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I am a very keen amateur photographer and this is a topic close to my heart. Someone here made a point that thousands of tourist snaps are taken every day at key spots in London and no one ever takes notice. Yes, that is true - and 99.9% of those snaps are taken by small compact digital cameras or mobile phones. Sometimes a small DSLR. But woe on you if you have the temerity to (gasp) use a LARGE camera and (double gasp) use a TRIPOD! Yes, that bulky thing that (very vaguely, if you have good imagination) resembles a hunting rifle that will turn heads, especially in the financial district, and cause security guards to trail after you even if all you're doing is carrying it around over your shoulder. Like, terrorists doing reconnaissance want perfect razor-sharp shots of buildings so they can make pretty enlargements and hang it up on their walls.... :blink:

 

The BBC and the Independent photographers were MOST likely using professional DSLRs that are very much more indiscreet than your average digicam. No doubt they got stopped because they were using tripods as well - while shooting in low light without flash. Make no mistake, in recent times, PLENTY of ordinary, law-abiding amateur photographers have been stopped, questioned, harassed even, by police while just taking street photos. Ironically, there were exhibitions at the Tate Britain showcasing 50 years of the best British street photography, photos from old magazines like Picture Post etc. whose photographers will never be allowed to operate with the freedom they used to have, in case they get arrested for being perverts or paedophiles. :laughing: From personal experience, if you carry anything larger than a compact digicam around the streets, you are often greeted with hostility and suspicion.

 

The point is, plenty of people who complain to police for having been victims of crime, routinely get IGNORED. When my neighbour was robbed and assaulted by robbers some years ago and I contacted police to try and give them what I thought was valuable information, they never bothered to call me back. When my parked car was smashed up by a passing taxi a few months back, a bystander got the registration details - and I went to the police, only to be told that it WASN'T their problem. Nevermind the fact that the incident would have been caught by the zillions of CCTV and congestion charge cameras down my street. :laughing: It's the cumulative experience of incidents like these that make me wonder if the police are working FOR or AGAINST us.

 

Geocaching in the city is a different matter and understandably, some police might feel that it is just plain odd to be rummaging around in bushes or feeling up drainpipes... so I am always prepared to be stopped and asked what I am doing - but I refuse to be treated like a potential terrorist or criminal just because I am visibly carrying (and using) a large camera.

 

artemisworks

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PS: I belong to several photography fora and read photo hobbyist magazines etc. regularly and the questioning/searching of photographers merely for photographing has been a problem for some years now. It's NOT a unique or extremely unusual experience and some officers can be quite intimidating.

 

There was even a tourist photographer from Greece who was doing a bit of street photography while travelling on the Tube - he was arrested and had to spend a day in the cells (and had to go to court, eventually) because someone complained that he had taken a photo of their teenage daughter while they were on the Tube. The photographer apologised and then offered to delete the photos off his DSLR but the matter didn't end there when the person complained to the BTP at the station. There is NO law against taking photos of people in public places, but once the complaint was made to the police, the photographer was arrested, no questions asked. Those of us who do street photography can see ourselves in this exact same situation and it is positively frightening. I'm sure many have abandoned this pastime because it's just not worth it, is it?! :blink:

Edited by artemisworks
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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.

Speaking as a Londoner I'd just like to note that keeping expensive gear out of sight is a very good idea. But it's not the police whose attention I don't want to attract. It's quite a different group, if you get my drift (clue: They wear masks, stripey jumpers and carry bags marked "swag")

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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.

 

 

I'm pretty sure if there was any real suspicion of terrorist activity it would be far more than your name they would be holding! Being asked for your details and what you are doing makes you no more a long term terror suspect than using a passport to get you back into the UK after your holiday does - or are we all going to start refusing to use passports now, in case we get branded as fundamentalists? Surely border control should only be used to prevent terrorists getting into the country - not innocent holidaymakers.... :blink:

 

We are all (almost all) perfectly happy to let Tesco, Sainsburys, the petrol stations, our banks, our credit card suppliers, Uncle Tom Cobley and all know exactly where and when we are, and what we were buying - why is it such a huge leap to let the police know if they ask?

