness at the appeal, that if he didn't want to be photographed, perhaps he should stay at home instead of attending events likely to be photographed.

    It was also suggested that everyone was potentially a troublemaker, until the police knew they weren't.

    It seems that photographing people attending a meeting is either intimidation, or trying to say meeting + trouble = conspiracy. This particular meeting had nothing to do with the demonstration later that day.

    One police officer at another event earlier in the year, said not to photograph him as he "had sensitive eyes" (using flash)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Yet again...

    ...the police clearly demonstrate that they have no respect for the law nor for the populace, and they also clearly consider themselves to be above the law.

    When are we, the people, going to make it clear that they police WITH OUR CONSENT, and unless they buck their ideas up, more and more are going to continue to withdraw that consent.

    Anon, obviously, 'cos I don't want Plod and his thugs bashing my door down at 2am for daring to disagree...

  13. James 47


    These types of articles fill me with rage. Absolute rage.

    1. bsop

      Policing with Consent...?

      DISCLAIMER - I am not involved with any police force nor am I related to anyone working with the police in any capacity. With that out of the way...

      Mr Anonymous - I see your point, unbalanced though it is. The police department need to practice what they preach and uphold the law and freedoms they say they defend. They need to work within the law and when they do not this starts looking really badly on them. Of course, that is why we have the Courts and have seen it desirable to balance the power in this democracy between all three pillars of government.

      However... this "police with consent" bit. I do not remember passing through Customs when immigrating to this fine land and signing a form giving The Met permission to police. They are there to enforce the law as passed by Parliament. And, I assure you, if the police department failed in that obligation or crumbled into ineffectiveness, an equally “badly behaved” and/or “poorly managed” equivalent organisation would crop up.

      Why? Because people like to be protected, to get things done and to see progress over time. All of this required order. Order requires rules. Rules require enforcement. No enforcement equals anarchy. Anarchy is not clever.

      So the enforcement must stay, whether it is deemed good or bad, effective or ineffective, liked or disliked. And when individuals within the police get it wrong, we hold them to account – as the Courts have done. This is significantly different than “withdrawing consent” to one of the pillars that support democracy.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Actually, I think you misunderstood - Policing with consent as in there are a hell of a lot more public than police officers - And the law is only useful so long as a large percentage of the population agrees to abide by it.

        If everyone who isn't a police officer decided to get up tomorrow and do something illegal, the police would have no hope whatsoever of stopping even a tiny fraction of the crimes

        Thus we are policed by our own consent - Not of the individual but of the country as a whole.

        What worries me is that it feels like an ever-increasing portion of the public has come to distrust and/or fear the police - usually through witnessing/hearing about their abuse of power.

        What we have to avoid is reaching a tipping point where there is NOT general consent for policing. Personally, I think this would be a lot easier to avoid if the police saw their role differently - Personally, I don't care about quotas and paperwork, I want them to catch serious criminals starting with the most violent crimes first, rather than manufacturing some weak excuses to get the arrests/stats they need.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Yes, policing by consent

        Police with consent - yes, that is exactly what the position is.

        Let me give you a simple (extreme, but that's to make it simple) example to illustrate.

        suppose all 60 million inhabitants of the UK decided, en masse, one day that they'd had enough to the police continuing to flout the law with impunity and decided to ignore the police and the courts completely.

        How, exactly, do you think the police woudl control all 60 million of us?

        Simple answer - they woudl not have a hop in hell.

        The only reason they CAN is because of the consent of society as a whole to abide by the rules and to allow the police to police us.

        The police occasionally talk of no-go areas in some cities - no-go purely because there are enough elements in those areas who do not "consent" to the rule of law and the authority of the police. Consent withdrawn, no policing can take effect.

        Now, I suspect the vast majority currently support the police, but as the police continue to flout and break the law, and get off with it time after time after time (see de Menezes, Tomlinson, countless bully-police unlawfully impeding photographers, etc etc, all without repercussions in law), support for the bullies, sorry, police is going to wane.

        Yes, the police are supposed to uphold the law and be the guardians of the law - that only works if they show they do not regularly consider themselves to be above those same laws. In that, they are currently lacking.

