back to article Top cop's 'stop stopping snappers' memo: Too little too late?

As yet another senior copper reads the riot act to his fellow officers over the policing of photographers, concerns are growing amongst senior ranks that this is all too little too late – and that serious damage has now been done to relations with the public over this issue. John Yates, Assistant Commissioner Specialist …

COMMENTS

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  1. Gav
    Alert

    Hold the front page!

    Daily Mail concerned that foreigners in our country had their rights violated!! Is this some sort of parallel universe I've woken up in??

    Though, right enough, they were Austrian tourists, not suspiciously skinned scroungers. So that's all right then.

    Still, Daily Mail in genuine story that isn't just scare and outrage mongering!!!

  2. Whitter

    ACPO

    Is it just me that is concerned that the ACPO is effectively setting policy? That should be the Home Secretary's job. The ACPO is just talk shop for the chief officers and should have absolutely no authority what-so-ever.

  3. Stef 4

    Really?

    "serious damage has now been done to relations with the public over this issue."

    And what will the effects of this serious damage be? A stiff letter to their respective MPs? An article in Reg?

    I agree that they are totally out of line, but I can't believe that there are going to actually be any repercussions about the break down in relations. Come the new year a police officer will be stabbed, and the media will be full of news about the heroes in blue, then they will foil a terrorism plot. Then someone will die in a stoeln car while being chased by police and the whole process will start all over again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what will the effects be?

      Don't trivialise it, please try and consider the issues like a grown-up for a minute. Police acting in an ultra vires manner has a chilling effect upon the good order of a free and democratic society, and erodes trust and the very fabric of society itself. The effects will be systemic and initially subtle, by the time people like you even notice, it will likely be too late.

      It's not exactly rocket surgery, unless Clarkson is about the loftiest intellectual level that you can handle.

      1. Cameron Colley

        Which is bad for the police how?

        As the OP says, it's not actually going to cause any problems for the police -- society as a whole has already been damaged by this but I don't hear of the police suffering.

      2. Stef 4
        WTF?

        eh?

        "Don't trivialise it, please try and consider the issues like a grown-up for a minute. Police acting in an ultra vires manner has a chilling effect upon the good order of a free and democratic society, and erodes trust and the very fabric of society itself. The effects will be systemic and initially subtle, by the time people like you even notice, it will likely be too late.

        It's not exactly rocket surgery, unless Clarkson is about the loftiest intellectual level that you can handle."

        I'm sorry you've lost me.

        1) "Don't trivialise it, please try and consider the issues like a grown-up for a minute." What did I trivialise.

        2) " The effects will be systemic and initially subtle, by the time people like you even notice, it will likely be too late." I asked what the effects of the general public losing faith in the police were likely to be, and you responded with this. Not only are you did you misunderstand my question, you didn't even answer the question you thought I asked, you instead gave a vague line about it being subtle. What will be subtle?. And what exactly are "People like you?" I take it you are against mixed-race photographers in the UK?

        3) "It's not exactly rocket surgery" I am unfamiliar with rocket surgery. Is some amalgamation of brain surgery and rocket science? Are there many practitioners of both?

        4) "unless Clarkson is about the loftiest intellectual level that you can handle." Clarkson who? You'll have to give me his/her full name if you expect people to understand your references.

        As you decided to misunderstand what I asked, I'll ask it again in terms even you should be able to understand:

        The article mentioned that the general public has already lost faith (quite rightly) in the police for their photographer-arresting antics and their interpretation of the law (and for arresting people for being too tall). Now, what exactly are the effects of this public dissatisfaction? The article was titled Too little Too late. If it is too late, what are the repercussions? Where are the protests and calls for resignation from the public?

      3. Trevor 10
        Coat

        the loftiest of intellects

        "It's not exactly rocket surgery, unless Clarkson is about the loftiest intellectual level that you can handle."

        He is quite tall.

        1. Rob
          FAIL

          BIG FAIL

          Can everyone stop using Clarkson and the word intellectual in the same sentence they just don't go together.

    2. Paul RND*1000

      The effects?

      Oh, there will be repercussions alright. They won't be apparent for a while, at least not in a widespread way. But they will come if police forces continue doing what they've been doing.

      They will come when enough of the general public become aware of repeated situations in which police far overstepped their bounds. The repercussions will be measured in loss of trust and respect, without which the police will have a hell of a time actually policing.

      When the Daily Fail is picking up on this ongoing storyline and deciding it needs to give its readers a handy cut-out-and-carry guide to their rights, every police force in the country should be taking a step back and thinking "oh crap, we need to really fix this right now or we're stuffed".