If there actually were a terrorist incident in the city, everybody who'd driven in and paid the congestion charge that day - or used an Oyster card - would have their details checked and held as a matter of course. Are they all going to end up on a huge database of potential terrorists? Because we might as well all sign up for it now.

Edited by keehotee
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why is it such a huge leap to let the police know if they ask?

Of course it's a leap, because in the other cases you can see a reason for needing your details.

 

If a police officer has no reason to suspect that you're planning to commit an offence, they he doesn't need your details. So the inference is that simply by having a slightly pro-looking camera, you become a suspect. This is what we are uncomfortable with.

 

I don't think that anyone has a problem with an officer strolling across and having a casual chat; it's the heavy-handed approach that is causing all the bother. And there are lots of examples, even if it's only a few that make the headlines. Ask Reuben Powell .

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why is it such a huge leap to let the police know if they ask?

Of course it's a leap, because in the other cases you can see a reason for needing your details.

 

If a police officer has no reason to suspect that you're planning to commit an offence, they he doesn't need your details. So the inference is that simply by having a slightly pro-looking camera, you become a suspect. This is what we are uncomfortable with.

 

I don't think that anyone has a problem with an officer strolling across and having a casual chat; it's the heavy-handed approach that is causing all the bother. And there are lots of examples, even if it's only a few that make the headlines. Ask Reuben Powell .

 

In the article you've qouted it clearly states

 

For Powell, this brush with the law resulted in five hours in a cell after police seized the lock-blade knife he uses to sharpen his pencils.

 

It is concidered that a knife that can not be closed without releasing a lock is a fixed blade knife and hence illegal to carry in public in the UK.

 

So the person was not detained for taking photographs in a public street, even if the officer who detained him. Did use Anti Terrorist laws to stop and search him. What are the chances are that after being interviewed by the Officer, he would have proceded on his way if he had not been carrying a illegal weppon?

 

How many members of the General Public have actually been detained [that is physicaly taken to a Police Station or other Holding Area] by the Police for just taking photographs in public? And not for commiting other offences as well? Compared to the number who take photographs in public everyday.

 

Dave

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I'm pretty sure if there was any real suspicion of terrorist activity it would be far more than your name they would be holding!

 

But the guidelines say that the police shouldn't be stopping and searching unless they have reasonable grounds to suspect involvement in terrorist activity, therefore there should be "real suspicion" in every case, unless they're stopping people just to get their numbers up !

Edited by MartyBartfast
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I'm pretty sure if there was any real suspicion of terrorist activity it would be far more than your name they would be holding!

 

But the guidelines say that the police shouldn't be stopping and searching unless they have reasonable grounds to suspect involvement in terrorist activity, therefore there should be "real suspicion" in every case, unless they're stopping people just to get their numbers up !

 

But if they're on a heightened state of alert, everybody is going to look like a potential terrorist. To be honest, I personally wouldn't target the people taking pictures of touristy bits - I'd go straight for the wierdos taking pictures of dogpoo bins, or bushes, or anywhere large enough to conceal a decent sized package :blink:

(so that's most urban caches off the hook then - lol)

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In the article you've qouted it clearly states

 

For Powell, this brush with the law resulted in five hours in a cell after police seized the lock-blade knife he uses to sharpen his pencils.

 

It is concidered that a knife that can not be closed without releasing a lock is a fixed blade knife and hence illegal to carry in public in the UK.

 

So the person was not detained for taking photographs in a public street, even if the officer who detained him. Did use Anti Terrorist laws to stop and search him. What are the chances are that after being interviewed by the Officer, he would have proceded on his way if he had not been carrying a illegal weppon?

 

How many members of the General Public have actually been detained [that is physicaly taken to a Police Station or other Holding Area] by the Police for just taking photographs in public? And not for commiting other offences as well? Compared to the number who take photographs in public everyday.

 

Dave

The detention isn't the issue. No doubt he should be more careful on his choice of sharpening tool. It's that the police did the stop and search, using the "Anti-Terrorism Act" as an excuse, based on the fact that he was taking photos of a building.

 

"The car skidded to a halt like something out of Starsky & Hutch and this officer jumped out very dramatically and said 'what are you doing?' I told him I was photographing the building and he said he was going to search me under the Anti-Terrorism Act," he recalled.

