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 …

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  1. Stephen Gray
    Thumb Down

    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.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more or less

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

  3. !phil!
    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.

  4. Tom 15

    If only...

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

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too tall?

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

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  7. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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

  11. john loader

    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.

  12. John Square

    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.

  13. SuperTim
    Black Helicopters

    coppers.....you gotta love 'em

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

  14. disgruntled yank Silver 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.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  16. LuMan
    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>

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  18. Simon Harris Silver badge
    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!

  19. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    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.

  20. SynnerCal
    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)

  21. Iggle Piggle
    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'.

  22. Eponymous Cowherd
    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.

  23. Ian Rons
    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.

  24. Andy Barber

    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!

  25. mmiied

    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

  26. Professor Quatermass
    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

  27. reaper

    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

  28. Matt D 3
    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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Sounds like

    they are looking after their own.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    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?.

  31. Aleksis

    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.

  32. 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.

  33. Julian I-Do-Stuff
    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)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only thing suspicious...

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

  35. Pete 2

    @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?

  36. Jon Thompson 2
    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?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  40. Mad Mike
    Thumb Down

    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......

  41. Anonymous Coward
    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 :/

  42. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  43. John Ozimek

    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.

  44. Leigh Smith
    Coat

    @Professor Quatermass

    Suit up!

  45. Someone
    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

  46. Paul H
    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.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    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!"

  49. MnM

    If I happen to walk past someone being arrested for photography

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

  50. ZimboKraut
    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

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't be fooled.

    Prevention of terrorism, my arse.

    Kill the peado! (sic)

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    And I thought I was very non-threatning ...

    But as I too am 5' 11" and 12(+) stone then clearly I am a scary big dude with whom you do not wish to fuck.

    How exciting this is to discover. I also own a CAMERA! Bwwwwwaaaaahahahahaha!

    Are *they* ever in for a shock!

  53. alan 39
    Happy

    RE Corrupt as ever #

    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.

    But how do you stop being tall?? or do you just need to walk round on your knees??

  54. Haku
    FAIL

    Too tall? that's nothing, try going too fast on a bicycle...

    Bournemouth police have taken it upon themselves to use a radar gun on cyclists on the beach front. Go over 10mph and they'll stop you and warn you that you're speeding.

    Fucking ludicrus.

    Bicycles are not required by law to have a speedometer, so how the hell are you supposed to know when you're going faster than 10mph?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1191607/Police-waste-taxpayers-cash-stopping-speeding-cyclists-seaside-punishing-them.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1195870/Nine-police-officers-swoop-speeding-seafront-cyclist.html

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pictures in plastic

    Any chance of a Lego reenactment?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Is an Unlawful arrest, an arrestable offence?

    If an unlawful arrest is indeed an arrestable offence then I would place the Office under Citizens Arrest.

    Police are not above the law, On or Off duty, there is nothing special about them that gives them immunity from Citizens Arrest if they break the law them selves!

  57. OffBeatMammal
    FAIL

    Is this what Britain has come to?

    once the hub of a bright and proud empire, now can't get enough real police officers so has to employ place holders to swell the ranks.

    frightening list of powers and very disturbing lack of consistancy in uniform and scope, and created as a knee jerk reation rather than well thought out policy. Sounds like a recipie for disaster.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_Community_Support_Officer

    When I left the UK the Police still had a lot of respect for doing a tough job well. On my visits back in the last few years it's felt like the old place is spiralling into some third world banana republic... only without the bananas.

    Every country has the government it deserves"

    -Joseph de Maistre (1753 - 1821) Written on August 15, 1811 ... and very true today

  58. davefb

    to be (slightly) fair to the plod

    the 'update' says the police were called there because of a report of something suspicious.

    any chance we can find out where this report was from? was it a general member of the public, or was it from cctv operators ?

    in the first case 'yay for the uk public' , in the second the implication from the kent police reply is that it wasn't their fault, because they were just 'following up on a report' and thereby duck responsibilty?

    who watches the err watchmen/cctv operators? who do they report to?

    so , is it false imprisonment?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Just a thought about PCSOs

    and their forerunners.

    A classic example of the pilar of society, salt of the earth type of person that would volunteer for such a community spirited position is the ever so respectable

    John Reginald Halliday Christie

    I wish I hadn't remembered that, it's made me quite thirsty for a cup of tea.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From Reddit to el Reg

    Im really chuffed to see this story getting the publicity it deserves :D

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "Suspicious" Refusal to Give Unrequired Details?

    "When challenged by the police officer the man refused to give any personal details which it was thought was suspicious."

    "As a result, he was arrested and asked to wait in a police vehicle while his details were checked."

