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In addition to the total bans on caching in some areas of London, it might be wise to avoid the the city altogether if you're carrying a camera. The relevance to caching is that it's quite common to take photos ready for your geocache logs, but we really have to be careful not to be seen taking snaps with what might be construed by the police as "serious" cameras.

 

Several people have fallen foul of the law recently, and even the BBC staff aren't immune from arrest.

 

Don't think that you'll be OK as long as it's a public place with lots of people around; a photography enthusiast was recently arrested and held for taking photos in a busy shopping street in Kent, and despite this clarification there still seems to be enthusiasm for feeling the collars of miscreants who dare to wield "real" cameras when we all know that they are only used by terrorists.

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In addition to the total bans on caching in some areas of London, it might be wise to avoid the the city altogether if you're carrying a camera.

 

I'm afraid I don't agree with you. I'd happily carry a camera into any sensible place in this country (I'd be more worried about mugging and theft than the cops).

 

See:

 

http://www.urban75.org/photos/photographer...nd-the-law.html

 

Regards,

 

Neil

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The trouble is that if everybody falls into line behind rules that don't exist then before long the rules will effectively exist by default.

 

Given in the vast majority of places there are no legal restrictions on taking pictures what we really need is a few high profile cases where the police are sued for harassing innocent citizens. Perhaps then they'll take the hint and wise up to the fact that anyone wanting covert images can buy a device that's so small you'd never even know they had it.

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In addition to the total bans on caching in some areas of London, it might be wise to avoid the the city altogether if you're carrying a camera. The relevance to caching is that it's quite common to take photos ready for your geocache logs, but we really have to be careful not to be seen taking snaps with what might be construed by the police as "serious" cameras.

 

Several people have fallen foul of the law recently, and even the BBC staff aren't immune from arrest.

 

Don't think that you'll be OK as long as it's a public place with lots of people around; a photography enthusiast was recently arrested and held for taking photos in a busy shopping street in Kent, and despite this clarification there still seems to be enthusiasm for feeling the collars of miscreants who dare to wield "real" cameras when we all know that they are only used by terrorists.

 

Solution - Use the M25 to bypass London, works every time. :):):)

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In addition to the total bans on caching in some areas of London, it might be wise to avoid the the city altogether if you're carrying a camera. The relevance to caching is that it's quite common to take photos ready for your geocache logs, but we really have to be careful not to be seen taking snaps with what might be construed by the police as "serious" cameras.

 

Several people have fallen foul of the law recently, and even the BBC staff aren't immune from arrest.

 

Don't think that you'll be OK as long as it's a public place with lots of people around; a photography enthusiast was recently arrested and held for taking photos in a busy shopping street in Kent, and despite this clarification there still seems to be enthusiasm for feeling the collars of miscreants who dare to wield "real" cameras when we all know that they are only used by terrorists.

 

........can you see the common theme in your links? If you're approached and ask what you're taking photographs of - cooperate and explain. If there is an innocent explanation, you have nothing to worry about. I seldom bother with news reports that only give one side of the story.

 

Before terrorists carry out attacks, they carry out reconnaissance. Some of that is done by taking photos.

 

To advise about not carrying cameras or taking photos in London is complete, total and utter rubbish.

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:)

"I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist"

 

Photography is under attack. Across the country it that seems anyone with a camera is being targeted as a potential terrorist, whether amateur or professional, whether landscape, architectural or street photographer.

 

Not only is it corrosive of press freedom but creation of the collective visual history of our country is extinguished by anti-terrorist legislation designed to protect the heritage it prevents us recording.

 

As if a terrorist would go around with a 'proper' camera, openly taking photographs!

Edited by Bear and Ragged
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........can you see the common theme in your links? If you're approached and ask what you're taking photographs of - cooperate and explain. If there is an innocent explanation, you have nothing to worry about. I seldom bother with news reports that only give one side of the story.

 

Before terrorists carry out attacks, they carry out reconnaissance. Some of that is done by taking photos.

 

To advise about not carrying cameras or taking photos in London is complete, total and utter rubbish.

