Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UPDATE: Could I be arrested for taking this picture?

This is the BBC's take on the demonstration on Monday - sadly I wasn't able to make it myself as I was in Berlin but it looks likes it was a good turnout. See more over at Marc Vallee's blog


Georgio said...

"For the offence to be committed, the information would have to raise a reasonable suspicion that it was intended to be used to provide practical assistance to terrorists," it said.
"Taking photographs of police officers would not, except in very exceptional circumstances, be caught by this offence." -Metropolitan Police as quoted from the BBC article.

Says it all really.

Greg Funnell said...

Not really.

"'So there may be situations in which the taking of photographs may cause or lead to public order situations, inflame an already tense situation, or raise security considerations,' it said.

Photographers could therefore be asked to 'move on' for the safety of themselves or others.

'Each situation will be different and it would be an operational matter for the police officer concerned as to what action should be taken,' the statement added."

The fear is that such laws could mean in certain situations that if they so wished officers could obstruct the work of the press. I'm not suggesting for a minute that this law was brought into to do that, but the potential of it happening is far greater with this law in place. I've seen a number situations in the past during demonstrations where police have tried to restrict access say after a rather heavy handed arrest, even resorting to physical contact with photographers. I have colleagues who've also experienced this, the Olympic torch scuffles last year come to mind, where a number of photographers were man handled simply whilst trying to do their job. Photographers fear that with this law in place this type of aggressive and restrictive policing could become more common place.