back to article Too-tall terror snapper stopped by cops again

If the law doesn’t quite fit, then Kent Police are not above making it up as they go along. That is the conclusion of local photographer Alex Turner who, following his arrest last week for being too tall – and possibly looking like a terrorist – was stopped by police again on Sunday, and required to hand over ID. Turner, …

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  1. Oliver Mayes

    Knowing your rights is one thing

    But it's not much use in cases like this where they arrest you first then decide what they arrested you for afterwards, whilst apparently being under no obligation to actually tell you what they came up with. I was under the impression that there was some legal recourse for being wrongfully arrested, or does that only apply if they can't come up with a reason afterwards?

  2. Subban

    blue card

    I do hope the Bureau of Photographers is going to update its Blue Card, which is a small pocketsized card with a breif summary of the law regarding photography in public places. It is for the benifit of the photographer and also to perhaps produce to an officer upon what may be an illegal stop and search.

    link below.

    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/photography_body_launches_rights_card_news_257561.html

  3. JMB

    Kent plod

    I hope that Kent Police will be prosecuting the people behind this website which shows photographs of Kent police officers without blanking out their faces. Must be an aid to terrorists.

    http://www.kent.police.uk/News/Events/Events.html

    http://www.kent.police.uk/News/Latest_News/Forecourt%20Watch%20scheme.html

  4. Peter Fielden-Weston 2
    Big Brother

    Police

    Thugs with legal authority.

    Time for a revolution.

    Not AC, because my dad fought a war to protect our freedoms and if we don't stand and be counted then we will all fall.

    BB can go fsck himself

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brixton Riots needed

    It seems we cannot ensure British freedom without another riot. You may recall the Brixton riots and the subsequent riots across Britain were a result of rozzers using a stop-and-search power to intimidate the public.

    You realize that right now some overzealous rozzer is looking at that first sentence and deciding if he can claim it is incitement and an arrestable offence. You can't even ensure freedom of speech in the UK.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I found this even more sinister...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/5878521/Harry-Potter-actor-sentenced-for-growing-cannabis.html

    [quote]Waylett and his long-term friend John Innis, 20, were stopped under the Terrorism Act in Lodge Road, St John's Wood, west London, after the actor took a photograph of a police patrol as they drove past.

    Innis' black Audi was searched and police discovered a butterfly lock-knife under the driver's seat and eight small bags of herbal cannabis.

    When the officers examined the mobile phone on which the shots had been taken, they found images of cannabis plants which Waylett admitted were his[/quote]

    Personally I don't touch the stuff, never have, no intention too, and don't in any way condone its use, but bloody 'ell this sounds likean abuse of police powers...

    Anonymous, because otherwise they might come round and "find" something at my house...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Unbelievable!

    I would have thought the police would have learnt from the first time around that it's a bit of a PR disaster to arrest someone just taking pictures. I wonder if anyone has asked them if they have arrested anyone taking pictures who has PROVED to be a terrorist? My bet is 0 (zero).

    AC because I take pictures in towns as well.

  8. SirTainleyBarking
    Stop

    What they sow...

    This is starting to backfire on plod.

    They really need to inform their officers of what the law is, and how to apply it properly.

    I see the same backlash as in Brixton and Handsworth if they continue, and that really is no good for anyone

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    See also Harry Potter case

    Another case of arresting someone just for taking a picture was that of the Harry Potter actor convicted of growing cannabis. He was just taking pictures from his car with his mate which happened to include a police person, they stopped him, looked at his pictures and found a picture of a cannabis plant. They then investigated further and searched his home. I wonder if the case should have been allowed in the first place if the act of viewing the pictures was a bit dodgy in legal terms.

    See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8153908.stm and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1200125/Harry-Potter-actor-Jamie-Waylett-court-admitting-growing-cannabis.html.

    J

  10. Bad Fish

    Secret laws

    So the police can stop and search people only if there is an s44 authorisation, but they keep secret the places where such an authorisation is in force.

    How is this different from "the police can stop and search anyone, anywhere?" No-one can safely refuse, because there's always the danger that the police have a secret authorisation.

    Secret laws mean that the police are not bound by law.

  11. gfs
    Thumb Down

    Totalitarianism

    "I am confident that the public would want us to do this to ensure their safety and well-being"

    This statement is the scariest part of this article, the shadow of totalitarianism lurks behind this kind of thinking.

  12. Tom 15
    Grenade

    Chatham...

    Why would anyone possibly want to prevent terrorist offences from taking place in Chatham?

  13. AJ 5
    Stop

    Disgusting behaviour...

    ... as we've come to expect from these useless cretins "upholding the law." Do they really think anyone is being protected by this stupid waste of police time?

    GO AND CATCH SOME CRIMINALS, for crying out loud, instead of harassing people.

    Utterly pathetic.

  14. David Evans
    Big Brother

    They really want us to hate them don't they?

    "With regard to this specific incident there was a need to establish the identity of the man in question"

    What "need"? This is the crux of the matter, the Kent police don't seem to understand that law isn't there so they can do what they like. The day is fast coming when we're all going to need cameras on at all times just to protect ourselves from our so-called guardians.

  15. john loader

    Photograph without fear of arrest

    Oddly webcams for Chatham on the BBC site and weather-forecast.com sites don't work but go to http://www.lordswoodonline.co.uk/localwebcam.htm and there's a lovely picture of Rochester High Street just up the road (sorry) courtesy of Medway Council.

    And if Kent Plod reads this you need to go to

    Gun Wharf

    Dock Rd, Chatham, ME4 and arrect Medway Council Chief Exec.

  16. Alfonso Vespucci
    Unhappy

    must think of something pithy

    "Once this had been done and officers were confident that no offences had been committed the man was allowed on his way and no further action was taken"

    I'll try a bit of boolean (IT angle). If the police are "confident" that you haven't committed an offence, they can still require you to identify yourself to them or face detention and "further action". That sounds like ID on demand. If this is how they're thinking before ID cards come into being, imagine leaving your house without one when they become widely available. Voluntary my arse.

  17. Alfonso Vespucci
    Black Helicopters

    Oh, and another thing

    Wear down resistance to the abuse of police powers by harrassing those that have the balls to challenge it.

  18. Chris Collins

    Yay Fascism

    At least Mussolini got the trains running on time, I have yet to see this benefit.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Police

    Arsedick.

  20. SuperTim

    "Kent" police?

    Is that a typo? They sound like a right bunch of kents to me!

  21. dunncha
    Coat

    Growing up in Northern Iron'

    Growing up in Northern Iron' I and everyone that lives there is used to this level of harassment by the police.

    First of all it starts with Tough Policing then it moves to Aggressive Policing and before you know it Police sanctioned murder. 'We couldn't get the evidence but we knew he was guilty'.

    I moved here 18 years ago and was amazed the police didn't have guns or the seriously bad attitude. You could stop and have a chat with a policeman about nothing much and it would be a largely pleasant conversation. Even if they were investigating you for some minor misdemeanour.

    Now England feels just like home where the police are to be avoided at all costs.

    Lament your loss of Freedom because once its gone it will never come back.

    icon: I'll get my coat as I am looking for my next overseas home where I can raise my family in peace. Its not too much to ask.....Is it?.