OK, the advice is to carry ID and be prepared to be challenged from time to time. If this doesn't annoy you then you'll be fine, otherwise (as is the common theme) you may well find yourself having to explain your suspicious behaviour (possibly whilst being handcuffed). If you want to just go about your geocaching business, keep cameras well-hidden or be prepared to explain it along with the GPSr, PDA and coded notebook. :)

 

I'm sure that terrorists may take some photos as part of reconnaissance. But I hazard that the chances of any police officer ever simply coming across such an event are just about nil (if you want to take photos surreptitiously, it's a very easy task; use the inside of a car as cover, for instance). So I'd guarantee that someone taking photos in a fairly conspicuous fashion is no more likely to be a terrorist than next person along with a phone camera in his pocket. I'm sure every police officer knows that too, so I wonder why the harrassment?

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I'm sure that terrorists may take some photos as part of reconnaissance. But I hazard that the chances of any police officer ever simply coming across such an event are just about nil (if you want to take photos surreptitiously, it's a very easy task; use the inside of a car as cover, for instance). So I'd guarantee that someone taking photos in a fairly conspicuous fashion is no more likely to be a terrorist than next person along with a phone camera in his pocket. I'm sure every police officer knows that too, so I wonder why the harrassment?

Yup... I reckon if we can hook up a coil to Reverend Bayes' body and enclose his grave in a magnet, we'll have climate change licked. :)

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:)

"I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist"

 

Photography is under attack. Across the country it that seems anyone with a camera is being targeted as a potential terrorist, whether amateur or professional, whether landscape, architectural or street photographer.

 

Not only is it corrosive of press freedom but creation of the collective visual history of our country is extinguished by anti-terrorist legislation designed to protect the heritage it prevents us recording.

 

As if a terrorist would go around with a 'proper' camera, openly taking photographs!

 

Actually they do. It's easier to explain away than having some type of 007 spy camera. Even if it's not the actual terrorist who takes the photos - it's one of their associates.

 

You're also perfectly right in saying that the average PC / CSO etc is unlikely to come across a terrorist in their ordinary everyday duty. But it's all about making the environment difficult for them to operate in.

 

I have no reason to lie.

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I can't see on what grounds the police could arrest you. As far as I know the only offence that could be used in taking a photo is that of taking a photograph in a prohibited place under the official secrets act.

AIUI, that's no longer true. Legislation that came into force recently (Terrorism Act 2000) makes it an offence to take or possess photographs that "might be of use to a terrorist". AFAICT, you don't have to actually be a terrorist, you merely need to possess materials (including photographs and digital images) that might be of use to one. Again AFAICT, like so many recent regulations, you're guilty unless you can prove otherwise since all the authorities need to convict is their own opinion and you will be found guilty unless you prove a reasonable excuse under S58A. What I find particularly irksome is that the police have allegedly used S58A to prevent people from recording police misconduct at protests etc. So while the police can gather video evidence to support their case, the same degree of evidence-gathering is denied to the public.

 

That said, I suspect that taking legitimate photographs of your hides or finds in an area where photography is not explicitly forbidden is likely to succeed as a defence under S58A.

 

clicky link to Home Office release on the subject

 

HTH,

 

Geoff

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Does this mean that London and all big cities will be removed from Google Earth?

 

Also remember not to take any photos near parks, schools, of buses or train stations, motorways or busy roads, any building where people meet.......................

 

What happened to innocent until proved guilty?

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What happened to innocent until proved guilty?

Ummm... has anyone been imprisoned without trial here? I'm not in favour of what seems like heavy-handedness, but the police arrest people all the time, pretty much by definition before they have been tried. It's just kind of... the way they work. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to the court system. :)

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What happened to innocent until proved guilty?

Ummm... has anyone been imprisoned without trial here? I'm not in favour of what seems like heavy-handedness, but the police arrest people all the time, pretty much by definition before they have been tried. It's just kind of... the way they work. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to the court system. :)

 

 

How long can a person be held without trial under the terrorism act? :)

 

Getting bit off topic and getting a bit deep for this forum. I find myself agreeing with Jeremy Clarkson more and more. :):)

 

I must remember don't beleive everything I read in the press.