      Maybe, for a change, the Fail might just have done some good. We'll see.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, sorry

        Their readers - and the rest of the 'law abiding', 'right thinking' 'upright citizens' want to BELIEVE in the Govt., the Police, the Armed Forces, Britannia. They want to be comforted, to know they can carry on living without having to think about anything more serious than what to have for dinner, where to go on holiday, etc. Life being hard brings interruptions they'd rather have done without, but at base they want FAITH in the authorities. So yet more of the same hollow promises of reform and style over substance policy making and middle England will jump at the chance to believe it was all a big misunderstanding and all is right again.

        And next time they'll put their hands over their ears and go 'la la la la la!' and leave it for their children to stand up and be counted.

        That is why they voted for Thatcher. Over and over. That is why they voted Blair in again.

        Anyone who doubts this should immerse themselves in Psychology. Read about the experiments in, notably, Obedience, and Conformity. Read them over and over and eventually you'll get it.

  4. Anonymous John

    Youtube video

    If that was genuine, I find it hard to believe that the stopee (?) was allowed to carry on filming the PCSO and police.

    On a general note, their attitude to photographers isn't the only reason they aren't trusted nowadays.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Met Anti-Photography Propaganda

    ""People have complained that they are being stopped when taking photographs in public places," said Yates. "These stops are being recorded under Stop and Account and under Section 44 of TACT. The complaints have included allegations that people have been told that they cannot photograph certain public buildings, that they cannot photograph police officers or PCSOs and that taking photographs is, in itself, suspicious.""

    Hardly surprising, given the Met's own propaganda: http://www.met.police.uk/campaigns/campaign_ct_2008.htm

    Also, I noticed that the officer in the excellent, linked YouTube video was a PCSO, not a constable, but a "Community Support Officer" - excellent zoom-in there! Was he exceeding whatever limited powers he has?

    Anyway, I'm absolutely outraged! But also delighted that she got enough on video to expose the blatant harassment that even plastic plods are dishing out.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thank you

    Thank you for this article (and link).

    I never thought I'd live to see the day when I would be printing out a Daily Mail article. (I've cut out the 'Know Your Rights' section and put it in my wallet).

    Being somewhat 'swarthy' in appearance, I don't even need to be in possession of a camera to get stopped by the police, so having these rights to hand is very useful.

  7. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    their attitude to photographers isn't the only reason they aren't trusted nowadays.

    Can anyone site an occasion when the police pro-actively investigated a case of 'Crime against a person?'

    When I had my laptop stolen I was told that 'This happens so often now we don't even bother to investigate it'

    But when it comes to posting out fixed penalty notices or cracking hippy skulls. The 999 is the only number you need.

    Funny when their bill comes along with my council tax they have a nice glossly leaflet telling me about all the local crime they solve, and then another story about them cooking the figures.... go figure!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      If you'd like an even more detailed cut out and keep guide

      http://photographernotaterrorist.org/bust-card/ might be helpful- good plain list of the dos and don'ts. Hope it helps.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Right on

      More like, 'This happens so often now, it really interferes with our core work - waiting by the roadside for people creeping over the speed limit!'

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pro-active policing

      When my boyfriend reported a street robbery (for Crime Reference Number purposes) but declined to revisit the particular Brixton side street at 3AM, they fined him for wasting police time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Police by consent?

    I think "police by consent" ended when they started criminalizing the simple act of possessing recreational drugs (other than alcohol and nicotine). A huge proportion of the population hates the police as a result.

    Oh, but now it's your middle-class journalist friends being stopped, so it's important all of a sudden.

    But you'll never really understand until the govt actually *criminalizes* taking photos, and starts locking people up for it. Otherwise, all the middle classes are getting here is a bit of light hassle. Oh, boo hoo.

    Go back to complaining about the iPhone Music Store's rules. El Reg's middle-class worldview won't sustain the idea that policing is breaking down for very long. It couldn't cope with global warming, after all.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That'll do much good.

    The simple, easy, non-mealy-mouthed solution is to say ``ignore the sodding law plz kthxbai''. But the poor chap can't do that, or he'll get fired for not toeing the party line. So much for justice being independent of lawmaking.

  10. Jaimie Harris

    Google Ads

    Love the google ads at the bottom of the Daily Mail piece. You may have to refresh a few times but I saw "Firearm Replicas" and "Best 9mm For Self-Defence"!

    1. Greg J Preece

      Word count

      Saying "middle class" every paragraph as if it were an insult of some kind marks you out as a bit of a dick. So, which end of the class war are you coming at this from, Che?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Isn't it obvious?

        Looks down on the middle classes, past history of recreational drug use, contempt for the free press...

        It's David Cameron, isn't it?

