London police enforce imaginary law against brave, principled teenaged photographer

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AB Editor | 13:33 Tue 29th Jun 2010 | News
48 Answers
Afternoon All.

From BoingBoing:

Two police officers stopped a teenaged freelance photographer from taking pictures of police cadets marching in an Armed Forces Day in London. The officers claimed (incorrectly) that it was against the law to photograph minors without parental consent. Then they pushed him down a set of stairs and detained him. The photographer recorded the incident, including the officers claiming that they didn't need any law to detain him.

From the Photographer:
"I was quickly and aggressively stopped by one of their adult officers asking me who I worked for," he wrote on his blog. "I responded that I was a freelance and upon being told I needed parental permission to photograph them, I explained this was a public event in a public place and that I didn't for editorial use."

It is quite a disgusting way for the police to act. The young man stands his ground, remains relatively calm and all he is met with is nonsense from the police. For anyone who suggests "young'uns should have more respect for authority" this is a fine example of why authority is not trusted by the nation's youth.

The video is a mix of the still images taken by the photographer and the sound recorded from the exchange.

London police enforce imaginary law against brave, principled teenaged photographer


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it's PCs gone mad...

I thought the police had been ordered to stop making idiots of themselves in this fashion, at least with regard to terrorism laws - I don't know about photographing minors.
with PoliSS like this we could do with a few less.
Question Author
Apparently you can't keep bad police-work down!

From the Guardian article:

//Monday morning all 43 police forces in England and Wales had received a memorandum warning them that officers were "confused" over stop and search powers.

"Officers should be reminded that it is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs of a public building and use of cameras by the public does not ordinarily permit use of stop and search powers," the circular said.//

It seems they were told.

I always feel like we don't get our money's worth with the police when this sort of thing crops up. I want them fighting baddies, not harassing photographers.

Spare Ed
All power corrupts.
This kind of thing is happening up and down the country
I have been asked to stop photographing public buildings which I was going for work. Mainly from jobsworths rather than the Police.

The first time, I was asked to hand over the memory card which I refused. It has happened several times, and after that first instance I found out the law, and now stand my ground. The jobsworths are always very aggressive and impolite.

It is totally stupid. I am not asian with a suspicious beard.
Question Author
Really quite stunning.

Is it lack of "training"? Or is McMouse right? Power = Corruption?

Are the police afraid of tackling real problems, and instead go for the "cheap" arrests?

They certainly aren't gaining any of the respect they probably think they're entitled to.

Spare Ed
Question Author
Very odd Gromit. Any real reason given? What is it that they're trying to protect in your opinion Gromit?

Spare Ed
Here is another , loads on the web
I would love to know where they think their powers of arrest arise!
it's a public flogging for taking photos if an Arab man happens to be in the frame, in Dubai.. or so my friend informs me, she's just returned.
be grateful for small mercies I say
Spare Ed,

I can only guess at my perceived threat. The one instance were I can see why the did it, but still it was unjustified was when I was taking a picture of an exhibition centre where a client was exhibiting. A year later the Labour party held their Conference there. I was never told this was the reason they objected to my presence.

Another instance I was pounced on was when I was working on a campaign to get little fat school children to walk to school instead of being delivered in their parents' Chelsea tractors. We were producing a leaflet to show the safe walking routes to the school. Obviously, no male is allow to go anywhere 100 metres to a school with a camera.
Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear... yeah, right! :-(
Question Author
It is a hysterical over-reaction - Do we have any currently serving policemen on here willing to comment?

Did your "walk fatty" campaign work?

Do you believe the current government will rectify this situation?

Spare Ed
It is totally stupid. I am not asian with a suspicious beard.


They claim it is an anti Terror measure.
Spare Ed,

Sadly, it was largely a box ticking exercise with not much commitment behind it.

Problem: Our kids are obese, and the roads are snarled up with traffic
Solution: Encourage the kids to walk to school
Plan: Produce a leaflet (as part of an overall travel Plan)
Result: No one takes any notice.
Conclusion: Lazy parents need more encouragement than a leaflet, but council can say they tried, even though it was half hearted.

Gromit's employer gets paid and I get my wage but a rather futile exercise in the end.
Lol, yeah I understand Gromit!
London police enforce imaginary law against brave, principled teenaged photographer

Kind of like those Imaginary stairs you used to fall down after spending a night at the cells!

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