 

A friend of mine was in a national paper at the weekend and they got his surname wrong, age wrong and his job title wrong. Apart from that it was a good articile. :) And no he didn't have a camera.

Edited by Yorkie30
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What happened to innocent until proved guilty?

Ummm... has anyone been imprisoned without trial here? I'm not in favour of what seems like heavy-handedness, but the police arrest people all the time, pretty much by definition before they have been tried. It's just kind of... the way they work. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to the court system. :)

 

"On Remand"

Noun - the act of sending an accused person back into custody to await trial.

That may be a LONG wait indeed. :)

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"On Remand"

Noun - the act of sending an accused person back into custody to await trial.

That may be a LONG wait indeed. :)

Indeed. But generally to get remanded, you have to be accused of something pretty substantial. In the OP of this thread, we've seen one stop-and-search, and one 20-minute trip to a police van - the difference being that in the second case, the photographer declined to give his name, always guaranteed to wind up law enforcement personnel everywhere.

 

Doubtless the decision to stop and question these individuals was overzealous, but we're not exactly seeing people banged up in Wandsworth for half a year while waiting for their cases to be cleared.

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What happened to innocent until proved guilty?

Ummm... has anyone been imprisoned without trial here? I'm not in favour of what seems like heavy-handedness, but the police arrest people all the time, pretty much by definition before they have been tried. It's just kind of... the way they work. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to the court system. :huh:

There have been a few cases ISTR where people have been placed under house arrest indefinitely under the TA. Since part of the provision denies the victim subject access to telephones, the Internet, etc., these people just "disappear" - so they don't tend to feature in the media. However, ISTR a Panorama/Dispatches type programme relating the plight of one guy who'd already been "banged up" for over two years at the time of airing... and it's not just without trial, you can be imprisoned indefinitely without even being formally charged. The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2001 allowed the indefinite detention of foreign nationals suspected of terrorism but the House of Lords overturned that and the detention aspect was replaced in the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 by "control orders", which permit the authorities to restrict the activities of anyone suspected of "involvement in terrorist-related activity" even if there is insufficient evidence to charge. These powers include house arrest with no access to communication with the outside world and the 2005 Act extendeds those powers to include UK nationals. grauniad link

 

WRT what happened to "innocent until proved guilty"? The Government has introduced more and more legislation that pragmatically flies in the face of this principle. They've done this by making some simple to prove event the offence and provided one or more specific defences, putting the onus on the accused to prove his or her innocence. For some legislation, all that is required is the opinion of the authorities that you committed the offence. The onus is then on you to prove that you didn't. Examples can be found under the Regulation of Investigator Powers Act (RIP) and the Road Traffic Act (RTA). Under the former if the authorities have the opinion that you possess a decryption key that you've failed to produce then you're guilty unless you can prove you do not posses that key. The onus is on you to prove your case rather than the prosecution theirs - i.e. guilty unless proven innocent. (Yes, you can get banged up for two years for forgetting a computer password!)

 

Geoff

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We have just seen the news about the poor chap taking photos. It was not a proper Policeman but a plastic Police Community Support Officer. If only they found out just what was legal or illegal before they pounced on the chap. Little Hitlers most of them!!

Being a security officer, I have to put up with this sort of stuck up attitude* on a daily basis. Yes, I will agree there are some little Hitler's out there, but when you are trying to earn an honest and decent living it really does annoy you when you get comments like the above. :huh::(

 

*I don't say that lightly, when I get reminded of my lowly position within life, it's either by thugs (no need to say any more there?) or by individuals with their heads stuck so far up their rear end that they can't see the light of day. (I work in a large university that is open to the general public, so I see both types far too often.)

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"On Remand"

Noun - the act of sending an accused person back into custody to await trial.