    2. Paul 4

      If you think everyone hates the police

      then you are with the wrong people. Reminds me of someone I once knew who was complaining that the police arrested him for possetion of a class A controled substence because of how he looked. It took him a good ten minets to get round to the fact that he was with a know drug dealer at the time, and he was given a caution (I was carrying a small about of coke that he had just got from said dealer).

      1. Trevor 10

        Not everyone hates them

        "If you think everyone hates the police then you are with the wrong people."

        I don't think it's hatred of the police, that is too strong of a term certainly.

        But at the same time, I don't know anyone who really thinks they are doing a good job either at the day to day community policing side of things. Where are the patrols around my community? the only place I even see a PCSO is walking to and from the station (within about 500 meters), I've never seen a real copper once - presumably the PCSOs are walking around town but I never ever see them - hardly high profile policing.

        While at the same time, they seem to have an endless budget for targetting speeding (which sometimes I agree with but sometimes it just feels like an easy target), kettling of legitimate lawful protests (which I've always felt the goal of which is to deter future protest) and running DNA databases which it seems like they are just itching to get your details onto.

        I know that some of that is a little unfair, the community policing doesn't run the traffic cameras or do the kettling or the DNA database, but the service as a whole, at a national level seems to have it's budgets the wrong way round.

        It's at the point where unless it's a serious crime (actual threat of harm to someone) then I wouldn't bother reporting anything to the police because I know from past experience that it's a waste of my time.

        Ironically, the sort of support that gets withdrawn by the public is exactly the support needed to help improve the service (if the police were interested in providing that service).

        It's self-harming cycle - the police get less support so don't do the sort of things the community really care about less because of a lack of information from the community. Who see the police aren't doing the things they care about so stop talking to the police.

        As mentioned further up in the comments, by the time this cycle really gets noticed, it's too late, you already have a generation who think at best the police are ineffective and at worse out to get you (See Traffic Speeds and DNA DB)

  11. kissingthecarpet
    Flame

    Watch the video -

    she wasn't able to film the bit where they "tuned her up" (as they say on NYPD blue ) for not doing as she was told by her masters and for being "cocky".

    @Anonymous john - she didn't film any actual police, only some pretend ones who aren't allowed to get physical. When the real scum turned up, she was prevented from filming and then assaulted. Words like "If" don't come into it .

  12. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Police by consent?

    Er, say what? I think your ire may be misplaced. I hope you're not suggesting we're Mail readers.

  13. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Alert

    The police and PCSO's

    Best avoided...

    1. seanj
      Grenade

      It's worse than that.

      I think he's implying that you're middle class.

      Woman: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.

      Dennis: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--

      Woman: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.

      Bless this, oh Lord, Thy Holy Hand Grenade....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The editorial...

      is more Mail-like on a daily basis...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    circulated

    "The message has been circulated to all Borough Commanders and published on the MPS intranet"

    Ok where do we get a hold of this message, I think it needs to be bill posted in as many public places as possible.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    What's wrong with photographing the filth

    They do it to us. What's good for the goose is also good for the gander.

    The Plastic Police are a total waste of space and have no real powers at all, all they are people in a uniform and mobile communication device. They have no powers of arrest, apart from those that apply to general public as a whole and I'm awaiting the first case of them being privately prosecuted for wrongful imprisonment and actual boldily harm.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Legendary

    I don't see that much has changed - the average copper had room temperature IQ when I was in college in the 70's - given their tendency to cross-breed with each other I'm surprised that you'd expect any improvement.

    Ah College... slipping a tab of sunshine into the undercover cops beer in the pub ... oh, how we laughed...

  17. nigel 15

    a (better) video of me...

    i actually thought the person in that youtube video was being somewhat deliberately provocative. Which may be their right, but the whole process could have been dealt with quickly and easily without any fuss if they'd been a little more co-operative and and a bit less dogged.

    in essence i felt that they were deliberately trying to trap the PCSO into exceeding there powers by being a jerk. Which to be is no better than police entrapment.

    this on the other hand is a video of me, as you can see i was completely compliant, i offered to stop filming, and he still threatened to take my phone.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aal4Dw7gYAs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      title

      Which is why the Police are trained with how to deal with the public?? Whereas their current policy seems to be escalating minor pointless issues into full blown fiascos. If the plod hadnt started provoking her with talk of terrorism and had just walked off then nothing would have happened and it wouldnt have made such a youtube "hit"......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re a (better) video of me...

      I'm sorry sir, but your post quite comprehensively explain why it's indeed *not* a better video. You did just what the police wants you to believe they have can make you do, thus reinforcing their impression that they can get away with it. And still they threatened to take your phone? Well, you had it coming. I'm afraid that sheepish behaviours such as yours in front of abuse of power is part of the problem, not the solution.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I fear that the rules of the game have already changed.