  22. thx1138
    Big Brother

    Utter crap

    "...there are occasions when it is necessary for the police to address the behaviour of individuals."

    Surely this would be when they were committing or seemed to be preparing to commit an offence - a real one, not the fantasy imaginary kind that the Stalinist wing of the Met have wet dreams over. Even a copper ought to be able to muster enough common sense to see when this might be the case.

    The bland, emotionless "protect the public" cut and paste that gets banged out after every one of these incidents has the dabs of Labours PR boys all over it (what was the line from the Iraq spin? "creating realities", I think) and makes the police look as stupid as it does Labour unelectable.

    It's about time the few reasonable politicians left addressed the behaviour of the police.

  23. EdwardP
    Flame

    Oh come now...

    "The key to this story is what the law says on the subject of ID, terror and arrests."

    Pfff. Nonsense! We're the Police, the law has nothing to do with it...

  24. Catkins
    Linux

    Still breaking the law

    Interesting to note that when the police ran an identity check, information came up about the local photoraphers' planned protest in support of him and he was questioned about this as part of a 'background check'. So as well as the arrest, there's also 'soft information' about his perfectly legal activities being held by the police on a database somewhere.

    And despite this story being all over the national media, he was again told that failure to produce ID would result in an arrest.

    It's a shame that he didn't insist on his legal rights on this occasion, but given his earlier experience I don't blame him. It's a good example though of how the police have bullied a law abiding member of the public into modifying their behaviour, while they carry on breaking the law with impunity.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Presumption of Guilt?

    "With regard to this specific incident there was a need to establish the identity of the man in question. Once this had been done and officers were confident that no offences had been committed the man was allowed on his way and no further action was taken."

    So, we now have to satisfy the police that we're innocent? Otherwise we'll get arrested? (What are the implications for "enhanced" CRB checks there, I wonder?) 'Suspicion' is now nothing more than the police not being "confident that no offences had been committed"? Who says we're not a police state?

    "Whilst the specific circumstances of this incident need to be established there are occasions when it is necessary for the police to address the behaviour of individuals. I am confident that the public would want us to do this to ensure their safety and well-being."

    And who elected Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishley to act as the public's representative? No one!

    When it comes to what "the public would want", that's what Parliament is for. The police have to take the law as stating what the public want. They have an obligation, a duty, to uphold the law - it's the whole [REDACTED] point of having police in the first place! Upholding the law is what they're for, for crying out loud! They have no legal right to act unlawfully on the basis of what they, in their personal opinions, happen to think "the public would want". And they know this.

    When they abduct members of the public (surely what unlawful arrest effectively is), they are acting as criminals, committing crimes against the public they're supposed to serve and protect. We, the public, need to be protected from these criminals. Who's going to do that? We'll have to do it ourselves.

    "A demonstration is now planned near Chatham High Street on 15 August in order to assert the right of photographers to continue to photograph in public, in the face of police bullying."

    This sounds like a job for FIT WATCH! http://www.fitwatch.blogspot.com/

  26. adifferentbob

    its obvious why they arrested him.

    "he's a jailbird, sir!"

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Civil disobedience?

    About bloody time.

    >A demonstration is now planned near Chatham High Street on 15 August

    I hope they follow my suggestion in the comments to the previous article and do a few silly walks to liven up the event.

  28. Scott 19
    Big Brother

    Support

    I say give this man the support he needs, this country needs more people like him questioning our overlords and there powers to stop and harass inoccents.

    These anti-terror laws are doing as much damage as any terrorist has, placing fear and distrust in the populace. How soon before you will not even need a camera before the police can stop and search you and demand ID for no reason what so ever. Its a slippery slope and we maybe past the tipping point.

    There is one single, very slim up side to this he wasn't locked up for 42 days without charge but if LAbour had whipped harder this may have not been the case.

    NuLiebour destroying the country before there thrown out of power, or as an article i read someone pointed out mineing the political field before the next elected goverment get in.

  29. Aleksis
    Big Brother

    Ummm

    There was a phrase I once heard that I was told was the founding block of English law:

    _something_ until proven guilty

    I've forgotten what the first bit is though* - can anyone remind me?

    *it sounds like Kent Police have forgotten it too...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Respect for police.....

    The police bleat about the lack of respect they get from certian quarters of the community. Well, if they keep pulling crap like this, what do they expect. Eventually, even law abiding citizens will either treat them with the disdain that they increasingly deserve, or they'll cower in fear every time they see a copper in case they get dragged down the station on a whim.

    Welcome to NuLabor's Gestapo. No dictator should be without a totalitarian police operation.

  31. Aleksis

    Photograph a copper

    Anyone on the face book interwebs thing might be interested in this group encouraging people to photograph the police as a fsck you to them:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=66111240389

  32. Christoph Silver badge
    Flame

    Great news!

    "Once this had been done and officers were confident that no offences had been committed the man was allowed on his way "

    So we are now legally permitted to walk down the street minding our own business! As long, that is, as we have previously proved our innocence to the police.

    So every jumped up arrogant little pocket hitler plod can now graciously 'allow' us on our way once we've kissed his arse enough?

    "Oh dear, why don't the public like us?"

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, they do demand ID - and a search.

    I'm UK born and bred, a history lecturer, and don't think I in any way look like a terrorist.

    On a recent visit trip down to the British Museum, I was taking some pictures of the building's classic exterior, when I was approached by two police. I had to answer a list of questions, provide ID, AND let them have a look in my bag.

    And yes, I wimped out, and let them. I was on a tight schedule and didn't want to be delayed any more than they already had. But I really hate the way this country is heading.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @'Presumption of guilt?'

    "When it comes to what "the public would want", that's what Parliament is for."

    That may be what Parliament is \for\, but it is not what Parliament \does\. I wonder if Oliver Cromwell foresaw the un-representative monstrosity that has formed from his democratic dreams? How many of us have \not\ heard stories of voters being told to shut up ang go away by their MP? And not just in light of the Expenses scandal, either.

    On the subject of the increasing abuse of "anti-terror" laws, how long before Our Glorious Leader and his underlings realise that voting stations would make wonderful targets for Terrorists intent on stopping our democratic process and decide to make sure that polling stations are safe by not telling us where they are; knowing the location of your local Polling Station will become illegal as it would be knowledge of use to terrorists, so you can either arrest yourself, report yourself to the nearest anti-terrorist officer and wait for the boys in black to remodel your front door, or forget about voting until the threat level diminishes sufficiently for the knowedge to be "safe" to have again...

    And you wondered how that nice Mr Brown intended to hold onto the reins of power beyond his five-year term... oh excuse me, I hear a knock at the door...

  35. dave lawless
    Megaphone

    Let them arrest you if you can

    They used to arrest us hunt sabs in Leicestershire like this. They would arrest you in the morning on a spurious charge and let you go 8 hours later when the hunt was over.

    So we started suing them for wrongful arrest. 30 grand of compensation later they stopped doing it. It's about 600 quid an hour. It is the *only* way you can hurt them.

    Go for it !