That may be a LONG wait indeed. :huh:

Indeed. But generally to get remanded, you have to be accused of something pretty substantial. In the OP of this thread, we've seen one stop-and-search, and one 20-minute trip to a police van - the difference being that in the second case, the photographer declined to give his name, always guaranteed to wind up law enforcement personnel everywhere.

 

Doubtless the decision to stop and question these individuals was overzealous, but we're not exactly seeing people banged up in Wandsworth for half a year while waiting for their cases to be cleared.

 

You can't be kept at a police station for more than 24 hours without being charged. add time at scene of alledged crime, time in transit your up to nearly two days.

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You can't be kept at a police station for more than 24 hours without being charged. add time at scene of alledged crime, time in transit your up to nearly two days.

Sadly, that's no longer true, i.e. you can be detained for a lot longer. Don't forget that the legislation under which the OP's references were arrested is "anti-terrorism" and you can be detained without charge for 28 days under the Terrorism Act 2006.

 

Geoff

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I can't see on what grounds the police could arrest you. As far as I know the only offence that could be used in taking a photo is that of taking a photograph in a prohibited place under the official secrets act.

But if it was secret, how would you know it was prohibited. Unless they put a big sign on it saying so. In which case it wouldn't be secret any more. :huh:

 

Anyway, I take loads of pictures in London for another Groundspeak GPS game that shall remain nameless (shh it's a secret) so I'll let you know if I get banged up while blue-plaque-ing.

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I can't see on what grounds the police could arrest you. As far as I know the only offence that could be used in taking a photo is that of taking a photograph in a prohibited place under the official secrets act.

But if it was secret, how would you know it was prohibited. Unless they put a big sign on it saying so. In which case it wouldn't be secret any more. :huh:

The location isn't secret. However, the activities and information there are - at least to some degree; and they do put up signs to tell you that it's a restricted area under the Official Secrets Act and an offence to gain unauthorised entry, take photographs, etc.

 

Geoff

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You can't be kept at a police station for more than 24 hours without being charged. add time at scene of alledged crime, time in transit your up to nearly two days.

Sadly, that's no longer true, i.e. you can be detained for a lot longer. Don't forget that the legislation under which the OP's references were arrested is "anti-terrorism" and you can be detained without charge for 28 days under the Terrorism Act 2006.

Indeed, and I'm as against all that as, er, nearly half the population (unfortunately, opinion surveys consistently show that people are in favour of banging up pretty much anyone for as long as the police like).

 

But my point is that what actually happened, in circumstances which are far more plausible to the average geocacher, was: /a/ one person got asked for ID and provided it, and because they work at the BBC they have contacts who can get them publicity; total time taken out of their day, 3 minutes; /b/ another person got asked for ID and decided to get a bit clever with the officers, who took offence, and he got to see the inside of a van for a while. I am not disputing that things would be better if these events had not taken place. I'm just saying that it will probably be a long time before the first geocacher spends a night in Paddington Green.

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The location isn't secret. However, the activities and information there are - at least to some degree; and they do put up signs to tell you that it's a restricted area under the Official Secrets Act and an offence to gain unauthorised entry, take photographs, etc.

 

Geoff

I wasn't being entirely serious. :huh:

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Is this not all a little paranoid? :)

 

Yep.

 

When I saw the HOD post I wondered which angle it was coming from, who's paranoid here?

 

Is it the posters in this thread who think they should be allowed to go about their lawful activities without being stopped and questioned, possibly detained and have their property confiscated by the police on no evidence?

 

Or

 

Is it the authorities who think they need to stop and question everyone taking a photograph at a tourist attraction, or anyone who might have the temerity to posses two mobile phones?

 

Interestingly the BBC is running an ident at the moment, I don't remember all the details but there's a voiceover of a young woman saying that she was stopped and questioned by the police when all she was doing was taking a photograph, the voice is speaking in a foreign accent, and the pictures are of what look like a middle-eastern country. Clearly the implication being that the poor girl is living in a police state/dictatorship where she lives in fear of the authorities, and we should think ourselves lucky that we live in a 'democracy' where this could never happen, hmmmmmm.