    I'm a white, middle class Londoner, offspring of a policeman. I'm also a photographer.

    I have to say that I no longer trust or respect the police at all, any more. I'm with Ice Cube on this one.

    (For the record, my ex-copper father also regards the current mess as <unprintable> stupid, too.)

  19. andy gibson
    Unhappy

    Youtube vid

    Is it me or is the PCSO just trying to wind up the photographer so he actually has a valid reason to detain or arrest her?

    It's the 21st century of the police stopping you in your car because they don't like the look of you or your vehicle, then put their foot through your back light and do you for having defective lights.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The message has been circulated to all Borough Commanders and published on the MPS intranet"

    Oh so that's all right then. Now all they need to do, is communicate this to each and every force, right down to LPT level.

    I think the relationship between the public and the police is almost as bad as it was during the miners' strikes.

    1. David Adams
      Unhappy

      reply

      "I think the relationship between the public and the police is almost as bad as it was during the miners' strikes."

      I assume you're from up north?

      A lot of people on here won't realise that the relationship between the public and the police was strained during the strikes.

      The Brave police were just doing their best to stop the Militant Miners and that communist Arthur Scargill from bringing the country to it's knees after all. </sarcasm>

      Besides, most of the southern coppers were up here cracking skulls.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Never believe all you saw back then!

      At the time of the miner's strikes I used to know a copper, he used to attend my archery club of places. He would often have to be sent "oop north" for a spell of playing with the miners. He said most of the time he would spend standing around chatting to the miners and just letting them get on with it. When the cameras turned up, the miners and coppers would have a quick 5 mins chat about they were going to do when the cameras came on. Cue cameras and ranks of coppers, linked arms appearing to hold back brawling miners! Mostly faked and staged to allow the miners to get their point across in front of the cameras.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Good grief

    "concerns are growing amongst senior ranks that this is all too little too late – and that serious damage has now been done to relations with the public over this issue." - any dimwit could have told them that two years ago.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plastic Plod

    In most of the cases I've read about the offending uniform has been a PCSO, not a genuine police orifice but some pretend copper with ideas above their station.

  23. Chris Harrison
    Coat

    Serves those austrians right.

    If members of the public can beat up a pediatrician, why wouldn't the police be out there roughing up tourists instead of terrorists?

    I blame all that diversity crap - there's bound to be a quota for dyslexics in the uk police force.

  24. Ad Fundum
    Pirate

    So they think it's not too late?

    "British police risk losing the battle for the public’s consent if they win public order through tactics that appear to be unfair, aggressive or inconsistent."

    Time to wake up and smell the Linda McCartney sausages, sunshine. To switch metaphors, that ship sailed some time ago.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you only take people who want the job

    I personally think that this is what you get when you systematically hire only the people who actually want this sort of job -- and the accompanying (low) pay.

    While I'm sure there are plenty of good cops; I'm less and less optimistic about the ratio of good to bad.

    I think the cure would be to require something like a "National Service" where everyone (and by everyone, I mean _everyone_, no exceptions) spends a year after they graduate from high school doing some sort of community service. Being a teacher's aid, rebuilding trails in parks, doing community policing, etc. Or enlist in the military, if that's your thing; even though it's more than a year. Even better would be to do your year when you turn 40.

    I always had a favorable impression of English police. Sorry to hear that this sort of nonsense has spread to your side of the pond.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Joke alert...

    Q. How many PCSOs does it take to change a light bulb?

    A. None, they'd have to call for a PC to provide back up.

  27. Fogcat
    Pirate

    Cut and Paste Journalism?

    Has anyone else noticed the similarity between the "bust Card" here

    http://photographernotaterrorist.org/bust-card/

    And the Mail's very "own" one?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235241/The-picture-land-jail-How-police-Big-Brother-Britain-treat-like-terrorist-taking-holiday-snaps.html

    They do mention the "'I'm a photographer not a terrorist" group but they don't credit the information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here, here!

      In countries like Finland, not sure but I believe you have a choice for national service. 9 months in the army or 18 months in the civil service, most people want to get it over with, so they simply take the army post!

  28. NukEvil
    Coat

    http://photographernotaterrorist.org/bust-card/

    I like the part where it says that a constable in uniform is entitled to remove her outer clothing...

    You can see a nice, graphical representation of someone doing just that in the accompanying icon...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    TACT????

    Bit ironic that the acronym for the legislation is "TACT"...

    –noun

    1. a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

    2. a keen sense of what is appropriate, tasteful, or aesthetically pleasing; taste; discrimination.

    3. touch or the sense of touch.