    So, refusing to give details he wasn't actually required to give was "thought" to be "suspicious"? So they arrested him, and took the details he wasn't required to give? They are taking the flipping mickey, aren't they? The flaw with that "logic" is so, so obvious, it's hard to express just how obvious it is. They should be done for abduction, false imprisonment, or whatever fits the bill.

    That statement they issued plainly confirms that this was an unmistakable abuse of power, and is exactly the sort of nonsense that ought to be criminalised (if it isn't already a crime). At the very least, Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas, et al, should be sacked. They clearly have contempt for us, the public, the citizens they are supposed to protect and serve, as well as for truth, justice, and the legitimate rule of law.

    They, and people like them, are very, very much a part of the problem.

  62. Catkins
    Linux

    I just knew a hobby bobby would be involved

    That update from the police is ludicrous. If you read the original blog, he was prepared to explain *why* he was taking photos, but was aware of his legal rights in that you are (mostly) not obliged to prove identity unless under arrest or being reported for an offence. Becuase identity has nothing to do with intent.

    The police statement clearly states that his refusal to identity himself was seen as suspicious enough to effect an arrest. But his behaviour was perfectly legal.

    The irony is that the bullying private security numpties who started this, the wimpy PCSO and the officers who arrested and searched him failed to indentify themselves. Which in the case of the hobby bobby and the police is actually illegal.

  63. John Taylor 1
    WTF?

    wtf

    This is getting stupid, being of a law abiding sort I normally respect police officers and all members of our justice system in general, but its incidents like this that make me reevaluate my natural inclinations of respect when they can harass photographers going about there normal business.

    Oh and I'm 6'5'' and armed with a camera phone, which even takes video...I must be on a watch list somewhere....

  64. Spot the Cat
    Flame

    Kent Police - Not Surprised

    We were staying in a pub in Chatham for the weekend a few months back. Went down to the bar at about 5.30 on a Friday afternoon and the place was crawling with plod, uniforms, dog handlers, dogs, plain clothes, WPCs outside the Ladies. and probably a SWAT team outside as well. When they all finally left, we asked the manager person what the frikkin hell was going on. "They're just checking my licence" came the answer. I can't imagine what they'd do if they had to go in to break up a fight.

    The pub is described as one of the jewels in the brewer's crown. If that's a jewel f*** knows what the rest of them must be like. OK, the pub was the Ship and Trades and the brewer is Shepherd Neame. Not going back while I've still got a pulse so don't care.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    The legal side

    Oh, and when it comes to the legal reasons for the arrest they appear to be making it up as they go along.

    The officer objected to a legal photograph being taken, claiming it constituted an "unlawful obstruction". Apart from it not being an obstruction (unless he's holding her down and taking pics in order to steal her soul), that's not a terrorism offnce.

    Now "causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway” is one of the criteria for arrest under SOCPA, which since 2005 makes all offences arrestable if certain very broad criteria apply. ie it's the change in the law which allows the police to arrest you for anything they damn well feel like and get away with it.

    However he's arrested under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which confers powers of search not arrest. That's Section 44 which allows the police to search you on a complete whim provided you are in a designated area and get away with it. Section 43 allows them to search you on a complete whim in all other areas and get away with it.

    Given they have total power to search and arrest you without consequence, you'd think they'd have the grace to screw you under the right legislation.

  66. Peter Snow

    Let's not vote labour again!

    I'll just vote UKIP next time, at least after reading their policies, I think they have common sense.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    2wo things

    Thing 1. They made him take off his shoes, this is not legal in a street search, is it?

    Thing 2. The WPC first said she was arresting him because he was "obstructing" her, then later on said it was because he was "intimidating", yet he was actually arrested under section 44. Exactly what does either being obstructive or being intimidating, have to do with section 44?

    Thing 3. Ok, 3 things. He refused to give his name at the start because the officers were unable to tell him under what authority they were asking. Turns out they were glorified dog-turd and litter monitors and they do have a right to demand people's details IF they are suspected of dropping litter or letting their dog foul the pavement. But I guess they were just feeling a bit above their stations and didn't realise what a pair of dickheads they were going to look half an hour later.

    This was a catalogue of errors by the police from start to finish; a textbook example of how not to deal with an incident like this. The only way the police could have screwed it up worse is if they'd shot him thinking his camera was a firearm.

    --

  68. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    Flash Mob!

    Why not have someone "look suspcious" in Chatham High street by taking a few photos, then, as soon as Plod starts taking exception, have another 50 photographers all grab cameras out of their bags etc and start taking pictures of the PC/ PCSO...!