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Is this not all a little paranoid? :)

 

Yep.

 

When I saw the HOD post I wondered which angle it was coming from, who's paranoid here?

 

Is it the posters in this thread who think they should be allowed to go about their lawful activities without being stopped and questioned, possibly detained and have their property confiscated by the police on no evidence?

 

Or

 

Is it the authorities who think they need to stop and question everyone taking a photograph at a tourist attraction, or anyone who might have the temerity to posses two mobile phones?

 

 

Pretty much everyone to be honest! :) Those who think they can't take a photo because they'll be locked in a dungeon for 35 years and those who think a tourist taking a photo is a terrorist who should be thrown in a dungeon for 35 years.

 

Something tells me that those who are terrorists taking photos are the ones least likely to be caught. Also, perhaps I am naive in thinking that, if questioned, you would be fine of you answer honestly and cooperate completely without making a fuss.

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I suspect that if I wandered around London all day taking photos of this and that at random with an SLR camera I would probably not be challenged nor asked to provide ID.

 

Unfortunately, there are a number of cases where this HAS happened, and rightly or wrongly this has led to the perception that you shouldn't be taking photos; that there's something vaguely wrong about it and you're likely to be viewed as suspicious. For law-abiding citizens that's an uncomfortable feeling. I now have the notion that people are looking at me and wondering whether to report my behaviour, whereas a couple of years ago I would have felt free to photograph without even having to worry about what people might think.

 

However unreasonable, I cannot now simply get the camera out and enjoy taking a few shots if I think that CCTV is in range or that a police officer might be watching. Not because I expect to be arrested, but because I now have to regard it as a furtive activity looked on with suspicion.

 

Recently, Geograph enthusiasts were sent away from a public footpath by a Corus security guard on the basis that they had cameras in their bags and so they may take photos of the nearby steelworks. Hardly an international incident, and the guard had no right to do this, but the more you hear about these incidents the more you view photography as being a marginally criminal activity which is under the process of being discouraged.

 

Note that I recently wandered around New York taking photos with an SLR (including some of police officers), and didn't attract any attention at all.

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I suspect that if I wandered around London all day taking photos of this and that at random with an SLR camera I would probably not be challenged nor asked to provide ID.

 

Unfortunately, there are a number of cases where this HAS happened, and rightly or wrongly this has led to the perception that you shouldn't be taking photos; that there's something vaguely wrong about it and you're likely to be viewed as suspicious. For law-abiding citizens that's an uncomfortable feeling. I now have the notion that people are looking at me and wondering whether to report my behaviour, whereas a couple of years ago I would have felt free to photograph without even having to worry about what people might think.

 

However unreasonable, I cannot now simply get the camera out and enjoy taking a few shots if I think that CCTV is in range or that a police officer might be watching. Not because I expect to be arrested, but because I now have to regard it as a furtive activity looked on with suspicion.

 

Recently, Geograph enthusiasts were sent away from a public footpath by a Corus security guard on the basis that they had cameras in their bags and so they may take photos of the nearby steelworks. Hardly an international incident, and the guard had no right to do this, but the more you hear about these incidents the more you view photography as being a marginally criminal activity which is under the process of being discouraged.

 

Note that I recently wandered around New York taking photos with an SLR (including some of police officers), and didn't attract any attention at all.

 

....and I bet you a fiver you won't attract any attention in London either! :)

 

PM sent.

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Surely this is all a law of averages!?

 

How many people are in London taking photos of tourist attractions every day and how many of them are actually being stopped?

 

This only becomes big when its a journalist who brings it to the public attention and as they tend to fight for their rights more than tourist, probably don't get treated in the same understanding way as Joe-Tourist who is co-operative.

 

I've regularly taken photos in London, including Whitehall. I've even been watched by groups of officers out the back of a government building in Westminster while taking shots and i've never been stopped yet! I'll not stop taking photos jsut because i might get stopped one day!

 

This is a handy little card made by one of the sites linked to above letting you know your rights:

 

Picture-1-599x419.png

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Nick - I replied by e-mail (I don't seem to be able to reply to the PM!).