 

The inference is that this building-photographing behaviour is grounds for suspicion that the photographer is a terrorist. The nub of the matter is that you're saying that taking photos IS cause for suspicion, enough that it's at least worth taking details of the "miscreant". The point that amateur photographers, politicians and senior police officers are trying to make is that simply pointing an SLR camera in a public place should NEVER ON ITS OWN constitute grounds for suspicion.

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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 would drive myself round the bend replying to all the comments on this, but I will try with this one to try to allay your fears.

 

Firstly - I've been stopped loads of times and had my name taken. (It's not the done thing to show your warrant card sometimes). It is seriously nothing to worry about.

 

If I stop you and ask what you're doing, why you are in a particular place or ask you to account for something in your possession, I have to fill out a form. The form has more to do with statistics than anything else. It does indeed appear on a database. I am on there about 3 or 4 times I think - travelling to work at the antisocial times I do. It's kept for a year as that's also a requirement. If you're not given a copy of the 'stop slip' when you're actually stopped - you can apply to get one within a year from the day you've been stopped. (If that makes sense). The database is used more for telling my bosses how many people I stopped who consider themselves to be white British, black British etc etc etc. All the people I stop go on the database, not just the ones stopped under the Terrorism Act. It can be used to check if I'm using the powers correctly.

 

After a 2 minute informal chat - and that's what it is most of the time - we still have our form to fill out. More often than not it ends in me having my photo taken and being asked to give my opinion on the photos! (I've found that the standard of photography has increased by the way :blink: )

 

There are idiots in all professions. Please don't judge the police on the few who go over the top.

 

It's not appropriate for me to give my opinions on the media in this country and how they operate.

 

HH you have mail.

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I'm pretty sure if there was any real suspicion of terrorist activity it would be far more than your name they would be holding!

 

But the guidelines say that the police shouldn't be stopping and searching unless they have reasonable grounds to suspect involvement in terrorist activity, therefore there should be "real suspicion" in every case, unless they're stopping people just to get their numbers up !

 

Not true.

 

With Sec 43 you need grounds to suspect terrorist involvement. With Sec 44 you don't need any grounds at all.

 

Given the fact that everyone now knows your post is incorrect, I don't feel I need to reply to the 'just to get their numbers up' comment. But seriously though MB - this legislation isn't the easiest to understand and I can appreciate the confusion.

 

Keehotee - just when I feel the world is against me you come along. You're absolutely right, but unfortunately sometimes until you speak to someone you don't know their intentions are innocent.

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why is it such a huge leap to let the police know if they ask?

Of course it's a leap, because in the other cases you can see a reason for needing your details.

 

If a police officer has no reason to suspect that you're planning to commit an offence, they he doesn't need your details. So the inference is that simply by having a slightly pro-looking camera, you become a suspect. This is what we are uncomfortable with.

 

I don't think that anyone has a problem with an officer strolling across and having a casual chat; it's the heavy-handed approach that is causing all the bother. And there are lots of examples, even if it's only a few that make the headlines. Ask Reuben Powell .

 

......and another article without all the facts. I just love the press in this country. But I don't blame senior police officers for not fighting our corner. If you go against the press or aren't 'Hollywood' enough for them - you've had it.

 

I'm not surprised that everyone is worried about this issue when there is reporting like this.

Edited by Nick & Ali
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Right.......you're probably all bored by my knatterings now - so my last word on the matter is this;

 

As Geocachers - by definition someone who occasionally acts in a suspicious manner - we are very well placed to see when someone is actually out of place or doing something not quite right. The same can be said of a genuine photographer, who will know that - for example - it's unusual to photograph something with your camera held down by your side.

 

The chances of being involved in a terrorist incident anywhere is very very very very remote to say the least. That's not to say there is no chance. If Geocachers and photographers avoid London that is potentially the loss of 1000's of extra expert vigilant eyes looking for the unusual or out of place person / thing. ('Geocacher foils terrorist' would be a fantastic headline to show the Royal Parks Authority the next time permission is sort).

 

Geocaching and photography are totally lawful activities. If you are asked to account for your actions - just do it. It really is nothing to worry about. Don't forget, you will know you are not dodgy - the officer won't until he has spoken to you. (The mind reading classes we tried didn't go well, as the goats were better at it than some of the officers involved :blink: ). The encounter will be short and you will almost certainly be dealt with courteously.