  69. Dr Paul Taylor
    FAIL

    The flip side

    of this attitude of the police that Everyone is a Terrorist is they do their best to avoid doing anything at all about real, albeit low-level, crime that affects ordinary people on a day-to-day basis.

    Last year I was robbed in the street by a Gang of Four that was incompetent at basic pickpocketing. Reporting this took a hour's wait the following afternoon in an empty Police Station, where the only other two callers were persuaded to go away. The main issue for the Plod on duty was the exact location, because it was on a police district boundary, so there was a buck-passing opportunity.

    This made me so angry that I filed a complaint online. However, as they are unable to distinguish between complaints about jobsworth behaviour and being beaten up, shortly afterwards I was visited by a vanload of coppers. I explained what had happened, and suggested that this was out of proportion, and was persuaded to sign a form saying that it "could be dealt with locally".

    Hint: make use of the facility to report complaints online.

    The other week my walking boots were stolen by a scam pseudo-charity called "SCH Collections". After much persistence, I managed to report this theft online. However, when I suggested that they might look up SCH on the Police National Computer, I was told by a police officer that (and here is the IT angle), ...

    > Unfortunately a company name cannot be looked up using the Police National Computer.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    He's just lucky

    They could have clubbed him to death and would have got off free. It was self-defence, see...

  71. JMB

    You can't win

    You seem to repeatedly hear of cases where someone was not required to give his personal details but in not doing so was considered suspicious and so arrested.

  72. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Last laugh....

    So he now has a criminal record which will show up if he ever wants to go near a school or work for the council. Not prosecuted or convicted of course, but having been arrested means they wont employ him, or let him coach the football team - better to be safe, think of the children, no smoke without fire.....

    And he can't enter the US without the long process of getting a Visa, even assuming he is granted a visa - after all he is a terrorist suspect. So if he works in IT or aerospace or any high tech company he is probably going to get fired now - because he can't easily visit US customers or conferences.

    And an arrest under the terrorist act is going to put a little red star on his ID database entry, lets hope his number plate is never read anywhere near a demo.

    Become a PCSO, earn valuable prizes - ruin peoples lives.

    (not anonymous - cos I already left )

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blunkett bobbies again

    Any Police Officer who is intimidated by an unagressive 5'11" man needs to quit the force and seek therapy. I've never heard anything so pathetic.

    I suppose he should at least be grateful they didn't just taser him on the spot.

  74. Catkins
    Linux

    @Martin 6

    Well spotted that he's now got a criminal record. However the police don't even need to arrest and charge you to get one of those these days.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/5818422/Mother-who-left-children-playing-in-park-is-branded-a-criminal.html

  75. lukewarmdog
    Coat

    Uniform Up

    "How do the police prevent streetcams from seeing officers?? I'd like to see that technology."

    Me too but stretching this point a little.. CCTV could not record any of the people mentioned here because it would intimidate them - being on large poles - and probably infring their human rights - the right to arrest without fear of recrimination.

    Soo.. maybe if we all walked round in police gear we'd be technically invisible and could pull off any job we wanted. With the added bonus that the police would rally round a presumed comrade and stop anyone trying to record us breaking into the nearest LLoydsTSB and recovering the £6000 we each apparently own in them as a law abiding taxpayer.

    Seriously, keep Mark Thomas away from any surviving Pythons as the results could be as unforseen as the Spanish Inquisition.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    R E S P E C T

    "When I left the UK the Police still had a lot of respect for doing a tough job well."

    You must have left many years ago then because the Met have been nothing but a bunch of cunts for decades, and that comes from someone with direct experience of working with them. Miner's strike anyone?

  77. Martin Nicholls Silver badge
    FAIL

    Midget mafia..

    I can't wait until I'm down in London in August.. 6' 10" and 18st you better believe I'm gonna be filling my SD cards with cops, cops - nothing but cops.

    Seriously what the hell is wrong with these people. Even if you had a known terrorist taking photos of the security arrangements at Canary Wharf or Parliament or something it's highly debatable if you could reliably use that as evidence in an effort to get that person of the street long-term. So why bother random people taking photos of stuff?

    The military don't mind you taking photos of sensitive equipment, personnel and buildings up close & personal. I have some very high resolution photos of the SIS building, but if you take a few photos of the underground and they freak out.

    The underground is public property right? I'm usually a bit shy about taking photos of such spaces but there's a line and the too tall stuff has really crossed it, gone round the planet and come back again with me.

    This heightist shit is really getting on my nerves.

  78. Keith T
    FAIL

    If police want to protect the public ...

    they can start by laying charges against their criminal colleagues for assault and kidnapping.