    Of course you do have to be sure you're not doing anything that will stick, snapping pictures of shops and passers by seems prime for a bit of fun, I might even try it myself once I get the bodies out of the freezer.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vote

    Vote Fascist for a 3rd glorious decade of total law enforcment!

    Be a government informer, betray your family & friends, fabulous prizes to be won.

    Red Dwarf called it lol.

  37. lukewarmdog
    Thumb Up

    Size

    Doesn't matter how tall you are when they've got you by the short and curlies.

    This is exactly the kind of thing Mark Thomas loves, the organisers should get in touch with him.

  38. Jimmy Floyd
    Big Brother

    DNA

    Any word on whether he had his DNA swab the first time around? Or do we just take that as a given?

  39. Greem
    Unhappy

    @Aleksis

    I think you'll find that the "_something_" is "innocent"... but you knew that anyway. Irony, see, we all understand that. Except them thar folks from over that thar pond.

    But the "until" should actually be "unless". The difference is very, very important:

    "until" == presumption of guilt

    "unless" == suspicion of guilt.

  40. Paw Bokenfohr
    FAIL

    This makes me sad and angry equally.

    This kind of thing makes me hate the police.

    They were useless when my motorbike was stolen, and when my house was burgled all they did was give me a crime number and tell me that they wouldn't be able to catch the person who did it and the best hope was that the person would admit to it when they were caught red-handed for something else, to get a reduced sentence on all their crimes.

    Now, I have to be afraid that if I am somewhere that the police might consider to be somewhere where someone shouldn't be taking pictures (perhaps somewhere they consider not to have architectural merit?) that I might get arrested. Heaven help me they're plain clothed, armed and start chasing me without announcing that they are police - I'll probably end up with many bullet holes in my head.

    Why would anyone these days actually assist the police with anything? Why would anyone be happy to see a policeman on the streets? What the hell is going on in this country?

    In all seriousness, I've looked at Canada. On their immigration points system, I actually qualify. I really like this country - I chose to move here from my native Denmark after all, but Canada (I have visited many times) feels like the country I remember falling in love with and moving to. Britain just isn't feeling like that any more, it's really sad.

  41. James Micallef Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Catch-22

    So if police ask me for ID I am not legally obliged to show them any, but my failure to do so is automatically a suspicion marker that allows them to arrest me preventatively to verify my ID.

    BB obviously

  42. Sweep

    The Law?

    can anyone provide a link, or information on exactly what the law is regarding photography, under what circumstances the police may or may not stop or search someone, and under what circumstances a member of the public is required to provide an officer with any details, or account for their presence in an area etc etc. For England and Wales and for Scotland, if possible.

    I think i am justified in being a little confused as to what the actual law is- even the police have no idea!

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >"Over several calls and e-mails, they will neither confirm nor deny this."

    So are you gonna FoI them then?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every Action Has a Reaction

    The more police hassle ordinary members of the public and the more negative media reaction the lower public opinion will become. And it is pretty low now. A friend has said to me he thinks the police regard themselves nowadays as social workers rather than enforcers of the law. As long as the police are in bed with the government's social engineering agenda then public mistrust will grow and grow.

  45. JMB

    Kent Keystone Cops

    "I would have thought the police would have learnt from the first time around that it's a bit of a PR disaster to arrest someone just taking pictures."

    You would think that any police officer with half a brain would realise that the continued removal of identification numbers is also a PR disaster but there have been reports that it is continuing to happen so it must be being condoned or even encouraged by senior officers and the Home Office.

    I have never cease to be amazed at the efforts of the British police to completely alienate most of the British public.

  46. Onionman
    Big Brother

    From Catch 22

    ""Help!" he shrieked shrilly in a voice strangling in its own emotion, as the policemen carried him to the open doors in the rear of the ambulance and threw him inside. "Police! Help! Police!" The doors were shut and bolted, and the ambulance raced away. There was humorless irony in the ludicrous panic of the man screaming for help to the police while policemen were all around him. Yossarian smiled wryly at the futile and ridiculous cry for aid, then saw with a start that the words were ambiguous, realized with alarm that they were not, perhaps, intended as a call for police, but as a heroic warning from the grave by a doomed friend to everyone who was not a policeman with a club and a gun and a mob of other policemen with clubs and guns to back him up. "Help! Police!" the man had cried, and he could have been shouting of danger.""

  47. Skymonrie
    Badgers

    P.O-Lease

    Whatever happened to the days when, a police officer would wear their uniform for life and take pride being part of the community to hold it together?

    Now, we have a situation where one person sits in a control room acting as Arbiter and controller staring at CCTV footage with the actual aim of finding mischief, not finding it. The P.O-Lease have been staring down the same barrel for so long; they've gone cross eyed and got things the wrong way around acting more like the criminals than the criminals do.

    It wouldn't be so bad if, the P.O-Lease took a step back and saw how they were treating other people; treat others how you wish to be treated, want this on your day off Mr. P.O-Lease man?...I say this because innocent citizens are in the crosshairs.

    Imagine what the tourists will say parading down a high street taking pictures, (like this will happen much in the boring grey concrete age, few towns with beauty) when the CCTV guy labels them...da da daaaa, a terrorist!

    Just recently, my best friend and I felt the pang of police ludicrousness. We were walking back from a night out on town (celebrating him moving to China!) and it requires walking through some woods as that is where the estate is. Being particularly drunk, the crawl stopped for a rest and reminisce effectively in the middle of nowhere.

    The two P.O-Lease who came along didn't see it that way and proceeded to handcuff my friend to a fence while I was being questioned on the ground. They wanted to know what we were doing and if not told, threatened to throw us in the cell for a night. I just kept asking for their badge numbers because what happened was well out of their rights. After the fifth time saying this, one proceeded to boot me in the head; my friend still handcuffed to a fence (for no reason) tried phoning home to let them know what was going on and had his phone confiscated and smashed on the floor.

    That must have pushed a button or something clicked in me but, I was instantly on my feet and demanded at the top of my voice "What the hell do you think you are doing, give me your badge numbers right now!!!!". Then they just, took off my friends cuffs and walked fast away in to the dark night, not replying to my shouts or tease at all.

    I'm still left wondering, what the heck happened then? :3

    P.O-Lease - Piss Off Polease

    Badgers because, there is the verb to adger and sneaky but giant rodent lurking

  48. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Dont Blame the ordinary Plods

    Be careful of tarring all the Plods with the "Gestapo" label. They are only acting this way because they are being told to. With the lack of clear guidance, or even deliberate mis-guidance from their Bosses and at the Home Office - what would you expect?

    Its just none of the gutless incompentent time servers at a senior level either in the Police, Home Office or in Westminster have the balls or inclination to issue clear guidance

  49. jsp

    @Aleksis

    I think the word you are looking for is "suspicious" (well, it is now).

  50. ElNumbre

    Unwelcome...

    I for one do NOT welcome our Stazi copying overlords.

  51. Chris Hunt
    Big Brother

    Hmmm....

    It seems to me that in a confrontation between plod and photographer there's a very real chance that one of them could behave like a pompous arse.

    If I were the snapper in question, I'd want to be sure that it wasn't me.

    So if they ask nicely, and it isn't too inconvenient, I don't mind telling them who I am and showing whatever ID I might have on me (if any). I know I don't have to, but if it gets him out of my hair so be it. If he wants a look at my pics, that's probably OK too if I don't have anything better to do.