 

If you're out caching - as a recent log testifies (the link for which I can't find) - once you've been spoken to, the officers may even help you with the next cache! What a service!

Edited by Nick & Ali
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So if your stopped under section 44, you're FCUK'ed :laughing:

 

And another PM sent.....

 

And another ignored.....

 

Apologies if my offer to try and explain things to you by e-mail has offended you. No offence was intended.

 

Nick. Neither of us has created an offence. :laughing:

I thought it better to keep everything out in the open forum. Even if I may be in the wrong. ( again!)

Forgive my political rant...but as we reach the end of the 2009's I feel as if nothing is changing since 1980...(except the fashions thank God).

You have quoted on page 2 of this thread....

"With Sec 43 you need grounds to suspect terrorist involvement. With Sec 44 you don't need any grounds at all."

... but my cynical ways will always get the better of me with such a statement.

After all I was a young man in the 70's when the "VERY" similar SUS laws created the same police powers.

There always seems to be a clause where the police can do what they wish, within the law.

But the law is not always right!!!

 

Fortunately, and against their purpose, those SUS laws, and the riots that followed, actually made England a better place to live as a minority.

But then the Labour Party had values back then.

So now as we approach 2010, we have a Labour Party that is fighting for the middle ground with the Tories.

Neither is worthy of actually running the country for the betterment of the majority.

And there is the 2010 version of the National Front, the BNP'ers, creating fear and loathing amongst the ignorant. ...Back to the 80's again.

Grrrrrr.

 

My main solace is the fact that tomorrow morning I shall arise at 5am, and go and find "treasures".

I may take a photo or 2 :blink: , I will probably pee out in the woods :laughing::laughing: (another offence I believe),

but I will forget all the other cr*p that is 2009.

 

Apolgies Nick and Ali, but I feel better for the rant.

 

:ph34r:

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So if your stopped under section 44, you're FCUK'ed :laughing:

 

And another PM sent.....

 

And another ignored.....

 

Apologies if my offer to try and explain things to you by e-mail has offended you. No offence was intended.

 

Nick. Neither of us has created an offence. :laughing:

I thought it better to keep everything out in the open forum. Even if I may be in the wrong. ( again!)

Forgive my political rant...but as we reach the end of the 2009's I feel as if nothing is changing since 1980...(except the fashions thank God).

You have quoted on page 2 of this thread....

"With Sec 43 you need grounds to suspect terrorist involvement. With Sec 44 you don't need any grounds at all."

... but my cynical ways will always get the better of me with such a statement.

After all I was a young man in the 70's when the "VERY" similar SUS laws created the same police powers.

There always seems to be a clause where the police can do what they wish, within the law.

But the law is not always right!!!

 

Fortunately, and against their purpose, those SUS laws, and the riots that followed, actually made England a better place to live as a minority.

But then the Labour Party had values back then.

So now as we approach 2010, we have a Labour Party that is fighting for the middle ground with the Tories.

Neither is worthy of actually running the country for the betterment of the majority.

And there is the 2010 version of the National Front, the BNP'ers, creating fear and loathing amongst the ignorant. ...Back to the 80's again.

Grrrrrr.

 

My main solace is the fact that tomorrow morning I shall arise at 5am, and go and find "treasures".

I may take a photo or 2 :blink: , I will probably pee out in the woods :laughing::laughing: (another offence I believe),

but I will forget all the other cr*p that is 2009.

 

Apolgies Nick and Ali, but I feel better for the rant.

 

:ph34r:

 

No probs. It was just that I didn't want to go too deeply into the whys and wherefores in an open forum for fear of boring everyone to death. (Too late I hear you say!)

 

Are you in central London at 5am? I can see a souvenir photo opportunity that can't be missed. I start work at 10pm tonight and will probably still be in the Whitehall area at 5am.

 

Picture this - you in handcuffs, Sec 44 stop slip stuffed in your mouth having been found in one of the Royal Parks trying to photograph an archived Geocache. The picture will be worth a fortune and I'll split it with you!

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<close to the local police station>

Seems a location that might cause concern.

With regards to the "The car skidded to a halt like something out of Starsky & Hutch", I don't see any reference to other witnesses to this so is it just a bit of artistic/journalistic licence as I am sure that, from what I know of the majority of vehicles being used by the police these days, there are very few that could actually emulate that type of scene.