    But that would require at least one honest police officer with the public interest foremost in his or her mind.

  79. Wize

    MIB?

    "Thing 3. Ok, 3 things. He refused to give his name at the start because the officers were unable to tell him under what authority they were asking. Turns out they were glorified dog-turd and litter monitors and they do have a right to demand people's details IF they are suspected of dropping litter or letting their dog foul the pavement. But I guess they were just feeling a bit above their stations and didn't realise what a pair of dickheads they were going to look half an hour later."

    Even if they had the right to ask for his ID, they should identify themselves as having the authority to demand his ID. Until they prove who they are, they are just another member of the public.

    Maybe they were MiB's trying to delete his photo of a UFO

  80. Eponymous Cowherd
    Grenade

    Re:Update

    ***""A formal complaint has subsequently be made in relation to this incident which has been recorded and an investigation has commenced.""***

    Which will cost £1000's (and then some).

    All because what I assume were a pair of officious council knobheads took exception when someone (quite rightly) didn't take them as seriously as they'd like and called the cops.

    Its that pair of tossers who should be prosecuted for wasting public money by kicking off this absurd episode. Let us hope the 'investigation' identifies those arseholes.

  81. thx1138
    Big Brother

    So which is it?

    "When challenged by the police officer the man refused to give any personal details which it was thought was suspicious."

    Or

    "As a result, he was arrested and asked to wait in a police vehicle while his details were checked."

    Those would be the details he refused to give, would they? Or was the suspicious element th fact that a copper deed something suspicious, like perhaps he failed to simply do as he was told when commanded by Those In Authority?

    There IS indeed a pattern emerging here; the police are now so mentally denuded by chasing their own self fulfilling targets that they no longer understand what crime, suspicious behaviour or reasonable conduct actually are, unless it's a figure they are trying to hit/avoid. Like a father who's belted his his kid once too often, they (in the immortal words of Lemmy) just confuse respect with fear, attempting to garner public "respect" by coming down on anyone who might have an opinion of their conduct.

    If they'd stop behaving like arseholes, they might get a btter response when they do ask questions.

  82. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
    Stop

    Never, ever, EVER ...

    ... put a shortarse in a position of power. It is a recipe for exactly this kind of thing happening routinely. (However, a fair percentage of the population is a shortarse compared to me, so perhaps my viewpoint is tainted, because I've never been given a hard time by anyone taller than me ...)

    Seriously, having worked previously in an environment where aggressive situations were more likely than average (psychiatric nursing), I can state that this WPC shames women. My female colleagues, many of whom were small and petite, would volunteer to go in first, because either the presence of a female would calm the (usually male) distressed person. If not, the bloke would be less likely to hit a woman, giving the backup team chance to restrain him without harm to anyone. The point? Well, if you are in a job where you might have to face down a bloke with attitude, you cannot be intimidated by mere height. She is clearly either a) in the wrong job, or b) just serving her time until politically correct policies get her into the upper echelons of the police ... and then she can become the new Cressida Dick!!

  83. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Jobsworths

    ,Always wondered about the Council Jobsworths, much as everyone hates littering etc exactly what power do they have? If one of the Jobswoths asks me by my name & address etc in a public place I would politely tell them to get stuffed and mostly likely just walk away. ,What exactly are they going to do then? (I guess they ring the plod who will respond in seconds instead of the length of time use mere mortals seem to get).

  84. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @ Iggle Piggle

    Didn't you miss:

    "Crossing the road to avoid me"

    Which seems to be the way Kent police are going.

    The photographer sounds like a pretty standard "build" to me. If a police officer is intimidated by someone of that size, stone cold sober in broad day light ,with no offensive weapons, then may I subtly suggest that they go and find a job somewhere else, like in a BT call center? Because its obvious that they are going to be sod all use when it comes to facing a drunken yob on a Friday night, or someone who is actually, shock horror, commiting a REAL crime.

    As many others have said. Its no wonder people no longer respect the police and I really hope that someone from Kent Police has been forwarded this article to see just what a bunch of stupid arrogant morons they come over as.

  85. Jonathan 6

    @ Martin6

    Quote: "So he now has a criminal record which will show up if he ever wants to go near a school or work for the council."

    Umm, no. You have to be convicted in a court of law for a criminal offence to get a record. Being stopped and searched or arrested then released does not give you a criminal record at all. Being arrested will get you on the police databases thus making you a candidate for a stitch-up by our infallible and uncorrupt [sic] Police Service, alas, but that is all.

  86. Catkins
    Linux

    @Jonathan 6

    If you apply for a job which requires an Enhanced CRB your police record will be sent to your potential employer. Alongide any convictions will be listed arrests, allegations, and even rumours that you may never have been made aware of. (see my earlier post in this thread for a particuarly fine example).