    If he starts talking carp about me not being allowed to photograph this or that, or wants me to delete something, that's the time to get shirty.

    Sure, I know, it's wimping out, it's a slippery slope and all that; but as a photographer I'm more interested in light than heat.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    national union of journalists

    I think it is about time the photographers and TV camera operators at major sports stadiums refused to work lest they accidentally take a photograph of the police officers on duty.

    Then Sky/ESPN/BBC/ITV wouldn't pay for the broadcast rights, and with a little luck the various leagues would put pressure on the police to start acting in a more reasonable manner.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Too Bloody Right...

    @GFS - Totalitarianism #

    By gfs Posted Wednesday 22nd July 2009 08:12 GMT

    Too bl00dy right mate. Time to stop this nonsense before it goes ( even further ) too far.

    Peace.

    I'm Connected.

    PS. Loud hailer - Shout it from the roof tops

  54. JohnG
    Big Brother

    Sections 44 and 58 of the Terrorism Act

    Exactly how many terrorists have been caught using these powers? Is this data available somewhere or is that a state secret? I suspect they have not caught a single terrorist by these means, in which case, the law should be repealed at the earliest opportunity.

    Perhaps the Act was given the wrong title. The police seem to think it is "the Terrorism Act" because it gives them powers to terrorise the general public, who seem threatening to them. Had it been called the Anti-Terrorism Act, the police might have understood the true intent of such legislation.

  55. J.Butler

    Rights?

    Knowing your rights makes no difference, the police arrest first, then find a law to fit.

    If all else fails they'll lie and say it was a public order offence, your word against theirs. No comeback.

    Lets have it right, the average plod on the street joined because they like telling other people what to do, that they don't have the intelligence to be able to interpret the law (even after guidance from the home office) is a secondary consideration.

  56. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @Chris Hunt

    > I don't mind telling them who I am and showing whatever ID I might have on me (if any). I know I don't have to, but if it gets him out of my hair so be it. If he wants a look at my pics, that's probably OK too if I don't have anything better to do.

    And every time that happens it simply justifies their actions and weakens the right of everyone else to "Go about their lawful business without let or hindrance".

    Ihre Papier, Bitte!

  57. Sceptical Bastard

    @ David Evans

    David asks: "They really want us to hate them don't they?"

    It's not that they actively want us to hate them - it's that they don't give a fuck what we think because they have the power to make our lives a misery.

    Several commentards (above) blame increasingly repressive policing on politicians, on the Home Office, on anti-terrorism FUD, and on senier officers - their point being that it's not the fault of the ordinary cop, dear old Dixon of Dock Green.

    What bollocks! It is ordinary coppers who are hassling photographers just as it is ordinary coppers who routinely hector, harrass and bully anyone they don't like the look of.

    I am old enough to remember ranked hordes of these George Dixons charging the miners, batons swinging. I am old enough to remember their horsey colleagues - the Orgreave Cavalry - riding down striking pitmen. I remember the brutality with which the Met policed the demonstrations against the poll tax. I remember, too, the images on television earlier this year when innocent people were corralled without water, food, or loos at the G20. And, of course, I remember the images of the Met - dear old George again - murdering Ian Tomlinson at the G20.

    And they wonder why we call them the filth?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    BBC Panorama on a similar theme

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00lmd3s/Panorama_What_Ever_Happened_to_People_Power/

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @ Gordon 10

    "Be careful of tarring all the Plods with the "Gestapo" label. They are only acting this way because they are being told to."

    I think you mean, "Be careful of tarring all the SS officers with the "genocidal murderers" label. They are only acting this way because they are being told to."

    It's called "only obeying orders", also known as "the Nuremberg defence". And it's completely illegitimate.

    If your employer instructs you to commit a criminal act, it's an illegal instruction, and you're under no obligation to obey. If, in obeying that instruction, you'd be guilty of that crime, then the fact that your employer told you to do it is no defence at all. You are legally obliged to disobey. And that doesn't cease to be the case simply because you're a police officer and your employer is a higher ranking police officer. Ignorance of the law is no defence. (Just think how the police and the courts to take it if you said, "my boss told me to do it," as your defence.)

    If anything, the fact that they're police makes it even more inexcusable. They exist (as police) to uphold the law, and that begins by making sure they don't break it themselves. If they haven't got the backbone and integrity to abstain from breaking the law themselves, they shouldn't even be police. They have absolutely no excuse at all.

    Police who commit crimes, and then plead ignorance and the Nuremberg defence, are amongst the most despicable of criminal scum. They really are the scum of the earth.

  60. Adam 52 Silver badge

    A title is required.

    @Catkins

    - He made a complaint last time. That'll get him a "complaint against police" PNC marker, so it'll come up first when they do a person check (possibly before the "carries firearms" marker).

    @Skymonrie

    - Those days are long gone, these days a copper who wears his uniform home if likely to find it firebombed overnight. Unfortunately it's a positive feedback loop.

    Someone needs to send ACC Thomas back to school, the Home Office guidelines clearly say that failure to answer questions can't be treated as suspicious.

  61. JohnG

    "Dont Blame the ordinary Plods"

    This is the famous "We were only following orders defence" and wholly unacceptable. The ordinary police need to be feeding information upwards to their superiors about the negative impact of the police's maltreatment of law-abiding citizens. The snag is, from what I have seen, ordinary police officers are quite happy to abuse people, looking for laws with which to justify it afterwards.

  62. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    FAIL

    Stating the bleedin' obvious

    Maybe there is a specific s.44 authorisation in place for Chatham High Street.

    Many thanks to plod for highlighting this fact that there is that they consider a terrorist target in Chatham High Street.

  63. King Jack
    Alien

    The best weapon...

    It all makes sense, cause we all know that the best weapon to use in a Terror attack is a camera. Forget bombs, poison gas, virus spores, etc. All you need is a cheap camera.

    Photos have been used throughout history to destroy things. You look at the photo, then chant some incantation over it, then the subject magically vanishes. Routemaster Buses, The Pyramids, parts of Stonehenge, Bigfoot, Nessy, whole tribes in Africa all vanished after they were photographed!

    Thank the lord we have upstanding diligent Police Officers protecting us from such evil!!!

  64. blackworx
    WTF?

    Fantastic

    I have read or skimmed through every single comment here and (small comfort though it is) there's not one single person speaking out in support of the police's behaviour in this and many, many other instances of harrassment.

    I remember when stories like this started appearing occasionally in the news pages of Amateur Photographer a few years ago, and at the time thinking: "wow, that's just insane" but as the months have passed the same thing is happening more and more frequently.

    To begin with it seemed like it was always over-zealous and under-informed PCSOs who were at the centre of these incidents, but now just as often it's "proper" police officers.

    If things carry on like this, I should stop worrying about IF it will happen to me and instead start planning for WHEN it happens to me.

    @AC 12:15: That is a fantastic idea and one which I think may very well happen if the police keep acting like this.

  65. Scott 51
    Thumb Up

    Just the begining

    If this were happening in my country these cops might be looking down the barrel of a .45 then turned over to their supervisors while placed under citizens arrest.