  30. Billy 8

    And yet today the Beeb are carrying this...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8414254.stm

    "Film of 'terror targets' released ... The footage was released to explain why police may stop people who are filming. "

  31. Scott 19
    Unhappy

    If i didn't

    Have to worry about an E-CRB check for my job i'd be out there protesting, catch-22 boys and girls, go against the establishment once and find yourself outside the 'Law' abiding society.'

    Its that slippery slope and we're at tipping point, Police doing what the hell they want and guberment not giving a s*it as long as you pay your taxes.

    And its a joke round here but if you gave the option that every UK citizen work up with a bar code on there head linked to a DB in UK.Gov central do you think them in power would vote 'yes'? (excluding themselves).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      The BBC are planning a feature on the "Italian affair"

      I know they're aware of the incident and are planning a feature - I relish the thought of Jeremy Paxman grilling the actual coppers involved, one by one. I'd buy a DVD of that..

      If this goes to court I'd gladly help with the defence fund.

  32. Gordon861

    BBC Article

    Very convienient bit of timing for the police : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8414254.stm

    And the suspects aren't in the UK anymore so they can't sue the police for liable either.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just photography...

    This isn't just about photography. And it's not at all about terrorism. It's about police forces so out of control, they're becoming a serious public nuisance - the kind of nuisance they're supposed to protect us from. Quota-led police forces addicted to cheap pinches. Police officers of a calibre that once would have disgraced a car-park attendant. PCSOs - often little more than failed traffic wardens - whose motives for joining up have more to do with petty power than crime prevention

    In my own area, I've seen sensible, conscientious officers gradually disappear, to be replaced with jobsworths I wouldn't trust to post a letter let alone fight crime. It's not coincidence - it's policy. Catch terrorists? Most of our local police couldn't catch common cold.

    The next time you're stopped - whether it's for photography of a dodgy rear light - ask around about what was happening - crime-wise - in the vicinity right then. There's a fighting chance you were simply an excuse for Mr Plod not being where he was damn well supposed to be...

    1. Stef 4

      @ John 186

      I find myself agreeing with you. While once I would have said that you were just rambling on about "Things ain't what they used to be..." I think you are pretty much spot on.

      As for PCSOs and 'specials', I think they are encouraged to do that role as a way to enter the police. But of course that will never happen as there will always be a reason to not accept them onto the force. Why would they pay them when they can get away with giving them peanuts to wear a uniform in public and dangle the carrot of full employment in their faces "Bad luck, you didn't get in this either. Try again next year, I'll see you on Saturday night as you patrol the city center."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        agree

        Couldn't agree more. I think these "volunteer" police forces should be more carefully selected. It does appear that the old adage, power corrupts....

        The way these people go ordering people around is an embarrassment to the UK. We are slowly becoming a police state.

    2. Anonymous John
      FAIL

      (untitled)

      Yes.

      "Two men were subsequently convicted of a huge mobile phone and luxury goods fraud scam and deported after serving prison sentences."

      This was only last year. Considering how long it takes to bring cases to trial, they weren't banged up for long, were they? Not for a huge fraud or terrorist offences.

      We just have to take Plod's word that it ever happened.

  34. davenewman
    Go

    Doesn't happen in Northern Ireland

    I don't know of anyone stopped for photographing public buildings in Northern Ireland. Photograph the private residence of a Policing Board member, on the other hand ...

    Most PSNI officers know the difference between a terrorist and a tourist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      The difference is less clear..

      ..if you have a slurry George Dubyah Boosh accent, sadly.

  35. Jamie Kitson

    "Justification" on the BBC just now

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8414254.stm

  36. Paul 4

    Police chase shot out flashy flashy shows

    already show a big place police are going wrong. They confuse assertivness with agressivness. It would be so much better if they were trained to deal with the public in a better way.

    I do not have a bad oppinion of the police, and I do not think the problem is down to inherant problems, but just to bad training, or lack of training. To many of them think that standing and shouting "shutit you slag" should get people to calm down, when all the need to do is say, in a calm voice "please do not speak to me like that." etc etc. I know it sounds like hippy crap, but people respond to aggresion with more aggresion or fear. Its part of being a human.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Terrorist Reconnaissance? Rubbish!

      That little video doesn't look like terrorist reconnaissance to me. Looks more like someone playing with a new video camera, trying it out, because they were too impatient to wait until they got home to take their shiny new toy out of its box and start playing with it. I really can't see how zooming in on a tube map (copies of which you can easily buy in shops), or filming adverts in a lift, is going to help terrorists.