    Now legally it's a 'police record', not a 'criminal record', but it's treated as such for around 11m jobs in this country. Google the case of John Pinnington for further evidence. Baseless accusations are treated as convictions and render you unemployable in certain fields.

  87. CD001

    which is actually enough....

    Quote: "So he now has a criminal record which will show up if he ever wants to go near a school or work for the council."

    Umm, no. You have to be convicted in a court of law for a criminal offence to get a record. Being stopped and searched or arrested then released does not give you a criminal record at all. Being arrested will get you on the police databases thus making you a candidate for a stitch-up by our infallible and uncorrupt [sic] Police Service, alas, but that is all.

    ------------------------------

    Which is actually enough to get you barred from working in schools these days - this chap will at least be spared from ever taking those awful fkn school photos in future.

  88. Dark Ian
    Megaphone

    I'm more worried about joe public

    We're surrounded by petrified ignorant thickies that'll 'report' anything that they don't like.

    Also why did this guy hang around when the plain clothes guys stopped him. I'd have walked off. Sometimes people do themselves no favours and allow themselves to be led. Sure, officers only have certain powers, but it's no good complying with an illegal request and then crying your eyes out afterwards ("Yeah but they would've arrested me..."). People need to be better at knowing their rights and defending them at the time, not afterwards.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Title

    Someone should start a twit/book campaign for a national "photograph the police" day, if everyone is doing it, they can't stop us all

  90. Ozwadi Ogolugi
    Troll

    Chavy

    So all he had was pictures of buildings and a few chavy skanks.. wow

  91. Alien8n Silver badge
    FAIL

    @ Jonathan 6

    Strictly true yes, however the current rules state that even if you're stopped and searched it goes on the database which is also used for CRB checks. This is as a direct result of the Soham murders, because while Ian Huntley had never been prosecuted for a crime he had been accused of a crime previously. So yes, the mere act of accusing someone of a crime is enough to have them deemed unsuitable for working with children or vulnerable people.

    What makes this whole thing a complete farce however is the simple fact that nearly every potential murderer or paedophile working in schools will actually pass their checks. I went to a school where 5 teachers were eventually charged and prosecuted for child abuse. Not one of them had a criminal record while teaching and so every single one of them would have been cleared for working. All the new legislation does is make it easier to prevent them ever working with kids ever again, but it does NOTHING to actually prevent them working with kids in the first place, instead it creates a situation where the kids have the balance of power. You don't like the teacher? "Dad, my science teacher asked me to play with drs with him today"

    Instant loss of career, even after the claim is proven false.

  92. Chewy

    Electing the police

    The more I hear of incidents like this the more I think that police chiefs should be elected despite their protestations.

  93. Matthew Brown
    Unhappy

    When refusing to identify yourself...

    Is grounds for suspicion and arrest, we truly have crossed the line. :(

  94. David S

    @Johnathan 6

    Well, possibly not a criminal record, but even a caution will show up on a CRB check, and having ANYTHING show up on your CRB can rule you out of some more sensitive places.

    Oh, and to the AC who said:

    "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."

    How exactly does one stop being tall? Should he have knelt down, do you think?

    "I fought the law and the law kicked me inna fork"

  95. John Sturdy

    @AC 14:27

    A hi-viz jacket with official-looking reflective lettering would be even better -- I'm thinking of having one made with "Covert Operations" in big obvious letters. Then when they ask for my ID, I can reply "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Suspicious

    >> When challenged by the police officer the man refused to give any personal details which it was thought was suspicious.

    The Police need to take a long hard look at themselves, if they think refusal to co-operate is suspicious. There may have a time when only criminals had something to fear from the Police and refusal to co-operate could reasonably be considered suspicious. In this day and age of CRBs and cautions, you would be mad to co-operate with them unless you were certain they didn't suspect you of committing some non-existent offence - better to trapse down to the station where everything is recorded and you get hold of someone who actually knows what the law is (i.e. a solicitor, not the police).

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a similar subject

    I presume El Reg has seen this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8153908.stm

    (in particular, the manner in which the gentlemen here was caught)

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    High Visibility Jackets and Clip Boards

    Long ago, I heard that one of the teachers at our school liked to go for walks around the school grounds. To ensure he wasn't interrupted, he would carry a clip board around with him, with just a sheet of paper on it. Everyone assumed he was busy, doing something important, and left him to it. He was just going for a walk.

    Mine's the one with bits of tape stuck on it. The tape doesn't cover anything, but everyone will think I'm hiding my official ID.