    In many states you can legally carry a concealed weapon. In my state of Michigan I carry a .45 auto by Para-Ord. Me and others who "carry" work with our police dept. to deter crime and keep our police honest, well, most of the time anyways. But, as they say, "absolute power corrupts absolutley".

    It's amazing how much respect I get from law enforcment when confronted. I wish everyone could see the look on a cops face when they realize they are talking with someone who is armed the same as they are--legally. Very funny indeed. Very equalizing and puts everyone on the same level. Because I have found that all cops think they know everything, thats what they think anyways, in all countries. Its amazing what happends when issues a badge. Your assumed IQ goes up 100 points--perceved in their head.

    In case you're all wondering how crazy Americans gets a license to carry. See this site, this is where I took the class for the test.

    http://www.silverbulletfirearms.com/

    BTW, I carry a camera also.

    To bad there is no site for cops to teach them how to treat the people they are supposed to protect.

    Good luck to all in the protest--I hope you all make changes for the better. Here in the states we are fighting this STUPID patriot act. An act to prevent "terrorist" from doing what ever they do...ya right....more power for the politicians and law enforcement. Thats what it is.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    It's good to see so many speak out against the police...

    ...But there is still a lot of indifference out there and while that persists, the police - now no more than hired footsoldiers for a dangerously misguided and out-of-touch government - will continue to behave with total impunity towards ordinary members of the public.

    Perhaps next time any of you see a government minister or a police spokesperson mugging in front of TV news cameras about the 'dangers' of terrorism and all those 'predatory' paedophiles about to snatch away our kids, and why exactly there is a need for yet more new law to 'protect' us all from these alleged dangers, more surveillance, more CRB checks, more suspicion everywhere one looks... perhaps next time you'll have some pause for thought.

    I hold the Police to blame, spineless Government Ministers, a poisonous media riven with agendas and self-interest and countless advocacy groups who lie and misinform their way onto the news agenda on a daily basis.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Something else

    When did CCTV operators become the arbiters of Law & Order? Some guy is taking photos so some muppet in a CCTV monitoring room decides the Police should attend. I can imagine that would have been an interesting conversation.

    "Errr nothing much happening, guys. There's a bloke in the High Street with a camera, though."

    "A bloke in the High Street? With a camera? He might hijack the High Street and fly it into Nelsons Column. ROLL THE WAGONS!"

    Couldn't we build something like a Haven or a Butlins for these clowns? Instead of swimming pools and roller-coasters we could have pop-up suspicious characters and impromptu cheeky chappies who 'think they're clever or something'.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8163387.stm

  69. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Papers please...

    "failure to provide ID is likely to lead to his arrest" ... and ... "there was a need to establish the identity of the man in question"

    So much for Freedom and Liberty in the UK. Getting watched by police cameras who then send police to force people to identify themselves?! ... They are behaving like the Gestapo!?!!

    The definition of Authoritarian: "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom." ... which is exactly what we've now got in the UK.

    Also we have ... "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin (17 January 1706 – 17 April 1790) ... yet over 200 years later the UK is making the exact same mistakes!!! .... WHEN WILL THE ARRAGANT POLITICAL ELITE EVER LEARN?!?!!

    Liberty is fundamentally important. Its not something we can give away to anyone for any reason!

    For example, Clause 29 of the Magna Carta! : "NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right." - The Magna Carta 1215 ... so 794 years ago they also considered Liberty of fundamental importance! ... (So what of the 800th year soon to come?!)

    The control freak politicians need to learn that every attempt at control creates a pressure for change away from that control. Therefore the more control the political elite place on all our lives the more public anger their arrogant control freak attitude will keep building up against themselves, until it'll reach breaking point.

    The idea the UK could see a full scale revolution was once unthinkable. But given the near continuous way the UK is plunging into a police state, its sadly becoming ever more probable. The MP expenses argument showed just how much public anger has already built against them. So combine the MPs arrogant, self serving corruption with their very evident continued destruction of Freedom and Liberty and the outright total annihilation of any kind of privacy. Then is it any wonder ever more anger is building up against all control freak politicians regardless of which party they are in.

  70. Catkins
    Linux

    @blackworx

    The response to this on El Reg has been unanimous. However at the blog of Alex Turner, giant photographer, you'll see there are a couple of posters who are, er, not exactly on his side. I shall reproduce the best responses. Read and weep - as much for the spelling as the sentiment!

    "What a joke i think your taking this a bit far she was doing her job, you bought this on yourself, if you had just provided the information required of you there would have been no need for all this embarrassment on your part. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what does a terrorist look like? no one knows, also as a parent i would have had the concern that there could have been an alterior motive for you taking these photos, i would have done exactly the same in this situation as the officer that took action. If you had been taking photos of an uninnocent nature then she’d have been hailed a hero. It is unfortunate in todays world that we can not take pictures where we choose to do so but with things the way they are you just can’t, so i salute her and would like to thank her for having the courage to do the job that she does and making sure that our community is a safe one."

    "As a parent i wouldn’t be in the higt street taking pictures of childen or anyone it’s not right not now days and if i wasn’t doing anything wrong i would provide ID the police are doing there job! This country is a joke i can’t see how you all think this is ok!"

    "This country is running amok that’s why it’s the way it is we need the police to do more if anything. I’m glad the police took this in to there own hands. Maybe next time you’re show them your ID?"

  71. Catkins
    Linux

    And here's yet another example of abuse

    An architectural photographer held under the Terrorism Act for 45 minutes for taking pictures of a historic police station - despite having informed the the station immediately beforehand what he was up to as a matter of courtesy.

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-architectural-photographer-as-terrorist

    "They interpreted my hands-in-pockets stance on that cold morning as possibly concealing a knife, while my questions to them about why my name was being taken and radioed to a police switchboard were interpreted as being "obstructive" and "resisting the enquiry". Their clumsy conduct and doctrinaire manner implied that I was guilty and that nothing I could say could change this"

    I particularly loved this bit:

    "As it ended, the officers' mood moved from the suspicious to the chummy..... but it was his last comment - an apology for having been "in his police-officer mode" - that most shocked me. For if the belligerent and unyielding stance previously displayed is now the police norm - along with its absence of everyday understanding, intuitive sense of the situation, ability to respond to available evidence, and everyday respect - what kind of treatment of the public becomes "normalised" in more stressful situations, such as the G20 protests where police actions are now being investigated in three separate cases?"

  72. Tawakalna
    Grenade

    @catkins..

    good work there chum pointing out the other pov which I'm afraid to say is more likely to be the majority, apart from enlightened organs such as El Reg. My idiot BNP-voting Daily Mail reading father-in-law, whose company I can barely tolerate, also spotted these very same opinions not an hour ago on the basis of, "well, we're at war, the Police have every right to protect us from terrorists, you can't be too careful when you're at war!"

    FFS.

    oh and I note that plenty of comments giving the contrary pov include that weary phrase "As a parent" as if it gives some magic insight into international terrorism and jurisprudence denied to those who have not yet managed to fertilize an egg with some sperm. I've been a parent for 22 years, does that give me special powers?

    mind you "as a mother" is even more annoying.