      Or maybe the alleged terrorist was just disguising the reconnaissance video as someone just playing with their video camera? Fooled me! But then, if we start suspecting people just because they might, just possibly, be disguising their terrorist activity as just ordinary, mundane toying around with things, then we've allowed the terrorists to scare us into fearing ordinary, every day stuff. And, of course, ordinary, innocent people end up getting dealt with as terror suspects - just as various photographers are finding.

      And I can't say I'm convinced by the police line that the CPS could have done them for terrorism, but decided not to since it wouldn't have made a difference to the sentence. Sounds more like the police think we were all born yesterday. After all, why not charge and prosecute them for both fraud and terrorism?

      Seems to me the police are the real terrorists, trying to scare us into submission with their scary stories about terrorism.

  37. JMB

    ACPO plc

    ACPO have been setting police policy for years and often profiting from the policies.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Join the protest on January 23...

    The "I'm a Photographer, Not a Terrorist" campaign is having a mass protest on January 23 about this issue. 12 noon, Trafalgar Square (I know, ironic, isn't it).

    The fact is that it's not just the police who need a wakeup call, but rather the security companies too who are the ones calling the police in the first place after approaching the photographers aggressively (i.e. demanding ID and reasons to be there, which they have no authority doing, as opposed to simply asking for it politely, and possibly asking the photographer(s) to let them know ahead of time in the future).

    Society works on give-and-take, and it's only when it's the rent-a-coppers get involved do things get ugly.

    It's sad and it needs to be stopped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      da, comrade

      I might just do that. Good call.

  39. Jemma Silver badge
    FAIL

    ...Valid Reason....

    being...

    1. bearded

    2. black

    3.asian

    4. noticably gay or lesbian

    5. transgendered

    Me, Cynical? never...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Coincidence ?

    Suddenly as this story hits the daily papers, there is footage released from a planned terror attack, filmed on a mobile phone. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8414254.stm

    1. MadonnaC
      Flame

      (title)

      6. breathing

      7. moving

  41. hugo tyson

    Police push-back? (Justification on BBC just now)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8414254.stm

    "A suspected al-Qaeda gang was caught after a man was spotted filming potential targets on a mobile phone, police have said."

    but actually they were smugglers. Nontheless, they're using this case to big up their habit of stopping people taking pictures.

  42. J 3
    WTF?

    unless there is a valid reason

    "people taking photographs in public should not be stopped and searched unless there is a valid reason"

    Er... that says nothing... Unless "valid reason" is defined. Being too tall or having an SLR (you know, to look like the bad guys in the movies) seem to be valid ones, it would appear from past articles here.

    As an avid amateur photographer, I'm not feeling like ever visiting the UK to see my friends there.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    WTF???

    "The police said the CPS had decided there was sufficient evidence to bring terrorism charges, but it was not in the public interest because they would have received the same sentence as for fraud.

    Police believe the men may have been a fundraising and research arm of an al Qaeda-linked group in North Africa. "

    So Preparing for an Act of Terrorism, Fundraising for Terrorist Organisations and Conspiracy (apologies if those are not the correct charges, but you should get the picture) would result in the same sentence as fraud? Conspiracy is a minimum 10 years with no parole. I know that because I currently have a freind rotting in Brixton High Security for another 8 years on a Conspiracy charge.

    *shakes head sadly*

  44. Martin Nicholls Silver badge
    FAIL

    Beh

    "Still, Daily Mail in genuine story that isn't just scare and outrage mongering!!!"

    Well they're scare and outrage mongering, but it's a genuine story too.

    The best thing to do if you like to get stopped and asked what you're doing is to take photos of say.. the HSBC building from in canary wharf with a big lens. They like that.

    It's funny those canary wharf jobsworths who think they're actual police with the fake sniffer dogs think you're not supposed to photograph that and DSLR = professional photographer.

    Speaking as a borderline rank-amateur who owns a DSLR and big expensive zoom lenses, this is always good for a laugh, followed by an argument, followed by a discussion with real police. Helps to carry a laptop so you can show them https://cwpotraining.e-permits.co.uk/banner.htm

    Everywhere on the London Underground is also technically a public building, it's all taxpayer owned and run for, and you couldn't really call it private even if it wasn't because of the public access.. Taking photos down there is always good for a laugh, excitable tube employee who couldn't find a job in the real world has a go, and when you even refuse to speak to them (pretending they're not really there is hilarious), the BTP turn up the fun ensues.

    Take photos of everything and anything, points awarded for members of the intelligence services and uniformed police. Big arrows and internet postings ++.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Coppers doing a bang-up job

    Doesn't matter if it's photogs or pedestrians. Just ask Tomlinson. Oh wait, never mind - they killed him.

  46. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    ACPO - Out of control

    Usually it is the government that sets policy and rules yet in the UK this conference of top cops has assumed this mantle.