  99. jason 7 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Targets, Targets and more Targets.

    This is what happens when you bring in a load of hokey laws and give those that are there to uphold them performance targets to meet.

    All they do then is take on any easy pickings to tick off another 'offence/caution/arrest on their work forms.

    If they can call in a few colleagues thats more ticks on more forms.

    "Excellent I've hit my 20 cautions and 5 arrests for this week and its only Wednesday! Yayyy!"

  100. slow-mo
    Terminator

    good news for those who are short but look shifty!

    Always hang out with a tall friend as a distraction for the police who got nothing better to do.

    why can't reg do a good looking terminator avtar? we like machines that look good (doesn't matter if they kill us later).

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    @ AC : Corrupt as ever

    there corruption, there own officers, there warrant card.

    It's "their" ffs.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News from BBC

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8153908.stm

    A Harry Potter actor been convicted of growing pot is the story, but interestingly is the following line:

    "The court heard police found shots of the plants on Mr Waylett's camera after he was arrested for taking a picture of officers as he and a friend drove past."

  103. 2big

    midgets on the job!

    Why do they insist on sending these slips of women to serious crimes or sending them outside the police station even. in the old days even the men had to make 5ft 8 to get in the job there were quite a few wearing the news of the world make me taller shoes at that time. Then some bright spark said I know lets have special constables duh, that failed because they were less than special less than ordinary funnily enough. Then they said lets employ femail midgets not exactly gurkas though are they . In fact a test of questions from an 11 plus paper was so difficult for new recruits that they all failed to answer all if any of the questions. Which means that with regular coppers being a bit better trained but lacking hugely in grey matter what chance do the plastic pcso's have of rationalising anything on the spot .I met a detective once at a police social club his claim to fame was that he had investigated 25 serious crimes and failed to solve one. Desk job? nah promotion .Now we are inundated with stupid decisions being made by stupid politicians and enforced by even more stupid coppers unbelievable arrogance remember the 10.000 pounds it cost to prosecute a girl eating an apple driving whilst being pursued by a police chopper . or the little kid who was playing with a plastic rifle in a car park and the swat team nicked him yeh all of 7 years old . There will never be respect for the police whilst these idiotic over the top stasi tactics are being employed in the uk the police need controlling closely by the public like they do in the states curtailing their powers is a start and formulating a charter of what they can and cant do clearly stating the limits of police power.

  104. J 3
    Big Brother

    @too tall? AC

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

    Nah, they'll be fine. In fascist societies, corporations friendly to those in power can do whatever they want, laws are optional. Individuals though...

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Harry Potter star a terrorist?

    The Harry Potter star, I assume, was considered a terrorist as he had his camera confiscated by the police after he took photos of them (and of his cannabis plants):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8153908.stm

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ David S

    "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."

    How exactly does one stop being tall? Should he have knelt down, do you think?

    The fact he was tall would not form the basis for an arrest under the public order act as something that causes "harassment, alarm and distress"

    However, his actions (eg standing over her) or taking pictures would if she asked him to stop as she felt "harassed, alarmed or distressed" by those actions and he failed to stop those actions.

    All he needed to do to mitigate the alleged harassment would be to move out of arms reach and communicate with the jobsworth dwarf from a safe distance.

    Now that this man has been arrested he cant enter the US without a Visa for the rest of his life, so every trip to the US now has the added joy of a £200 bill for a VISA and ACPO check along with the time taken to get the VISA etc etc.

    That said, if he was planning to blow up Chatham would that be terrorism or an act of mercy?

    Paris - her visa bill is probably higher

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    allo, allo, allo...

    ...what's all this then?

    <snap> (camera)

    Right, me laddo, I'll 'ave you down the station.

    <snap> (bones)

  108. Adrian Esdaile
    Black Helicopters

    What about photgraphic memories?

    What if you have a photographic memory? Are you then not allowed to look at the Filth?

    What if you have a sketchbook? I've been busted in Australia for that, while sketching buildings as an architecture student, way back in the 90's.

  109. Charles Manning

    re: Never, ever, EVER ...

    At 6ft6 that would skin me out of most jobs.

    It is fine to have the vertically challenged people in positions of power, but make sure you don't push them around so that they feel forced to play the power card. The Napoleon gene is ruthless.

    One of the reasons that tall cops were prefered in the past is because taller & bigger people tend to exude an aura of power without having to assert themselves. A small cop needs to show a bit of agro to get respect.

  110. ShaggyDoggy

    Sorry sarge

    PC Bloggs, why did you put 6 bullets into his head ?

    Sorry Sarge my gun ran out ...

