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The Bureau of Freelance Photographers

Photographers are receiving increased harassment from the police according to new reports from the Bureau of Freelance Photographers.

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Press Release: BFP logo

Photographers are increasingly being viewed as potential criminals by police and stopped from doing their work, according to the Bureau of Freelance Photographers. In many cases, police are using stop and search powers without reasonable cause to prevent photographers – both amateur and professional – from taking pictures.

An increasing number of members have sough help from the BFP after facing what they consider harassment. One member, a semi-professional, was stopped from taking pictures in Ipswich town centre of Christmas lights being turned on. The policewoman involved even demanded to know whether the photographer had a licence to use his camera! He was made to erase images and instructed to complete an Encounter and stop/Search Record.

Another member claims he is constantly moved on when innocently taking pictures in London. “Putting up a tripod merely compounds the so-called offence,” he says.

This despite best practice guidelines on improving relations between the police and photographers, drawn up by the Association of Police Officers and photographers' organisations.

“But guidelines or no guidelines,” says John Tracy of the Bureau of Freelance Photographers, “the simple fact is the police do not have the right, except in exceptional circumstances, to stop people from taking pictures in public places.”



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It's not just the police, Ken Livingstone's yellow uniformed "Stasi" (so called "Heritage Wardens") that patrol Trafalger Square, South Bank etc. are sometimes poking their noses in and trying to tell photographers they "can't take pictures here"......Mr. Livingstone would have the public believe that we might all be paedophiles!....It's up to photographers to stand firm and refuse to comply with these wardens, after all, much as Ken Livingstone might not like to admit it, this is London, and not some latter day East Berlin.

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I have been taking photographs in central london for a number of years and i must say I havn't had a problem with anybody so far i managed to take a few shots in Oxford street last weekend when it was padestrianised for the day

there was a lot of police around and there was a bunch of stands and people in fancy dress and no one tryed to stop me taking pictures
Is Britain sleep walking into a police state?

Ever since 9/11 , July bombings and the current paedophile panic there appears to be more and more of an erosion of our basic rights to carry out lawful activity without harassment from police or other officials. From what I have read on EpZ even the general public are getting in on the act.

I fully recognise that there is a need to protect us from terrorists and children from paedophiles. The issue is that these problems are now being used a justification for excessive incursion into our lives.

The only practical thing I think we can do as photographers is let people know about this issue and should you be unfortunate enough to be subjected to over zealous policing make a formal complaint. (Though it is probably best to comply initially, even if you ask to speak with a more senior officer.)

So far I have not been subjected to harassment - but it is only a matter of time!
This sort of bad policing winds me up, yet if you watch Road Wars on Sky the police have a video camerman with them and if the suspect complains about being filmed they say - he can film what he likes - he's in a public place, pitty they don't practice watch they preach.

Also they had a section called Ask a Copper - so it did about the increased levels of police harassment of photographers - guess what - no replay Smile

It's a real mess - I got asked what i was doing photographing a road sign - then no one bats an eye when I go up an photograph a police car - odd.

Bet the don't challenge all those tourist photographers !!!!

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