    @Ascylto - still reading chum? I think you're Aaron Krempf in disguise!

  73. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Grenade

    Obvious answer...

    Go back to using film cameras - then at least the Pigs will have to pay for the film processing...

  74. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    @Catkins

    Hmmmm, somebody using the plod-o-tron methinks....

  75. steogede
    FAIL

    ID

    I seem to recall, from reading his blog, that this is the eleventh or twelth time that he has been stopped. You would have thought that they know who he was by now, without requiring ID. I guess all the pot that they have been smoking must have had an effect on their memory.

    @ Tom 15

    > Why would anyone possibly want to prevent terrorist offences from taking place in Chatham?

    That's a good point, but then again, why anyone want to take photos of Chatham - except to terrify anyone who saw the said photos?

  76. blackworx
    Alert

    @ Catkins

    10 headdesk

    20 goto 10

    Also, lol @ "uninnocent".

  77. Chimpofdoom!
    WTF?

    Holiday...

    So the ultimate question...

    Will I face these problems in London??

    Given that I'm going there with a handful of Scottish bank notes, an accent that no one will understand (it's not Scottish before you ask) and my DSLR for taking tourist snaps..

    Perhaps I should ask them for s44 Authorisation after they ask for my I.D.

    Maybe.. just maybe the only way to get away with taking photo's is to be wearing a tracksuit with matching baseball cap, brandishing a cheap bottle of plonk and using a mobile phone??

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @blackworx and Catkins

    If you knew some of the residents of Chatham, the poster on Alex's blog who claims to be a parent is most likely a 14 year old girl with at least 1 kid, and a very loose grip on how the real world works, or what human rights are. Their most advanced level of education is being able to sign for their Giro each week. Please don't let them hijack this debate.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Police Force entrance qualifications?

    As a foreigner working in the UK a few years now, it has always struck me as odd how unprofessional and shabby UK police (almost universally) look. It seems like they let anyone in provided their IQ isn't too far above 100. Community Support Officers? HAHAHAHA, it's funny how they wear a different uniform to spare the proper filth feeling like losers.

    Unkempt, unshaven, out of shape, small, pathetic. In my country of origin there is fierce competition for applicants to police academies. Don't get me wrong swine are swine everywhere, but at least officers at home are generally in shape, have post-secondary education, and go about their business with some decorum and pride in their uniform, not knock-kneed flat footed slobs with bellys sticking out between their trousers and stab vest, or 4 foot tall women who show no discernible ability to protect themselves let alone the public.

    Given the innumerable additional illegalities thanks to Labour, coupled with the murky text of the law thanks to that lying coward Blair and the distinctly average mental capacity of the plod on the street, it gives me pause about the state of this country in the not too distant future. Good thing I can fuck off home any time I like.... sorry for the rest of you!

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Journalists have all left?

    Other than the occasional "facts only" reporting in papers and perhaps BBC, there doesn't appear to be any prominent role in England for investigative work by reporters, writers or journalists, and apparently little perceived duty by publishers to take an active stance against government abuses against individual rights. (Television news anchors don't count, merely pleasantly reading from a teleprompter what they are instructed to say.)

    As an avid photographer of architecture (interior and exterior) and scenery, I also wonder why officials fail to recognize that people like me will not visit places (at significant personal expense) where I can do so without being molested. Though I have been on several holidays in England and Scotland before police went out of control, my choice now is to visit elsewhere where I and my camera will be welcome.

  81. Phil Standen
    Stop

    What if he hadn't had any ID?

    No, seriously. I quite often go out with just my phone keys and some cash. My name is not 16GB, Yale or H.R.H Queen Elizabeth.

    If I saw something interesting I would take a picture with said phone.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @MinionZero

    Damn it you beat me to the "papers please" reference!

    "The idea the UK could see a full scale revolution was once unthinkable. But given the near continuous way the UK is plunging into a police state, its sadly becoming ever more probable."

    Unfortunately most people will whine and bitch about the current state of affairs for a while before apathy sets in and they return to the couch to watch some brain-rotting reality show or Murdoch-approved news channel.

    Maybe, eventually, the creeping power of the police state will encroach into something they enjoy doing, but it might be too late by then. Most sheeple don't really give a shit about this stuff as long as there's football every Saturday and their favourite TV shows are on. You can bet that those things won't be messed with until all other liberties are long gone.

    That whirring noise you can hear is the sound of all the deceased British WW2 veterans spinning in their graves.

  83. I didn't do IT.
    Big Brother

    A quick guide to peaceful attention

    Interesting that most of the sentiments here call for remonstration of the figures of authority, but always from a third person perspective. It seems that "common" insistence of your civil liberties is no longer so common. Born after Brixton, Woodstock, or even the Gas Crisis, I was not "there" for the peaceful resistence movements against the police and military that were rampant then. But, I am a "Merikin" and "I am not a lawyer/solicitor", and I do have a bit of the passive resistence streak in me, so here is what I can think of off the top of my head:

    1. Stay in teams. Camera phones are ubiquitous. If one person is photographing their environment (artistic or not!) legally, there is no right for any authority figure to restrain. The other person needs to record the event to give an unbiased account. Having several people do this is even more effective, and even better if many can do it *while being blatant about it*. Intimidation needs an air of secrecy to be effective. The thought that no one knows (or cares) is what propogates this attitude with the police. Knowing that their actions *are being observed publicly* will make them consider what they are doing "for the public good".

    2. Distribute cheap disposible cameras in mass quanitites. You could probably even get some shops in on it (anonymously), as a "community building exercise". Having five, fifty or five hundred individuals taking snaps throughout a large public area could very well have the plods in apoplexy. And all legal, thank you very much.

    3. The point of all this is to CALL ATTENTION TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS. Police propogate dissention against those they target by their very focus; if the police are "questioning" someone, everyone else is expected to not notice, or worse, expected to believe that "something happened". If you are stopped by a policeman, call out to your mate(s), "Hold on, this police officer ... officer (read off their name tag) would like to have a word with me. I will catch up with you later!" EVEN IF YOU ARE ALONE. If you really don't have anyone else there, calmly respond to their (inevitable) question of who you were calling to, "I thought I saw a friend of mine. Didn't expect them, but was going to ask them to lunch/dinner/pub". If you were mistaken and that was NOT who you thought, you are not to blame, eh? The point is other people will stop and look at what is happening. Even if they don't care, it forces attention onto the policeman's actions, and reminds them of that attention. If you know the person being "conversed with", ACKNOWLEDGE THEM. Stop, wave, can call them by name if you can. Make enough noise that others notice that you noticed them. Ask THE PERSON if it will be long before you can chat with them. By focusing the attention on the police and their actions and reminding them of their own individuality, they lose some of the "blue shield" mentality because you force them to think like a person and not a badge, even if only a minute.

    Be polite at all times. By being a common, friendly British Citizen(r)*, you should show respect, but not blind obedience. They are *not* your betters, they are your *employees*, doing the job *you* pay them to do. If they ask for identification, respond calmly,

    "As you are a police officer, I am sure you have been informed by your superiors of the various scams being commited by persons impersonating police officers lately. [I read about them in the Mail/Sun/etc,] and as per the suggestion of the Home Office's spokesman in the article, I humbly request that you show me proof of your position as well, [even if you are in uniform,] sir... Sorry, I can't remember which issue; it was a couple weeks ago."