    Oh wait ...

  111. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    Didn't provide ID

    A member of the public who does not identify themself as a police officer is a member of the public.

    Plain clothes "officers" who attempt to search me without presenting identification can expect a swift kick in the balls. You don't think that's one of the oldest mugging tricks in the book?

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aren't the police the terrorists here ?

    Think about it - a terrorist is someone who trys to instill fear (and terror) by their actions (legal or more likely illegal).

    What did the hobby-bobby do ? Try to instill fear and terror on an innocent law-abiding member of the public.

    Personally I think all those police involved should be given a one way ticket to Guantanimo Bay since they have proven themselves to be terrorists.

  113. Mark Leaver
    Grenade

    Whoops

    I must remember never to take my camera down to Kent.

    At 6'1" tall and 21st and built more like a front row foward than the michelin man I suspect that the coppers would be busy calling out the riot squad to arrest me if I was taking photos.

    The absurdity of things these days where the police think that they have the right to detain someone for persuing their hobby of taking photographs of interesting architecture and people who just happen to be in the shot is unbelievable.

    I am waiting for the days when the police think that they have the right to grab people who look different off the street, whisk them in front of a judge in the middle of the night and they disappear off into a resettlement camp. Then I know it will be time to find a nice big hole in a country far away and go there.

  114. Alfonso Vespucci

    You couldn't make it up.

    http://www.medway.gov.uk/medwaycalendar

  115. Edward Noad
    Coat

    I'm 6ft 0in...

    ...and 10 stone. If I'm out with my camera and the police arrest me, are they going to say it's under suspicion of being an under-cover ninja? Because the only way they could find me threatening.

    I think the suggestions of rubbing the police's collective face in it are a good idea. Let's force some action, rather than sitting on our arses expecting an obviously incompetent legal system and police force to figure out what they're doing wrong and fix it properly, because that could take a reeeeally long time.

    Mine's the coat with the anti-baton armour plating.

  116. Ally J
    Thumb Up

    Let's not forget that someone reported him

    So thank you to whoever did that, probably brainwashed into thinking that anyone taking photos of anything is definitely a terrorist. (As is, naturally, anyone who has more than one mobile phone, or who has odd-looking stuff in their bin.)

    I do like the idea of a national 'photograph a copper' day. We'd better have the backup of people to photograph the people photographing the copppers, just in case the photos are taken in an 'intimidating' manner.

  117. rossco
    Grenade

    What to do when stopped by plod

    I found some very interesting text on the bruce schneier http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/03/holy_hand_grena.html

    blog about how to react when stopped by the police. This was posted by someone called Clive on that blog and whilst I am not a lawyer appears to be suitable advice.

    "h and remember in the UK always carry your passport and if the Police stop you get it out and show it to the officer and ask him to read out aloud what is written in the front cover from "their boss"... You then tell them to write that they has done so in their note book as part of the "official record". If they refuse you tell them that they are legaly obliged to do so.

    What you have done is kick away the officers right to arrest you to "verify your identity" and force them to acknowledge this. Which for most things stops them arresting you as they legaly are not alowed to. Also they know they are now walking a bit of a tight rope and will have to do everything by the book. And as most officers do not know what is written in the "book" they are now on thin ice.

    If they are daft enough to not immediatly comply you say "I belive you are impersonanting a police officer which is a criminal offense" and that you are now going to take "independent steps to verify their identity". If they question your right to do so you simply say "It's satutory".

    By informing them you do not belive they are police officers they are now in the position of not "having lawfull authority untill they are identified as police officers". So they have been left in the position of not being able to do very much at all until you have "independantly verified" their identity. And they further become open to a charge of "unlawfull detention" etc which is a bit of a show stopper...

    You have effectivly removed their "lawfull authority" you can also refuse to get into any vehical or be touched by them (it's assult at that point). If they even attempt to you can then inform them that you are now moving to a "place of safety for your own protection".

    If they fail to alow you to independantly verify who they are they are or move to a place of safety they are in for significant problems in court. And if they do they get a load of grief from the station inspector or higher who you drag out to verify them. Which is a lose lose situation for them.

    And if you do end up in court you or your brief can point out that you reminded the officer that he has a legal duty of care towards you as an individual which puts him in an awkward position legaly as effectivly if it can be shown (and in most cases it can with a clever brief) that they have failed in their duties...

    Importantly it also shows in court that you where behaving in a reasonable fashion and the police officers where not. Which might appear a small point but infront of a jury it has kicked the credability of the police officers right out the door whilst boosting yours a very large amount (and with a jury credability goes one heck a lot further than "dubious evidence" does).

