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#459283 - Wed Feb 11 2009 08:59 AM New law for photographers
tellywellies Offline
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Registered: Sat Apr 13 2002
Posts: 5325
Loc: South of England
Worth being aware of a new photography law that comes into existence in the UK on the 16th of February. Read the article here:

http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=836675

So, a need to be careful regarding this.

Edit: ...but not be put off altogether. It's just something that needed highlighting. Nothing said can alter the situation if that's the way it is, which is why it was posted as a locked statement. Unlocked now in case anyone wants to comment.


Edited by tellywellies (Wed Feb 11 2009 04:37 PM)

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#459284 - Wed Feb 11 2009 05:20 PM Re: New law for photographers [Re: tellywellies]
sue943 Offline

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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 35441
Loc: Jersey Channel Islands        
I would think it will not affect most of the photos we have here, those in the UK just take care of what you take photos.
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#459285 - Wed Feb 11 2009 05:38 PM Re: New law for photographers [Re: sue943]
tellywellies Offline
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Registered: Sat Apr 13 2002
Posts: 5325
Loc: South of England
I too think it doesn't really affect photos taken for the forum. We don't show people in detail anyway, let alone Police, other Forces or officials. It's probably more that it could affect people innocently pointing a camera around in general.
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#459286 - Sun Jan 03 2010 08:21 AM Re: New law for photographers [Re: tellywellies]
Dotb Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 04 2009
Posts: 370
Loc: Oswestry Shropshire UK       
There was a professional photographer on the radio the other day who said he was often stopped and questioned by the police for photographing churches! That's his job. Sign of the times I suppose.
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#551167 - Tue Sep 14 2010 03:30 PM Re: New law for photographers [Re: Dotb]
darksplash Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 03 2007
Posts: 490
Loc: Tyrone Northern Ireland UK 
As an update, guidance by ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers in England Wales and Northern Ireland, was reported thus in the 'Press Gazette' in Septermber 2010:

One of Britain's most senior police officers has told forces across the country they have no right to stop people taking pictures in public.

Chief Constable Andy Trotter said the practice was unacceptable and undermined public confidence in the service.

His remarks follow a series of cases in which officers have ordered both amateur and professional photographers to delete images, often giving terrorism laws as their reason for doing so.

Trotter, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ media advisory group, told forces in a letter:

"There have been a number of recent instances highlighted in the press where officers have detained photographers and deleted images from their cameras.

"I seek your support in reminding your officers and staff that they should not prevent anyone from taking photographs in public.

"This applies equally to members of the media and public seeking to record images, who do not need a permit to photograph or film in public places."


ACPO guidance states: "There are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place.

"Therefore members of the public and press should not be prevented from doing so.

"We need to cooperate with the media and amateur photographers. They play a vital role as their images help us identify criminals.

"We must acknowledge that citizen journalism is a feature of modern life and police officers are now photographed and filmed more than ever.

"Unnecessarily restricting photography, whether for the casual tourist or professional is unacceptable and it undermines public confidence in the police service.

"Once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order."
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#551180 - Tue Sep 14 2010 04:45 PM Re: New law for photographers [Re: darksplash]
sue943 Offline

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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 35441
Loc: Jersey Channel Islands        
Thank you, that is interesting.
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#551197 - Tue Sep 14 2010 08:36 PM Re: New law for photographers [Re: sue943]
satguru Offline
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Registered: Thu Feb 17 2000
Posts: 6365
Loc: Kingsbury London UK           
I hope they follow that, he has stated the law correctly but would be a job of mammoth proportions to try and enforce a breach in court. In Britain there is no constitution, and everything not illegal is legal, including photography. The Terrorism Act is the first attempt to limit this, but as stated still hasn't covered public areas so any police officer who has stopped anyone for taking photos is guilty of something, probably false arrest is the only thing I can think of. Had an example gone to court and won then a precedent would be set, and in future case law would state that it is illegal for anyone to be stopped by the police for taking a photo, ie the law would be positive rather than implied. Without a new statute this law would remain unless either overruled by our new Supreme Court or Europe, although in this area there are no areas they can cover above our own highest court.

In practice though most police know the power they have over people and the people know the difficulty and expense involved in prosecuting the police. Given this stalemate it would allow the police to carry on as before if they choose simply as a) they aren't breaking any explicit law besides probably false arrest and b) their own colleagues aren't going to charge them so will rely on an individual taking the time and trouble to make a complaint and get a lawyer to take it on, probably as a private prosecution, which is hugely expensive and normally reserved for large organisations and millionaires. The police on the beat are well aware of this so as long as being virtually unenforceable except by their own superiors (who would only issue reprimands if complaints were issued in most cases) although more and more people will learn the law as it stands how many will be able to use it to stop the same thing when it happens and then prosecute the officer for doing so? And where are the witnesses as well, which would be essential to stand a chance of being taken on by a lawyer and winning a case? Until they made a law specifically outlawing harrassment of photographers I can see this dragging on. I'll add the constant objections from members of the public towards photography of them or their property, and if they then find a way of finding out who you are and making a complaint I'd still expect a knock on the door rather than the police simply explaining we'd done nothing against the law. Many people still tell me they believe it's illegal to photograph their house or children and as long as this mentality continues we'll keep getting harassed one way or another as the whole attitude has turned against photographers for some reason.
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