Thursday, February 05, 2009

Picture perfect

From the 16th of this month, you will be liable to a maximum of ten years in prison for taking a photo of a fucking policeman.
Set to become law on 16 February, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 amends the Terrorism Act 2000 regarding offences relating to information about members of armed forces, a member of the intelligence services, or a police officer.

The new set of rules, under section 76 of the 2008 Act and section 58A of the 2000 Act, will target anyone who 'elicits or attempts to elicit information about (members of armed forces) ... which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'.

A person found guilty of this offence could be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years, and to a fine.

The law is expected to increase the anti-terrorism powers used today by police officers to stop photographers, including press photographers, from taking pictures in public places.

What the fucking fuckity-fuck is this fucking shit? Ten years and a fucking fine? Fucking hell...

So, I would say that you can expect far fewer pictures showing the police kicking in protestors' heads, wouldn't you?
'Who is to say that police officers won't abuse these powers,' asks freelance photographer Justin Tallis, who was threatened by an officer last week.

What? I absolutely guarantee that the police will abuse these powers. After all, we have all seen the videos, over the last few years, of policemen trying to stop people, or arrest them, for filming in a public place and such a law does not even exist yet. Indeed, the article highlights another couple of cases.
Tallis, a London-based photographer, was covering the anti-BBC protest on Saturday 24 January when he was approached by a police officer. Tallis had just taken a picture of the officer, who then asked to see the picture. The photographer refused, arguing that, as a press photographer, he had a right to take pictures of police officers.

According to Tallis, the officer then tried to take the camera away. Before giving up, the officer said that Tallis 'shouldn't have taken that photo, you were intimidating me'. The incident was caught on camera by photojournalist Marc Vallee.

Tallis is a member of the National Union of Journalists and the British Press Photographers' Association. 'The incident lasted just 10 seconds, but you don't expect a police officer to try to pull your camera from your neck,' Tallis tells BJP.

The incident came less than a week after it was revealed that an amateur photographer was stopped in Cleveland by police officers when taking pictures of ships. The photographer was asked if he had any terrorism connections and told that his details would be kept on file.

Tag your citizens, politicise the police, form and fund an unaccountable police pressure group to lobby you, give them incredibly wide-ranging powers, and then make it illegal for anyone to make or hold evidence of the police abuse: NuLabour have now pretty much created the archetypal police state.

Will the last citizen out of the country into the gulag please turn out the lights fire up the ovens...


John A said...

"likely to be useful to a person commiting or preparing an act of terrorism."

Which experience with RIPA shows includes such terrorist acts as putting out dustbins the night before collection is scheduled rather than waiting until the wee hours of the A.M.

Shaun said...

Is there an execmption for our small army of CCTV operators as they'll be making rather a lot of images of Policemen...?

Old Holborn said...

I take photos of the police all the time

It infuriates them

Go and find a couple of PCSO's in your local town, position yourself three feet from them and snap away.

Hours of fun pointing out to them that they too are taking YOUR photo through CCTV. What's good for the goose etc. What I am doing is none of your business etc, you work for the people, not the State etc..

One local PCSO now actually poses for photos.

Dave H said...

'...of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'

WTF kind of a catch-all is that? If it had said, '...for the purposes of committing or preparing an act" it might make sense.

I once took a picture of a sign at Stansted that said 'EU and non-EU Departures.' At the time I thought it was slightly funny that it didn't simply say 'Departures' but with hindsight it was just as well no MP5-toting plods were lurking.

Anonymous said...

The MSM are going to regret not being honest with the British public.Good policing requires goodwill and co-operation with law abiding citizens.This piece of shit legislation just knocked the last nail in that coffin.

Anonymous said...

Old H said: "position yourself three feet from them and snap away."

If you did that to any decent upright honest Englishman, you'd get a fucking good and well-deserved kicking. Try it down the pub tonight.

I'm no fan of the police who spend more time these days operating speed cameras and hassling opposition politicians, but that's not on.

Dr Evil said...

Let's hope the fucking Pakis in Peterborough caught abusing service personnel, notably those from RAF Wittering, told to wear their uniforms with pride, get arrested and banged up for 10 years. Fuckers! It's the only good bit in this awful act. We can all be arrested under blanket legislation like this.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Thankfully I have zoom lenses and zoom telephoto lenses

Anonymous said...

Henry ... You sound like a professional peeping tom.

Anonymous said...

SomeBloke: the police are citizens given extraordinary powers over their fellow citizens. It is our right to photograph them when and where we want. Their authority is supposed to derive from the consent of the public. Being able to monitor them is a big part of the old quis custodiet ipsos custodes bargain and forms a large portion of the basis for that consent.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

This is how I use my zoom lenses

I snapped these in the wild They were over 100 yards away on the top of a hill

Anonymous said...

@David Gillies

Oh I agree with you 100% - any power that can be abused will be abused and any law that prevents abuse being exposed will encourage that abuse. This law is another nail in the coffin of English freedom.

The thing is, I fucking hate these press wankers who think they can stick a camera lens up anyone's nose or arsehole and I fucking love it when they get a good going over because of it, that's all.

Apologies to OldH if he felt offended by what I said, but I hope he wasn't and understood that there is also a freedom to not have someone stick a camera in your face.

Anonymous said...

there is also a freedom to not have someone stick a camera in your face.

Ah yes, that good old 'freedom from' concept that Mussolini was so keen on!


Anonymous said...

any picture could be used to concoct a terrorist "case" - for instance,
i mentioned the 10 years for photographing a policeman to a colleague who has studied law and plans to work in the field of human rights. her response was, "this hardly affects me since i don't want a collection of coppers' photos. why are you worried about this shit when people are losing their jobs?"
my friend felt no unease about this alarming law which is a pure people-crusher if there ever was one. she clearly thought i was a paranoid dullard. (guilty!)
but plod has the power to steal her mobile phone, delete pictures he doesn't like, and to use a taser if she raises her voice in protest. sad times are these...

Anonymous said...

The only way we are going to get rid of all this bollocks legislation is through civil war, sooner rather than later would be good.

Anonymous said...

"I once took a picture of a sign at Stansted that said 'EU and non-EU Departures.' At the time I thought it was slightly funny that it didn't simply say 'Departures' but with hindsight it was just as well no MP5-toting plods were lurking."

you were indeed lucky, as that's a security station and taking pictures of those has been illegal for many years.

Anonymous said...

"as a press photographer, he had a right to take pictures of police officers."

I would have said, as a human being he had a right to take pictures of police officers.

Nothing made press photographers different, either before this obnoxious law was passed, or after it.

Do let's stop allowing their divide-and-rule approach. If we make press photographers a privileged clan, that's a stop on the way to everyone needing a licence to take photographs.

Anonymous said...

It's to stop things like this happening:

Can't have the evidence being kept, can they?

Anonymous said...

The description of what happened to Tallis sounds to me like a straightforward assault. That police officer effectively assaulted Tallis. What he did was to assault and arrest Tallis without going through the correct procedure of telling Tallis what offence he suspected he had committed, telling him he was under arrest, cautioning him and then seizing the camera.

I hope Tallis takes a civil action against the police officer in question for common assault, unlawful imprisonment and dereliction of his public duty. At the very least he should make a formal complaint to the relevant police authority.

CC said...

Shit. My Brother-in-Law is a cop. I have loads of pictures of him with the family.

I need to quickly delete all of them, burn the physical ones and hope that it is not 10 years for each photo.

Anonymous said...

Ha- this law will make no difference mainly because the police are never on the streets in the first place!! The only chance they have of being photographed is if we all wade in to the local cop shop.

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