Rumble up to a rapid stop maybe but not what was described.

 

I repeat what I said before:

'They are damned if they do and they are damned if they don't'

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I hear Xmas lunch at Wormwood Scrubs is worth attending?

:blink:

 

That bit I can guarantee Kev, the food is excellant all the time but at Christmas its splendid.

Orange Juice, Cereal & Cooked Breakfast

 

Soup, Turkey/Beef Roast Pots, 3 veg, Stuffing, Kilted Chippolatas and Gravy

Christmas Pudding and Brandy flavour sauce

 

Mixed meat and salad with Christmas cake for tea

 

Plus of course all the various religious and medical variations you can think of.

 

And of course top class gym facilities, pool tables, table tennis and of course playstations.

 

Lubby Jubbly :laughing::laughing:

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Geocaching and photography are totally lawful activities. If you are asked to account for your actions - just do it. It really is nothing to worry about. Don't forget, you will know you are not dodgy - the officer won't until he has spoken to you. (The mind reading classes we tried didn't go well, as the goats were better at it than some of the officers involved :) ). The encounter will be short and you will almost certainly be dealt with courteously.

:):D:D:D:D:lol::lol:

 

For me that really sums up the nonsense in this thread, nice one. :D

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Geocaching and photography are totally lawful activities. If you are asked to account for your actions - just do it. It really is nothing to worry about. Don't forget, you will know you are not dodgy - the officer won't until he has spoken to you. (The mind reading classes we tried didn't go well, as the goats were better at it than some of the officers involved :) ). The encounter will be short and you will almost certainly be dealt with courteously.

 

clap.gif

Never was a truer word spoken in jest.

 

I know that after 25 years in prison I am still unable to stand in a street and say 'He/She's a criminal or not'

 

Maybe some of the posters on here are qualified mind readers and therefore should be employed by the Met and other regional police forces and accompany officers out on patrol, this way nobody would be questioned or searched unless they were 100% guilty.

The other plus of course is that there would be no further need for courts as the fact that the SMRO 'Special Mind Reading Officer' has identified them as being guilty should be sufficient.

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I wouldn't worry about the police checking up on you as you photograph London. Now everyone in the world will be watching and reporting you!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8393602.stm

 

Chris (MrB)

Not everyone in the World, however, maintains an "anti-terrorist" database of everyone they have the slightest suspicion might be associated with terrorism. It doesn't help either that same organisation, who are supposed to uphold our right to peaceful protest, have re-branded peaceful protesters as "domestic extremists" and store their details in the same "anti-terrorist" database. Even journalists are not immune, and you don't need to even have a camera, or actually be involved in anything. If you have the misfortune to find yourself in the vicinity of a peaceful protest, you could end up on that database and thereafter hounded repeatedly stopped by the police. One respectable mature person with no criminal record attended a peaceful anti-duck-hunting demonstration. The police recorded his identity and car registration and he was subsequently stopped by the police 25 times in less than three years for no apparent reason other than his being on that database.

 

Now Anton Setchell (the officer in charge) might say that nobody should worry about their being on that database, but I suspect the ramifications don't stop with being repeatedly stopped and questioned. For example, I wonder how many can't get security clearance for Government contracts because of this. Of course, we'll never know because the police are not open about this and won't even disclose how many people their database lists. It's also worth noting that Anton Setchell does not deny that members of the public are in that database even though there is no concrete evidence that they're involved in either terrorism or "domestic extremism".

 

So, if the police have stopped you under S44 and established your identity the chances are that you're in that database. Similarly, you're probably in the database if they've been able to identify you or your car while in the vicinity of a peaceful protest. Personally, I have no issue with accounting for my actions to an open and honest police force. However, I personally have experience of police abuse (IMO) of anti-terrorist powers and the lies and BS from the sergeant assigned to handle my complaint certainly didn't help. So if an officer stops me under S44 I'll do everything lawfully within my power to prevent that officer from establishing my identity, and I'll be taking copious notes in my own pocket book to gather evidence to support any complaint I might feel the need to make after the fact.