    These 'make believe police' (PCSOs) are the dumbest of ideas for inevitably these little Hitlers always end up claiming greater powers in the belief that they will garner respect but end up like Peter Sellers portrayal of a union official in I'm All Right Jack.

    Not even in China or other authoritarian countries do the police try what the real, or play, police try on the UK.

    The complaints with the Rent-a-cop are the same, however, in these countries and they don't know how to handle youths attitude towards them, or that of tourists.

    I remember the days when a UK policeman was considered a friend, in smaller towns and villages. No more, though.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I hate them. I hate them all!

    No I really do. I hate them and I hate those that govern them and ultimately...us.

    I don't know about you but when was the last time you saw a bobby on the beat? I don't mean just in town centers but actually walking the beat of your street? I bet few have seen them for a LONG time. They certainly don't around my way.

    They are never there when you actually need them. They are there like a shot when it is about money raking (Read traffic offences). They also love wizzing about in cars themselves. They love the thrill of it. They are so overbearing when you encounter them and they NEVER offer you a friendly face even if YOU are the victim. In fact they seem totally nonchalent if not damned ignorant.

    The have become power crazy addicts just as bad as the crack cocaine abusers and they know full well that their peers are behind them supporting them.

    I saw a friends life damn near destroyed by the police and legal system. A perfectly innocent man reduced to crying in a court of our supposed laws.

    Never have I seen someone so harrased simply because of the colour of is skin I am sure of it.

    He was telling me about a recent incident in which he got a call on his mobile phone whilst in his car that cut off straight away. He uses a bluetooth headset and whilst I don't agree with using mobile phones even when using bluetooth (it's another distraction) he reached into his pocket to briefly look at it to see who had called. He was not drving but stopped at a red light. But he was pulled over by an officer because of supposedly using his mobile in the car.

    Not only did he get a ticket. Not only did he get 3 points on his license. He also had to produce EVEN though he showed the officer his documents THERE AND THEN!

    But here is the kicker. He tried to produce at his local police station which ONLY opens at certain times of the day on certain days. He was unable to even get in! Even some other officer turned up and could not get in!

    Eventually he went to another station and there was a sign that said to use the phone to call an officer out to the desk.

    There was no phone! He stood there for 30 minutes until another officer came in and he asked for them to to ask for someone to attend the desk. Then waited a further 15 minutes before anyone attended.

    The station had moved from a little further out of the town center right into the town center and there was only pay parking! So he had ot pay to attend this new crappy station.

    The police force in this country is a joke. The government are corrupt. The local authorities are clowns.

    I wish I could afford to leave it for good!

  48. Neal 5

    Has any one actually read the article?

    Now, I'm as guilty as anyone for jumping on "x" bandwagon, as seem to be the case with most of the commentards so far with this story. And as so many of you have rightly pointed out, that there are failings that need to be rectified within the UK's policing at the moment.

    A fact not un-acknowledged by the ACPO, as this story shows.

    At what point then, if this isn't good enough, are we actually going to begin to have a dialogue with our Police Forces.?

    Just how many steps need to be taken, for the whole thing to turn full circle and responsibility for our safety becomes also our concern, at what point does total freedom with the right to do exactly as you wish become a major problem for someone else? Where is the balance?

  49. bexley
    Unhappy

    paparazzi

    whilst i could not agree more that the harassment of tourists in the name of fighting terror is plain stupid - i'll just add that we're playing right into the hands of so called terrorists by allowing our civil liberties to be taken from us - I do enjoy watching the paparazzi be harrassed by the plod.

    I work for a high profile media organization that hs daily visits from celebrities, even the employee's are harassed by these paparazzi people. They spend all day long loitering outside the entrance and i have to say that these are not nice people.

    So it always brings a smile o my face watching them in turn be harassed and moved on.

    My own opinion of the Police force is that i prefer to stay out of their way after being bundled into the back of a police van one night with several foaming at the mouth drunk skinheads trying to kil each other / escape.

    I was just walking home from work late at night and came out of an alleyway straight into a scene where several police officers were in the process of arresting said drunk people, it was cold so i had my jacket hood up, a crazed, adrenalin charged young police woman spun around to face me, grabbed my arm and put me in some kind of bloody painfull wrist lock whilst shouting at me to shut up or else. I was plasti cuffed and hurled into the back of a van. It was bloody terrifying.

    Thankfully a sane police man recognised that i was not involved and they said, sorry about that and let me go.

    SO, i tend to avoid the Police in the hope that if i leave them alone, they will leave me alone.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    PCSO's

    This is the first ive heard of these and I can't get "brown shirts" out of my head.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Every Police Force in the UK is a privately owned business.