 

Great, will e-mail in the morning. We probably won't agree entirely, but then life would be boring!

 

Currently at work and grabbing a bite to eat, but just found the following which may be of interest.

It doesn't really go into the reasoning in any great detail, but hopefully explains a bit.

 

www.met.police.uk/about/photography.htm

 

Some of it is not totally accurate in that professional cameramen do need permits to film in certain areas, but these are apparently very easy to obtain. (For fear of being lynched I won't say where.......but think of a recent thread)

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After the latest incident (a photographer being stopped by police and forced to give ID for taking photos across the river from the Houses of Parliament), this morning on TV a representative of ACPO (police) was keen to emphasise that the police shouldn't be doing this. He advises knowing your rights and being familiar with police powers, and didn't try to justify the police action in any way (to his credit).

 

My concern is that people are now becoming convinced that there's some sort of connection between "serious" photography and terrorism, and it's spoiling the enjoyment of a creative and innocent activity for no good reason. A terrorist can use a decent phone camera to get what he needs, so there's no logic in it.

 

But the geocaching point is, imagine if you're stopped in this way and you're also in possession of various unusual electronic devices, and notebooks with strange codes (GCNN34B, DNF, checked drainpipe, ...). Hence my advice to keep camera gear out of sight.

Edited by Happy Humphrey
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After the latest incident (a photographer being stopped by police and forced to give ID for taking photos across the river from the Houses of Parliament),......

 

Is it really that difficult for some people to give a copper their name and address if they're asked for it???

 

We seem to spend half our time in this country moaning that policing isn't visible enough, and there should be more coppers on the streets catching villains instead of speeding drivers - and the other half of our time moaning because someone we haven't even met had to undergo the extreme, inhumane, indignity of being asked to give his name and address.

 

FFS people - get real!

Edited by keehotee
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A good point was made on the BBC Breakfast show interview that when you are stopped and questioned under the terrorism act and asked for your personal details they are held on record for a year. If your name ever comes up in regard to another incident then police will be aware you've already been stopped and questioned under the Terrorism act. It is quite a scary thought when all you were doing was taking a photo.

 

The police officer interviewed said police could just carry out a casual questioning about what you were doing if they have any reason to be suspicious and let you on your way when it was obvious you were not a threat.

 

Chris (MrB)

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A good point was made on the BBC Breakfast show interview that when you are stopped and questioned under the terrorism act and asked for your personal details they are held on record for a year. If your name ever comes up in regard to another incident then police will be aware you've already been stopped and questioned under the Terrorism act. It is quite a scary thought when all you were doing was taking a photo.

 

The police officer interviewed said police could just carry out a casual questioning about what you were doing if they have any reason to be suspicious and let you on your way when it was obvious you were not a threat.

 

Chris (MrB)

 

I think this is the crucial point. Whether the police should be doing this is another debate but if they do take your name it could then be held against a suspicion of terrorist activity.

 

However, this is all painting the blackest possible scenario: the chances of being questioned are small... the chances that you need to give you name smaller still... the chances that gets logged - you see the point. :blink:

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We seem to spend half our time in this country moaning that policing isn't visible enough, and there should be more coppers on the streets catching villains instead of speeding drivers -

Exactly. Coppers should spend their time catching villains.

and the other half of our time moaning because someone we haven't even met had to undergo the extreme, inhumane, indignity of being asked to give his name and address.

No-one here is claiming that it's extreme or inhumane. Where does it say that? But although you may be accustomed to being challenged by the police and used to giving them personal details, I'm not and neither are a lot of other people, and we would find it embarrassing and stressful (yes, and undignified). The very notion that we're regarded with suspicion rather taints what is, after all, a relaxing and innocent activity.

 

Hopefully all this fuss will make police and other officials think carefully before approaching someone who is simply taking photos in a public place, and in future we'll only be questioned if there's some reason to believe that we are actually likely to be criminals. Just like the law says.

Edited by Happy Humphrey
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