 

Geoff

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I must be doing something wrong (or right) here as I have taken photographs, and continue to do so, of all manner of things and in all manner of places often in clear view of police officers and have yet to be ever questioned.

Countless photos of railway stations, police stations, Windsor Castle, reservoirs (all for the old architecture). So what am I doing right/wrong?

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I know that after 25 years in prison I am still unable to stand in a street and say 'He/She's a criminal or not'

 

Maybe some of the posters on here are qualified mind readers and therefore should be employed by the Met and other regional police forces and accompany officers out on patrol, this way nobody would be questioned or searched unless they were 100% guilty.

The other plus of course is that there would be no further need for courts as the fact that the SMRO 'Special Mind Reading Officer' has identified them as being guilty should be sufficient.

The whole point is that the people being stopped are simply minding their own business. As you say, there's nothing to indicate that they are any more or less a criminal than the next person along. So you're actually helping to justify the grumbling about these incidents, unless you're saying that everyone should be routinely stopped and searched?

 

Anyway, two points;

  • it appears that, thanks to all the fuss, various officials have been at pains to explain that these people should never have been stopped or questioned, and to clarify that there's no reason for cameras to be viewed as suspicious
  • I've had my say, and don't think that I can add anything further. Back to geocaching....

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What I don't get about this thread is what would you all prefer?

 

A few 'innocents' being stop checked but ultimately a good worthwhile database about terrorist (or any other criminal) activity being created...

... or a bomb going off somewhere and killing innocent people?

 

So the odd person gets asked a few questions? So what? Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?

 

If the Police want to stop me and ask what I'm doing I really don't have a problem with it. They are only doing they're jobs at the end of the day...

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What I don't get about this thread is what would you all prefer?

 

A few 'innocents' being stop checked but ultimately a good worthwhile database about terrorist (or any other criminal) activity being created...

... or a bomb going off somewhere and killing innocent people?

That's typical of the spin.

 

First, it's a lot more than a "few" AIUI, but we can't know the full extent of the surveillance that's being carried out because the police refuse to say. Anton Setchell says that it's impossible to know how many subjects are in his database, yet even the most inept database administrator would know that a query similar to 'SELECT COUNT(*) FROM Terrorist' would give a precise answer in seconds. Either the database is worthless or the police are being disingenuous and somewhat economical with the truth.

 

Second, the police have lumped people exercising their right to peacefully protest in with terrorists. They call peaceful protesters "domestic extremists"; sensationalist language indeed and hype the police use to justify their surveillance and harassment of completely law-abiding folk. Even with all the police hype and spin, peaceful protesters (who I suggest are the majority of subjects of their database) don't go around planting bombs and, unlike the police, don't kill innocent people.

 

Geoff

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Unfortunately the world is not a perfect place and the bad guys refuse to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with " I'M A BAD GUY"

So the police are left with the task of either using the powers and stopping many people and get moaned at for stopping innocents; or they only stop the ones with a big bag marked " BOMB". But then they might miss this person and then be criticised for failing to stop an attrocity.

 

Most of the idiots planning stuff these days are not know activists. They are apparently innocents just walking around taking photos then running home to plan exactly where and how they are going to detonate the device. There may be ten groups of them or there may be none. If to prevent another act of terrorism I have to be stopped and talked to; as long as the officer is polite and explains why and what they are doing then I have no problem.

Yes my rights may have been slightly eaten away. But that's not the fault of the officer it's the fault of the idiots wanting to kill. It's a balance we have to make in the real world.

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They are apparently innocents just walking around taking photos then running home to plan exactly where and how they are going to detonate the device.

Interesting. The 7/7 bombers blew up tube trains and a bus, which doesn't seem to require a lot of photographic planning. Does anyone know if the people who tried to blow up a London nightclub and then drove into Glasgow airport the next day, took photos?

 

In any case, as someone else has said, you don't need to take photos, even with a geotagging device. You can find pretty much any worthwhile terrorist target on Street View. I think I read somewhere that terrorists have Internet access now.

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They are apparently innocents just walking around taking photos then running home to plan exactly where and how they are going to detonate the device.

Interesting. The 7/7 bombers blew up tube trains and a bus, which doesn't seem to require a lot of photographic planning. Does anyone know if the people who tried to blow up a London nightclub and then drove into Glasgow airport the next day, took photos?