    Every Police Force in the UK is a privately owned business.

    Visit: www.dnb.co.uk for proof.

    You will also find every Court in the UK on their.

    All privately owned businesses, trading on the international markets, making money for their share holders and owners. Nice.

  52. Bob H
    Megaphone

    News

    An article about Police not being able to command authority also had an interesting gem in it:

    # ‘Officers made attempts to talk to the women about their behaviour and to stop them taking photographs for security reasons – these were not heeded or firmly enforced,’ he admitted. #

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/806144-police-punished-after-sexy-facebook-photos

    Security reasons? Huh?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    1 year for fraud rather than terrorism?????

    I can imagine the CPS conversation:

    "its a terror plot Dave, good publicity, lets the public know we are on the case and all this terrorism malarky is real, he'll get ten years"

    "nah, do him for fraud, less paperwork"

    As the case is closed and they are prepared to release the information it would be worth a FOI request for the charging decision to see if they are telling the truth!

    Paris - makes odd decisions as well

  54. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Well, they just screwed up again: italian student

    Read and boggle: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/15/italian-student-police-arrest-filming. I would really, really like to see a formal ID for an arts student. There are so many things wrong with this arrest I don't quite know where to begin, and I suspect this will lead to compensation. It should - out of these guy's pay.

    There should have been at least one functional braincell between all involved..

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I liked the "iconic buildings" line

    How do they recruit PCSOs? Give them an IQ test and if they score more than 30 hit them in the head with a cricket bat a few times until they score just right?

    Iconic buildings may be terrorist targets (why 9/11 hit the WTC and not Mable Goober's small townhouse in upstate New York) but they are also things people travelling to the area want to see. Not really that difficult a concept is it?

  56. Stewart Haywood

    Why is it......

    that anytime plod appears on one of these videos he chewing the cud?

    Maybe they have to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time

    during training.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      FAIL

      No possible way

      "Maybe they have to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time during training."

      If that was the case, these clowns wouldn't have passed. I suspect this will blow up nicely today, at best it'll turn into a diplomatic incident.. Not that it will change anything, anyone WITH functional braincells would avoid any association with those goons.

  57. Samuel Walker

    I'm just amazed

    That the Daily Fail printed something useful and correct for a change - specifically your rights during a s44 stop.

    Could it perhaps be improving? Or is this just a one-off occurrence?

    1. John Square

      It's the old...

      ... "infinite number of monkeys" thing.

      Nothing to worry about.

  58. bexley
    Grenade

    daily mail

    nah, just a one off

    *special*constables, much like *special* school

  59. Goth Hobbit
    Pirate

    Too little, too late ...maybe.

    As a dedicated amateur photographer on the US side of the pond, I've been keeping a close eye on these types of stories for quite a while now, and I keep hoping that at some point, a critical mass of public outrage will be achieved. It hasn't happened as of yet, but I keep hoping.

    I haven't been hassled by the police for having a camera glued to my face as of yet, but I'm not so naive as to think that it couldn't happen. Like the Italian student in the YouTube video, I spend a lot of my memory card space on architecture -- old buildings are one of my particular passions, and I have scads of photos of the embellishments that used to be commonplace motifs. I'm not really sure how I'd go about explaining to some unimaginative flatfoot that my interest lies in the early-1900s sculptural element ten stories overhead, if that same badge-wearer were convinced that I had to have some motivation beyond documentation.

    I'm reminded of the very different experience that I had about six years back in Toronto: I was taking photos downtown, and focusing on the old courthouse. This was only two years post 9/11, and I could understand a certain amount of touchiness. Not only was the police officer with whom I spoke completely understanding (I had flagged him down just to make certain that there wouldn't be a problem), when I went into the Hudson's Bay Building across the street to ask if there was a publicly-accessible area that had a better view of the gargoyles on the bell tower, they directed me to the company lunchroom. After that, the security desk called the maintenance staff, and got them to unlock an empty office suite that had a nose-to-nose view of the tower. They even invited me back next morning, if I wanted to take more shots with better light. I was so grateful for the assistance, I sent an 8x10 print to the management office as a thank-you.

    Needless to say, this hasn't been the experience of many photographers, and the fact that someone at the Met is just now getting around to acknowledging that harassment of people with cameras is causing a great deal of ill-will ...well, it has a flavor of desperation. If this memo is supposed to turn the tide of public opinion, Commissioner Yates might do well to take a page from history, and look at how well Canute's ordering the sea to stop washing up on the shore worked out. (Yes, I'm well aware that it was done facetiously as an object lesson to his courtiers; even so.)

    Pirate, because when cameras are outlawed, only outlaws will have cameras.

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