    By all means show your ID, BUT DEMAND THE SAME "COURTESY" OF YOUR EMPLOYEE. This reminds them that as a British Citizen(r)*, you are ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH THE OFFICER. Call them BY NAME and RANK throughout the event, respectfully, as a way of completely addressing the individual you are talking to, NOT THE BADGE. The only reason a police officer can hide behind a badge IS IF YOU LET THEM.

    It may be helpful to memorize (Is there a TEST?!) parts of this: the Pledge of the Met.

    http://www.met.police.uk/pledge/pledge_transcript.pdf

    Though it is obstensibly "only" for Met London police, it is a matter of professional pride of any member of the British Military (including the Police) to not contradict the words of a superior officer ON RECORD. Particularly, you might be interested in the bits on Page 2 where, "We will introduce ourselves," "we will tell you what is going to happen and why," and "We will give you a reference number and a contact number."

    * Yes, it is becoming a registered title, as your personal information is being registered as we speak. By the by, I hereby release this comment posting to be reproduced at will for the purposes of educating the public, to the extent allowed by the Register.

  84. KaD
    Big Brother

    I couldn't say it better myself...

    The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Sceptical Bastard

    You're too right. This bloke has been lucky. Only two strikes and he's still alive.

    There will be a demonstration.

    Lots of coppers will show up.

    Lots of public will show up.

    This bloke will show up.\

    Coppers will do a "Tomlinson" on him.

    Problem solved.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Anyone Remember Constable Savage?

    See

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxMZZK0ol-E

    Shame it's really like this now :(

  87. jake Silver badge

    Brixton? Pikers.

    Judging by the attitude that all the Brits I know (and when I say all, I mean just that, ALL of 'em) towards the current events and the British authorities in general, I kinda suspect that when the people of the UK finely get off their arses and scream ENOUGH!, it's going to make the various Brixton Riots look like a mild disturbance.

    If I were in a position of power in the UK, I'd either be getting out and going civilian, quaking in my boots, or blindly stumbling along with current policy & procedure, unaware that the rest of the UK absolutely hates them with a passion that is deepening by the day. Or hour, perhaps.

    Might be a good time to take that 12 month sabbatical ... Or if you are younger, try to get enrolled in an exchange program overseas. I predict it's going to get ugly before it gets better. And probably sooner rather than later.

    Before you poo-poo this, consider how many people above agree with the police. Now consider how many people you know agree with the actions taken by them. Now ask yourself how many people approve of their political leadership. I suspect the trigger point is nearly here ...

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Don't make their life easy

    Think I'll dig out my old film SLR. They are welcome to inspect the photos I've taken if they want to pay for them to be developed.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    But the Lord comandeth it so...

    God watches you all, camera or no.

    The Police are just following divine law!

  90. ShaggyDoggy

    CCTV

    The point being missed here is, under what authority do the 'CCTV operators' allow to contact police and inform them of .... oh wait, the only way that can work is that the CCTV-ers are actually working for the police

  91. Mark 113

    @ Chris Hunt

    'So if they ask nicely, and it isn't too inconvenient, I don't mind telling them who I am and showing whatever ID I might have on me (if any). I know I don't have to, but if it gets him out of my hair so be it. If he wants a look at my pics, that's probably OK too if I don't have anything better to do.'

    One small detail here, one which I dont think this site made quite clear, but was pride of place in showing how incompetent the Police in the initial incident actually were in the Amateur Photographer article on the subject.

    It was a film camera. he couldnt show them what he was taking photos of even if he wanted to.

  92. MnM

    The 15th

    1) Will Joanna Lumley be there? Should be a baton free zone if you need a break

    2) Can I buy El Reg 'Anonymous Coward' t-shirts? Perhaps with a crossed out 'Meh' on the back?

    @I didn't do IT: Good idea to bring disposable cameras, though I'll also bring my mobile along so I can MMS a few pics out sharpish.

    I'm hoping for a protest, not agro, but people seem very unhappy.

  93. displacedtexan

    What's the harm?

    Regardless of how tall the photographer is, or of how innocent his actions may have been, I think if the police ask for ID you’d be stupid not to give it. What’s the harm, unless you’re up to some nefarious activity?

  94. andy 45
    Thumb Down

    @Catkins

    Have you noticed that none of the people you are quoting have got a clue how to construct a hafl-decent english sentence and there is hardly a whiff of punctuation.

    That tells me something...

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Taxidermy

    I suggest that he carries a supply of cards entitling the police to FREE TAXIDERMY and hands them out as necessary to the examining coppers. Whilst not actually sasying it he would be inviting the miscreants to Get Stuffed.

  96. I didn't do IT.
    WTF?

    @displacedtexan

    What's the harm? I can't believe you are from Texas, sir! The very idea that you *agree* to assume that anyone on the street is guilty of something is perposterous. That lapse of Texan common sense and pride in being free must mean you have been too long displaced...

    Having faith in your government does not excuse the police from acting in accordance to the law, nor does it mean blind subservience to "the law". I would have thought the acts of Sherrif John Clark, of Mason County, TX (in 1875) was adequate proof still today to not trust law enforcement that was corrupt (enciting lynch mobs against men without trial, using an "iron fist" to enforce racial prejudices and personal agendas, etc.). The actions of Scott Cooley of the Texas Rangers, supposedly the one faction that was to embody peacekeeping and fairness, then used his position and name to impose a deadly personal vendetta in response, escalating the conflict.

    Though the offical records of the "Mason County War" were destroyed in the 1877 fire of the Mason County courthouse to conceal the depth of the scandal, enough people kept talking about it (and enough died) that most is still known. Full details here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mason_County_War

    All because of tensions started because of the implicit trust (or is that fear?) put into overbearing law enforcement...

    The point is not "Anyone not up to some nefarious activity should have nothing to fear", but "A free man should not be constantly considered a criminal."

    What have YOU done that you simply have not been caught yet? Nothing? Prove it, sir. How? Well, then if you can't then enter the police van nicely, sir...

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @displacedtexan

    "Regardless of how tall the photographer is, or of how innocent his actions may have been, I think if the police ask for ID you’d be stupid not to give it. What’s the harm, unless you’re up to some nefarious activity?"

    You're trolling, right? I mean, that's the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument you're peddling right there.

    Try this: "Regardless of how tall the photographer is, or of how innocent his actions may have been, I think if the stasi ask for your papers you’d be stupid not to give them. What’s the harm, unless you’re up to some nefarious activity?"

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Smile Please! You're Free!

    Something I remembered recently.

    Many, many years ago, back in the '80s, back in the Cold War, when I was at school, a state comprehensive, a teacher once told us how lucky we were. Lucky to live in a country where we didn't have to pretend to be happy.

    She told us how there were many countries where people had to pretend to be happy. They would have to smile for official photographs, pretending to be happy living in those countries, when actually they were far from happy. And they smiled, for fear of getting into trouble with the authorities. The result was plenty of official photographs of smiling citizens, all apparently happy.