 

In any case, as someone else has said, you don't need to take photos, even with a geotagging device. You can find pretty much any worthwhile terrorist target on Street View. I think I read somewhere that terrorists have Internet access now.

 

I'll bet that anyone planning such an act will visit the location and that the people who committed the violence on 7/7 also visited the sites and made notes or took photos.

 

Police accumulate lots of little pieces of information which eventually fit together to point the finger of suspicion. That's how it has to remain until we develop a machine to read minds from a distance.... but then you'd not want that because it invades the minds of innocents.

 

To be protected you have to pay for it. Like I said it's a balance you have to give up a little to get a lot.

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If to prevent another act of terrorism I have to be stopped and talked to; as long as the officer is polite and explains why and what they are doing then I have no problem.

 

Oh someone that speaks sense!!!!

 

I don't care if I'm stopped a hundred times and asked what I'm doing, it's FAR more important to stop acts of terrorism, and if you're bothered about being stopped then maybe you should stay at home until all the bad men in the world are locked up!!!

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If to prevent another act of terrorism I have to be stopped and talked to; as long as the officer is polite and explains why and what they are doing then I have no problem.

 

Oh someone that speaks sense!!!!

 

I don't care if I'm stopped a hundred times and asked what I'm doing, it's FAR more important to stop acts of terrorism, and if you're bothered about being stopped then maybe you should stay at home until all the bad men in the world are locked up!!!

goodpostingsign.gifclap.gif

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As you insist on dragging this on...

 

You keep on missing the main point.

 

I'm all for doing anything that will help thwart terrorists. But no-one (especially not the police) is claiming that taking the names and addresses of people on the basis that they're taking photos actually helps the fight against them. That's why the ACPO spokesman was adamant that this won't be allowed to continue.

All they get with these names and addresses is a list of useless names and addresses, a wasting of police time, and various grumbles from otherwise supportive members of the public. Who might become less inclined to help out if they actually see something of genuine use.

Common sense tells us all (well, most of us) that taking people's details at random like this is counter-productive.

 

You also miss another point.

 

Hardly anyone minds if an officer strolls across and politely and casually asks about your photo-taking if there's something unusual about the way you're doing it. No-one is saying that they have a problem with that, and I'd expect that the photographer would easily put the officer's mind at rest without the need for further action. Hopefully, that's how it'll work in the future.

 

And the final one.

 

It's all about the perception that someone with an SLR is by definition "suspicious". Again, think about it. If it's a compact digital camera, we know that you're never seen as suspicious (even though I'd expect any terrorist to use a fairly ordinary and discreet device - why draw attention to yourself?). As there's no logic in that, tell me what use a database of selected SLR users is, when you don't collect the details of even selected compact-camera-wielding citizens.

The police know that's useless information, the government does, the newspapers do, photographers do. Otherwise they'd try and justify the stop and search incidents - and they don't. They realise that it all boils down to a few inexperienced and misguided officials causing embarrassment all round.

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Can anyone point to any occurrence where a terrorist attack has been foiled by random stop and search?

Intensely focused checkpoints in the daily life & death struggle of Iraq don't always work as today's events tragically show.

 

Surely the chances of a police officer in the UK randomly stopping someone in the street and that person a) being involved in terrorism and :) the officer being able to detect this, are vanishingly small.

 

"If to prevent another act of terrorism I have to be stopped and talked to; as long as the officer is polite and explains why and what they are doing then I have no problem."

That's a big IF, and if it were true who could possibly disagree with it? If it was guaranteed to stop an act of terrorism, I wouldn't even mind if the officer wasn't very polite. As Happy Humphrey points out rather eloquently, what annoys folk is that randomly stopping people with cameras patently doesn't prevent an act of terrorism.

 

 

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Benjamin Franklin

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That's a big IF, and if it were true who could possibly disagree with it? If it was guaranteed to stop an act of . As Happy Humphrey points out rather eloquently, what annoys folk is that randomly stopping people with cameras patently doesn't prevent an act of terrorism.

 

And what makes you think people with cameras are being singled out?

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As you insist on dragging this on...

 

You keep on missing the main point.

 

I'm all for doing anything that will help thwart terrorists. But no-one (especially not the police) is claiming that taking the names and addresses of people on the basis that they're taking photos actually helps the fight against them. That's why the ACPO spokesman was adamant that this won't be allowed to continue.