    Once upon a time the most important piece of advice was, Never put yourself in a postion where you need to know all the "wriggles" to "get your self off the hook". Unfortunatly in this "new terrorist world" just pausing for breath is enough to get you into trouble so sadly you do need to know."

    I especially agree with the last paragraph, more so if you dont fancy fighting through the European courts to get your DNA off the national database

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Report for retraining

    Any police officer who seriously finds a very tall person intimidating either should not be a police officer, or needs some basic training.

    And... whilst I was going through all that stuff with the passport, and the rights and the verification with a policeman, he accidentally tripped over me. It is strange that, as I fell too, somehow I found myself falling into a police car, but I don't mind, because I'm sure that I would have got even more bruises if it hadn't been there. It's a shame, though, that a particularly burly policeman didn't seem to realise that I was lying on the back seat of his car. I thought they were supposed to be good at observation, but he couldn't have seen me at all, as he sat right down on my face! Looking back at it now, I have to laugh, but, at the time, I almost choked to death before he realised I was there.

    Now I'm being charged with assaulting a police officer, as, it seems that, in my panic, I bit his backside.

    I'm sure all this will be sorted out soon, it's all a silly misunderstanding, but, until then --- could one you kind El Reg readers please stand bail for me?

  119. aelfheld

    Ve haf vays uf making you talk

    ""At the time of this incident, a police officer responded to a report concerning a man who was taking photographs of buildings and people in Chatham town centre. When challenged by the police officer the man refused to give any personal details which it was thought was suspicious."

    Yeah right.

    "[...] approached by two unidentified men. They did not identify themselves, but demanded that he show them some ID and warned that if he failed to comply, they would summon police officers to deal with him."

    For some strange reason, Turner comes off as much more credible than an Asst. Chief Constable trying to excuse the unjustifiable behaviour of a nascent secret police.

  120. elderlybloke
    Happy

    I am lucky

    I live in New Zealand and am 5'6" .

    Will probably not be arrested for intimidating the Police.

    Being 78 years old , and a bit clapped out with Arthritis , might help.

    Strange thing is I don't recall our Boys in Blue down here , getting all worked up about people with cameras being Terrorists.

    Your politicians spend some much time frightening the crap out of all of you that the Coppers have been brainwashed into believing that Terrorists are everywhere.

    The only time we have had a Terrorist attack was around 25 years ago, and that was the French

    Government mob who destroyed a Greenpeace yacht with a bomb.

    They probably thought that we were too dim to catch the criminals , but we did.

    However as they are a bigger country than us, they twisted the arm of our Prime Minister , and

    got them released into French custody. Then a short time later they got released.

    I feel as friendly towards the French as you lot.

    But a lot more friendly towards our Coppers than you.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useful Tactic

    Not quite photography, but once when I was stopped and told off for driving a bit fast on some country roads (despite slowing down to the 30mph speed limit through the villages, unlike the pursuing copper who didn't have flashing lights on at that point), I pulled over, got out of the car and leaned casually on the roof to wait for the officer to come and talk to me. I was probably 6" taller than him, and he was on his own (which is why it was just a talk, so he said) and I have no doubt it gave me an advantage. Normal practice is for them to come and lean on the car door, so you can't get out and they remain in control of the situation. If you're out of the car on a near-deserted road at midnight, things get more interesting.

    However, don't try it in the US in case you get shot as you attempt to get out of the car...

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Voodoo

    What would terrorists do with photos of the police anyway? Stick pins in them?

    Suck on this: http://images.google.com/images?q=uk+police

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Strong Police Force

    Perhaps only hiring officers who can handle the job would be an option.

    In Canada, the Mounties must be able to lug a 140 lb load, tackle a 6' polar bear, and distill maple syrup - all at the same time.

  124. Mr Young
    Joke

    That reminds me...

    of a joke,

    http://office-humour.co.uk/tags/cop/11756/

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Welcome To Britain

    We watch your every move, but no photos for you sonny.

    Cosh, whack, blackout, wakeup somewhere in the Caribbean in an orange suit.

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong -- this was double-plus good!

    We have always been at war with tall photographers.

  127. Fragula

    Wot a girrarf!

    To: medway.matters@medway.gov.uk

    Re:Medway 2010 Calendar competition

    cc:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/15/tall_photographers/comments/

    Hi!

    The competition "Medway 2010 Calendar competition" being run looks like great fun.

    However, due to the attitude of Kent Police force, I am afraid to take part, for fear of arrest, and a police record which would show up in any enhanced CRB checks , disqualifying me from any work deemed to be "sensitive".

    It is with regret that I must decline.

    Cheers!

    Fraggie.

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