    But that's not how it is here, we were told. We didn't have to pretend to be happy. If we chose not to smile, we didn't have to smile. If we were unhappy, we were free to show it. How lucky we were, she told us, to be living in this "free" country.

    I also remember another occasion. It was the day of school photos. I remember a girl being shouted at by teachers because she refused to smile.

    I know I'm free, because the State told me so.

  99. Catkins
    Linux

    Another interesting Development

    Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishley the Area Commander for Medway has now issued a statement to Amateur Photographer.

    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Arrested_photographer_Police_chief_speaks_out_news_286714.html

    Despite the fact that the Professional Standards department - you know, the one under his control - is still investigating the matter, he's decided that the police have done nothing wrong and it's perfectly fine to arrest people if they refuse to give their details to council jobsworths.

    "I wish make absolutely clear that my officers were well placed in a situation where I truly believe the vast majority of the public would expect them to find out what the circumstances were, not least when Mr Turner's behaviour had generated suspicion with local council employees and he had refused to reveal his identity. "

    Well that's OK then and we can have complete confidence in the ability of the police to investigate themselves. No chance of a senior officer pre-empting the results of an investigation in order to send a message to his subordinate officers. Move along now, nothing to see here......

  100. elderlybloke
    Happy

    If I become a Terrorist

    I will be intelligent enough to take photos of my intended target without being bloody obvious.

    I am short,with white hair(what there is left of it) and wobbly. Perfect disguise .

    Would any terrorist actually need to take photos of his/her own, we now all have Google , who have done it for us. Aerial shots as well as street level.

    Actually down here in New Zealand , the coppers are not bothered about it.

  101. chloe44

    ha ha paranoia

    Police bullying photographers

    Posted Sunday 26th July 2009 14:50 GMT

    Ha ha, I find it absoulutely astounding that you really think the police like to bully photographers! Where is the logic in that? This article seems to be written by someone very paranoid. 90% of the time when the police attend if someone is photographing buildings, it is in response to a call from a member of the public, who has seen that activity and finds it suspicious. All that needs to be done is to provide ID and then you can photograph what the hell you like (within reason). Generally only people who have something to hide would refuse to do this, thus generating a suspicion that either a. the person has committed an offence or b. is using the information he/she has obtained for the purpose of an act of terorism or some other offence.

    Most law abiding citizens understand, in this day and age, why a police officer needs to be satisfied there is a legitimate purpose behind the activity. The country has been under a high terrorism alert for some time, and most members of the public, who the police are accountable to, would expect an officer to question why the activity was taking place.

    Once the ID is established the person would be allowed to continue. Under the freedom of information Act, if you want to find out what the police have done with any information obtained about you, you are free to do this.

    It is a fact that in the past terrorists have taken photos of intended targets. So would you rather the police let you and them continue unchecked?

    What is your problem? If a person asks for ID for you to get in a pub, or draw money or get a credit card do you go through this palava? Hey! lets demonstrate outside the bank! I'm up for that one whoopee!

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    Ha ha, I find it absoulutely astounding that you really think the police like to bully photographers! Where is the logic in that? This article seems to be written by someone very paranoid. 90% of the time when the police attend if someone is photographing buildings, it is in response to a call from a member of the public, who has seen that activity and finds it suspicious. All that needs to be done is to provide ID and then you can photograph what the hell you like (within reason). Generally only people who have something to hide would refuse to do this, thus generating a suspicion that either a. the person has committed an offence or b. is using the information he/she has obtained for the purpose of an act of terorism or some other offence.

    Most law abiding citizens understand, in this day and age, why a police officer needs to be satisfied there is a legitimate purpose behind the activity. The country has been under a high terrorism alert for some time, and most members of the public, who the police are accountable to, would expect an officer to question why the activity was taking place.

    Once the ID is established the person would be allowed to continue. Under the freedom of information Act, if you want to find out what the police have done with any information obtained about you, you are free to do this.

    It is a fact that in the past terrorists have taken photos of intended targets. So would you rather the police let you and them continue unchecked?

    What is your problem? If a person asks for ID for you to get in a pub, or draw money or get a credit card do you go through this palava? Hey! lets demonstrate outside the bank! I'm up for that one whoopee!

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  102. chloe44

    ha ha paranoia

    Police bullying photographers

    Posted Sunday 26th July 2009 14:50 GMT

    Ha ha, I find it absoulutely astounding that you really think the police like to bully photographers! Where is the logic in that? This article seems to be written by someone very paranoid. 90% of the time when the police attend if someone is photographing buildings, it is in response to a call from a member of the public, who has seen that activity and finds it suspicious. All that needs to be done is to provide ID and then you can photograph what the hell you like (within reason). Generally only people who have something to hide would refuse to do this, thus generating a suspicion that either a. the person has committed an offence or b. is using the information he/she has obtained for the purpose of an act of terorism or some other offence.

    Most law abiding citizens understand, in this day and age, why a police officer needs to be satisfied there is a legitimate purpose behind the activity. The country has been under a high terrorism alert for some time, and most members of the public, who the police are accountable to, would expect an officer to question why the activity was taking place.

    Once the ID is established the person would be allowed to continue. Under the freedom of information Act, if you want to find out what the police have done with any information obtained about you, you are free to do this.

    It is a fact that in the past terrorists have taken photos of intended targets. So would you rather the police let you and them continue unchecked?

    What is your problem? If a person asks for ID for you to get in a pub, or draw money or get a credit card do you go through this palava? Hey! lets demonstrate outside the bank! I'm up for that one whoopee!

  103. Lewis Paragraph
    Troll

    @chloe44

    Looks like someone just walked over your bridge.

  104. Catkins
    Linux

    @Chloe44

    Hi Chloe,

    A couple of things in response to your post. Yes, I'm afraid that sometimes the police do have nothing better to do than to bully photographers! It's unfortunate that a certain percentage of the population are bullying little jobsworths, and some of those will end up in the police - with a wide range of powers to make people's lives a misery.

    If you have an interest in photography you will have noticed that there has been a huge increase in police harasssment of photographers. Specialist magazines aimed at amateur photographers now regularly carry legal advice for dealing with the police (they never used to) and professional bodies such as the BJP and NUJ have been making their concerns known for ages. Even MPs have expressed concern that everyone from press photographers to hapless tourists have been illeaglly targetted by the boys and girls in blue. You may be unaware of this.

    With regard to your comment "all that needs to be done is to provide ID and then you can photograph what the hell you like" - I think this cuts to the heart of the problem. Simply, identity does not prove intent. The guy was either acting illegally or he wasn't - knowing that he was called Alex is totally irrelevant. This is recognised by law. The Terrorism Act specifically states that random checks can be done under Section 44, but that the person searched has no legal obligation to provide ID. He was specifically arrested to ascertain ID - he was arrested for something which was not an offence.

    If a terrorist was interested in sneakily photographing a target they wouldn't stand in the middle of the high street in broad daylight taking snaps with a big semi-professional rig. Of a chip shop.

    If I want to draw money from my bank account, I accept a check on my identity in that circumstance is both necessary and proportinate. It's not the same as being asked to account for myself by anonymous council security men, PCSOs and police officers for perfectly legal public behaviour And no, I wouldn't use a pub that asks for my ID!

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