All they get with these names and addresses is a list of useless names and addresses, a wasting of police time, and various grumbles from otherwise supportive members of the public. Who might become less inclined to help out if they actually see something of genuine use.

Common sense tells us all (well, most of us) that taking people's details at random like this is counter-productive.

 

You also miss another point.

 

Hardly anyone minds if an officer strolls across and politely and casually asks about your photo-taking if there's something unusual about the way you're doing it. No-one is saying that they have a problem with that, and I'd expect that the photographer would easily put the officer's mind at rest without the need for further action. Hopefully, that's how it'll work in the future.

 

And the final one.

 

It's all about the perception that someone with an SLR is by definition "suspicious". Again, think about it. If it's a compact digital camera, we know that you're never seen as suspicious (even though I'd expect any terrorist to use a fairly ordinary and discreet device - why draw attention to yourself?). As there's no logic in that, tell me what use a database of selected SLR users is, when you don't collect the details of even selected compact-camera-wielding citizens.

The police know that's useless information, the government does, the newspapers do, photographers do. Otherwise they'd try and justify the stop and search incidents - and they don't. They realise that it all boils down to a few inexperienced and misguided officials causing embarrassment all round.

 

....or not missing your points,just not agreeing with them .

Edited by t.a.folk
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And what makes you think people with cameras are being singled out?

 

Jeff said he had been photographing a sunset over St Paul's Cathedral when an officer told him she was 'stopping people who were taking photographs, as a counter-terrorism measure'.

 

here

 

There's nothing in that article to say the police were specifically targeting photographers... just one officer.

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....or not missing your points,just not agreeing with them .

Well, with great respect, you don't seem to have a logical counter-argument so I have to take it as missing the point. Although I'm happy for you to continue disagreeing, as is your right, as it isn't geocachers that I wish to argue with.

 

To those apologists for the mistaken CSPOs and inexperienced or misguided Pcs; as we seem to have reached an impasse here, how about writing to their superiors and arguing against their decision to discourage their random harrassment of SLR-wielding citizens? Copy in ACPO, the senior police officers, newspapers and the MPs who've also taken the same line that I've pursued, and convince them that their inaction against the Canon and Nikon hordes will inevitably lead to disaster. Personally, I'm content that the fuss has been made and lessons learnt.

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There's nothing in that article to say the police were specifically targeting photographers... just one officer.

 

So how many police officers constitutes "The Police".

 

Anyway as both ACPO and Lord Carlisle thought they needed to issue a warning to their own troops within the last week (Links are up there ^ somewhere) to the effect that they should NOT be targetting photographers, that would suggest to me that they both thought that photographers were being disproportionately targetted, otherwise why the need to remind the PC on the beat that they shouldn't be doing it?

Edited by MartyBartfast
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As an aside to the google street view stuff mentioned by Steamtrain that wont tell you patrol patterns, which way cctv faces, what shop fronts etc overlook your spot etc.

Indeed. But if I'm planning to blow myself up, I'm not going to be excessively worried by the possibility of arrest. Strapping home-made "low explosives" to yourself is not a very high-tech activity. ;)

 

I have some sympathy with the people who have to try and stop terrorism - it must be hard when your opponent doesn't mind if he gets killed and doesn't have to smuggle quality weapons to do it - but perhaps there comes a point where we have to concentrate on reducing the number of people who want to do this, rather than trying to find every potential needle in every haystack.

 

My personal, perhaps rather cynical, theory, is that politicians have historically spent more effort on terrorism than other things that kill way more people (heart disease, cancer, road accidents, MRSA) because those things are either /a/ substantially caused by lifestyle choices which involve consuming products made by companies which donate a lot to party funds, or /b/ extremely unlikely to happen to politicians themselves, with their bullet-proof Daimlers and expensive private medical coverage. A mortar bomb landing in the garden of Number 10 is a bit close to home. So, they try to convince everyone else that being killed by a terrorist is more likely than winning the lottery, and as a side-benefit, they discover that this "War on Terrorism" enables them to get away with a lot of stuff that would otherwise be more closely examined by a skeptical press and electorate. See also "War on Drugs". :D

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