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Police harassment


Philipo 13 56 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2007 3:29PM
The following incident happened on Sunday 18th November; -

I was doing some photography work for a friend who has no photographic knowledge he runs a community website in Ipswich

He asked me to take some photographs of Ipswich Towns lights being turned on (in a public place) by Leticia Dean. The photographs would then have been placed onto the community website he runs

Whilst I was taking photographs of an act prior to the turning on of the lights I was approached by a police woman and asked to stop taking photographs she then proceeded to ask if I had a licence to use my camera (that's a new one on me). I explained that I was working for the above mention website (I even gave her a business card with the sites details). I challenged her as to why I could not take any photographs as there were several other members of the public taking photographs with cameras, her reply was that I was seen taking photographs of the crowd. I proved to her that I was not taking pictures of the crowd only of the act on stage.

Alas she was not happy with that she said that there was an official photographer at the event and I had to stop taking photographs. I was dumbfounded by this, as there were so many others taking photographs, I was then taken behind the barriers and down an ally way to fill a form in called an Encounter & Stop/Search Record. This I found very degrading as it looked as if I had been arrested. I then erased all the images that I took. I was then told to put my camera back in my car.

What is happening in society today when you are not allowed to take photographs in a public place of a public event it was all perfectly innocent what I was doing.

I have however been informed by The British Freelance Photography Association I was well with in my rights to take the photographs.
Phil

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looboss 12 3.1k 7 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2007 3:34PM
Very strange I was there that evening and was standing right next to the crowd of police that were there and yes I was taking a few shots of the stage and crowd and nothing was said to me.
I left before they turned the lights on as further down the street they were on anyway LOL!
paulcr 15 1.5k 9 Ireland
20 Nov 2007 3:36PM
Woah, what a horrible situation to be faced with. Not just embarrasing but infuriating too.
Certainly hope we never reach that situation here. I would find it very difficult to hold my tongue (not being one to take crap from anyone Smile)
Commiserations.
Paul
mattw 15 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2007 3:37PM

Quote:Alas she was not happy with that she said that there was an official photographer at the event and I had to stop taking photographs
If you were on private property, then the Police could have you for trespass. If you were on public property, then it was none of their business. No matter who was booked as the offical tog.


Quote:I then erased all the images that I took
Were you told to do this? The Police cannot force you to do this.


Quote:I was then told to put my camera back in my car
Carrying a camera is not a crime -Period. The Police cannot force you to do this.
Bellie 13 507
20 Nov 2007 3:38PM
I think there are increasing occurrances where the police are using this 'encounter & stop search' with regard to photographers. In many cases the police are acting incorrectly and don't seem to have any reason for what they are doing, althought the ambiguity of the search criteria seems to let them get away with it. I would register a complaint with the police and try and get them to inform you of the reasons why they acted as they did. I think that as this kind of thing increases, there needs to be some kind of response that photographers can give - less we become a targeted bunch for no reason.

That reminds me... I must go to the post office and get my camera licence !!
lobsterboy Plus
15 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2007 3:40PM
Simon_Palmer 13 759 11 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2007 3:41PM

Quote:That reminds me... I must go to the post office and get my camera licence
Don't say that, geez they'll introduce one.

I remember them for dogs and CB radio, they were silly enough, just a really silly tax.

The modern day version is called the National Lottery, now there is a real tax for the stoopid if ever I saw one. Cor, this country hey, fascinating.

Really sorry to hear of your predicament Phil, being law abiding tho you will just comply as would most of us.

Simon
Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
20 Nov 2007 3:46PM
Was a tripod being used? That seems like a red rag sometimes. If so they may be able to manufacture some sort of 'obstruction of the highway' charge - but it's all rather specious.

Of course you can take whatever photos you like, and do whatever you like with them, provide you are standing on public and not private property. In any case, on private property I don't think the police's writ runs in normal circumstances.
cambirder 15 7.2k England
20 Nov 2007 3:53PM
They get away with it because the public are slightly more ignorant of the law than many police offices seem to be. It is very difficult to argue with someone in authority when you are unsure of your rights.

I would write to the Chief Constable of Suffolk complaining about your treatment, and demand an apology.
stolzy 14 3.8k 7
20 Nov 2007 3:56PM
Even if you were taking photographs of the crowd, what's wrong with that? The police do it all the time.
Seems to me your right have been infringed, I'd make a formal complaint, I trust you got the numbers of the officers involved. I think you have a duty to take this further.
A mobile phone recording of the conversation with the police is always useful in these circumstances.
conrad 15 10.9k 116
20 Nov 2007 3:57PM

Quote:They get away with it because the public are slightly more ignorant of the law than many police offices seem to be.


Ah, but in this case, Phil was perfectly aware of the fact that what he was doing was legal.

Still doesn't help, does it, knowing the law, because if you object too strongly to their illegal behaviour towards you, they might arrest you!

Read about that photographer who was illegally arrested and they made him leave his gear, which subsequently disappeared? He's still trying to get financial compensation.
csurry 17 9.2k 92
20 Nov 2007 4:00PM
A camera licence - now there's an idea.

However, would it be based purely on the ability to pay. Or like road tax, based on the size of the engine or sensor in this case.

Hmm, the possibilities are wonderful for creating a whole new income stream for Mr Darling to fund NR and to divert attention.
Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
20 Nov 2007 4:02PM
I imagine this may have been a 'rogue' policeperson, as Luis was at the same event and had no problems with nearby police.


Quote:I would write to the Chief Constable of Suffolk complaining about your treatment, and demand an apology.


Yes, don't let it just pass. Public officials need to know where the line is drawn.
ZenTog 17 7.9k 1 England
20 Nov 2007 4:09PM
it was Luis who told the police , pretending he was the official tog!!! LOL
police often act beyond their remit, I had it once and the detective/ defective sergant didnt like me taking down his name number rank etc and making him state why he was doing what he was doing and that I was unhappy with his actions.
He came back the next day al lsheepish

Police however they feel are public servants , we pay thier wages and they have to answer to joe public ultimately .
lee beel 15 251 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2007 4:13PM
I strongly agree that you should seek to get an apology for being subjected to this treatment. If you do decide to take it any further please keep us informed.


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