      3. Paul RND*1000

        It's implicit consent

        If the law-abiding public generally cooperates with plod, plod can do his/her job effectively, i.e. they are able to police. The public are consenting to their doing so.

        If the public don't trust the cops, they won't cooperate and may even actively resist policing efforts. Implicit non-consent, making PC Plod's job difficult if not impossible. Hard to investigate a crime when the general public won't tell you anything and the less civil members of society are lobbing half-bricks at your head just for being in the area.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Seems to me the best course of action might have been for the photographer to refuse to delete the images, get themselves arrested for it, come quietly down to the station, then - very publicly - sue for wrongful arrest while making the point that in times of austerity and the search for financial efficiency 'compensation' is a very dirty word which the police would do well to remember when 'interpreting' the law.

    1. Andy Taylor

      No right to delete

      Images are one of 2 things, either they have been lawfully created and no offence has been commited, or they are unlawful and constitute evidence. If lawful then the police (or anyone else other than the owner of the images) have no right to delete them and if unlawful the police have a duty to preserve them as evidence of an offence.

      Remember also that there is plenty of software available to recover deleted images from memory cards.

      1. stizzleswick

        Re: Remember also that there is plenty of software (...)

        Depends on how they go about it. Using certain software (freely available online from Seagate, though originating with Maxtor), you actually can obliviate data to the point that not even companies specialised in restoring overwritten data can restore it.

        Given the completely amateurish way the London Mets are going about their job, though, I doubt anybody there is even aware that such software exists.

        Plus, given my current portfolio, if this were to happen to me, I would have to sue the officers in charge for about 80 lb per hour for the time I need to re-create the shots they deleted, plus set-up costs.

        1. Wommit


          "I would have to sue the officers in charge for about 80 lb per hour for the time I need to re-create the shots they deleted, plus set-up costs."

          80lb eh, you're into seriously heavy weight photography then.

      2. John Sturdy
        Gates Halo

        So there is a use for FAT filesystems

        The only useful argument for using FAT filesystems is ease of undeletion.

        "Angel Bill" for once.

  15. Sooty


    A quick trip home to run some of the recovery software that comes with high end camera memory cards will have those 'deleted' pictures back in a jiffy.

  16. JMB

    Met Police

    Whenever anyone talks of "police state" it is quickly put down by many but the Metropolitan Police do seem to be a law unto themselves and pay little attention to what the real law is or what the courts and government tell them to do.

    It is about time that someone in authority makes an attempt to take control again and make the Metropolitan Police stick to the law and rules.

  17. JaitcH

    Plod thought process: ´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·

    In the Army they called this sort of activity, going against orders, Dumb Insolence.

    Photographers should either use cell cameras or regular cameras which transmit their pictures to a nearby colleague by Bluetooth.

    It's strange how camera shy the police are all over the world, the local Plod here in VietNam having pulled me over to collect their rent donation suddenly get excited when they observe my helmet cam and usually order me to leave immediately!

    P.S. The woman should have gone for the handcuffs as the offending officer would have one hell of a lot of paperwork to complete!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another sign...

    of the Labour Govt Police State in action. Perhaps sometime soon the Tories will take heed and stop the police abuses, but dont hold your breath.

    1. Mike Smith

      The Tories

      Very true, but to be fair the new Government has had less than thirteen weeks to undo thirteen years' worth of State abuse by Labour. There are still plenty of Stalinist fuckpigs out there in positions of power, and even when they've been put out to grass, it;ll take a while for the change in attitude to filter down the ranks.

      Every time I read an article like this, it makes me a little more tempted to move to somewhere like Tristan da Cunha.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    #Two Little Boys in blue#

    Cops haven't changed much since... ever. Still I'm sure Gene Hunt's nemesis --- Jimbo --- has infinite space in his basement for those that deserve.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Deleted the pictures?

    How dumb was that policeman. All this hassle and it just takes seconds to recover them anyway.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Where are the Lawyers?

    I can't wait for the advert by Law firms asking if you have be harassed or assaulted by police. Call this number for a no win, no fee deal. The clock is ticking.


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