Taking pictures in Public places - Know your rights

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Taking pictures in Public places - Know your rights

Post by yin.wong » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:16 pm

I found this on the BBC news website which may interest some of you.




Mike Hynes

Re: Taking pictures in Public places - Know your rights

Post by Mike Hynes » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:33 pm

Mike Hynes wrote:You can get the PDF "Photographer's Rights in the UK" by Linda Macpherson from here : http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php
Monday 28 April 2008 - You can now find a permanent link to this on the regular APS web site "links" page

Stephen Simpson

New article in Daily Telegraph

Post by Stephen Simpson » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:20 pm

Well written article in Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jh ... aphers.xml

steve smith
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:54 pm
Location: Great Missenden & North Berwick

Re: Taking pictures in Public places - Know your rights

Post by steve smith » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:54 am

I have had two instances with the police relating to taking pictures in public places. The first was in Scarborough about four years ago where I was taking pictures on the seafront and the beach, it was summer and rather busy. We were there for an hour or two then decided to walk back to the car and leave town.

Unaware to us, someone had followed my wife and I back to the car and on driving out of the town we were stopped by no less then three police vehicles. To cut a long story short they had problems with paedophiles in the town and it was obvious that they were paraniod. The officer looked at my images and said fine you can go, but next time you want to take pictures ask the beach life guards. My response was, but there is no law against taking pictures in public so I don’t need to. No response from the Policeman, I suppose one has to careful.

The second instance was last year in Scotland with Andrew Bailey who wanted to take some shots of the Grangemouth Oil Refinery. An industrial photo, shot at low light with all that heavy metal, steam, lights and gas flames, it looked spectacular. So we were driving on a public road through the refinery where Andrew wanted to be dropped off.

I dropped Andrew off and agreed to pick him up in a while, whilst I was looking elsewhere for photos. On my return he was surrounded by security guards who were waiting for the police to arrive who were expected in the next five minutes.

There was not much else to do, so I left him at the scene of his crime and said I would be back in twenty minutes. When I returned he was still there, no police, we decided not hang around, it cannot be against the law to take pictures from a public road. We checked with the guards that they had no rights to detain us and we left!

That night we stayed in North Berwick, the following morning I phoned home only to find out that my wife had a visit from the police at 1am in the morning. She was waiting up for our daughter and feared the worse when two police officers arrived at the doorstep.

They just wanted to check us out and make sure we were not nutters or terrorists (that was a close shave).

If you want to take pictures in public places just take them, nobody has the right to stop you. On private property that’s different read the other information on the links above.

So you would have thought I would have learnt my lesson when taking pictures in public, or for that matter public conveniences, this picture was taken recently, it was not set up.

http://www.stevesmithphotographer.com/p ... asp?id=191

50% of all sales will go towards a Police Charity.

Steve Smith

Stephen Simpson

Story from the States

Post by Stephen Simpson » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:35 pm

...someone arrested by the Amtrak police (Transport Police) - they were taking images for an Amtrak-sponsored photo contest...

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php ... ic=77084.0


Re: Taking pictures in Public places - Know your rights

Post by barryhunt » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:56 pm

This topic is still very much alive. It was discussed at a recent committee meeting of the Chiltern Society PhotoGroup. Having previously posted an item for the Daily Telegraph's blog on the subject of police harassment, I was seconded to write a letter for the Sept 2009 issue of the Chiltern Society's quarterly magazine. Here it is:

Letter to CS News, No 193

Taking liberties with your photos

Think twice before you press the button when taking photographs in public places. In some instances you risk being harassed by a police officer, or worse a 'security' jobsworth. The former happened a few months ago to Klaus Matzka, an Austrian visiting London with his teenage son. Apart from photographing the city’s sights, his interest in modern architecture and places away from the normal tourist beat led him to take pictures at the Vauxhall bus and underground station. Two policemen forced him and his son to delete all transport-related pictures on their cameras, while also taking their personal details. In return they gained first-hand knowledge of how Britain's new brand of state authoritarianism has eroded our civil liberties. (Needless to say he returned to Vienna as an embittered, former anglophile.)

Such incidents are fairly common according to reports in the specialist and national media. Both accredited professionals and amateur photographers have been stopped and cautioned while taking photographs in the UK. Some say the situation has worsened since the hasty introduction of the Counter Terrorism Act in February. It is now illegal to photograph police officers, military personnel or members of the intelligence services. Why? Because the photographs 'may be of use for terrorism'. Badly drafted legislation from the Home Office, which can be interpreted as 'restricting photography in public places', is compounded by loose interpretations. The Austrian visitor, for example, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was 'strictly forbidden'. Not true. In fact, police officers and community support officers do not have the authority to confiscate cameras or memory cards, or demand that law-abiding people should delete images that are not inherently private or involved in national defence. The issue is well-aired on a BBC News Magazine item, with comments, on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7351252.stm.

If you have strong feelings about this issue, you can add your voice by supporting an online petition that calls for the vague restrictions on photography to be lifted. It is open for signatures from British citizens until 31 August 2009. (Several fellow members of the Chiltern Society PhotoGroup have already signed.) Check out the information on the Prime Minister's office website. If you agree, please sign the petition on the link: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Photorestrict/. Cynics may think such online petitions resemble clinical palliatives, in which case why not contact your local MP or even the Chief Constable? At the very least, be aware of how complacency will always threaten our hard-won civil liberties.

Barry Hunt, Holmer Green

Mike Hynes
Site Admin
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UK Photographers Rights v2 - 30 March 2009

Post by Mike Hynes » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:58 pm

Linda Macpherson has updated her well-respected guide to UK Photographers Rights.

It can be read or downloaded free from http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr

Mike Hynes

Mike Hynes
Site Admin
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:10 pm

Re: Petition to the Pime Minister

Post by Mike Hynes » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:36 am

From No 10 Downing Street:

See the full text at: http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20750

COPY:We received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove new restrictions on photography in public places.”

Details of Petition:

“On the 16th of February, the Government passed a law (in the Counter Terrorism Act) making it illegal to take a photograph of a police office, military personnel or member of the intelligence services - or a photograph which “may be of use for terrorism”. This definition is vague at best, and open to interpretation by the police - who under Home Secretary guidelines can “restrict photography in public places”. We call for these vague restrictions to be lifted, as they can easily be mis-used by the police.”

· Read the petition
· Petitions homepage

Read the Government’s response
Thank you for your e-petition.

On 16 February 2009, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (Commencement No.2) Order 2009 brought in to force section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000 (inserted by section 76 of the CTA 2008), offences relating to information about members of the armed forces etc.

Section 58A makes it an offence to publish, communicate, elicit or attempt to elicit information about any of such persons which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Contrary to some media and public misconception, section 58A does not make it illegal to photograph a police officer, military personnel or member of the intelligence services.

On the 18 August 2009, the Home Office published the following information via its website to clarify photography in relation to section 58A.

Photography and Section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000

The offence concerns information about persons who are or have been at the front line of counter-terrorism operations, namely the police, the armed forces and members of the security and intelligence agencies.

An officer making an arrest under section 58A must reasonably suspect that the information is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. An example might be gathering information about the person’s house, car, routes to work and other movements.

Reasonable excuse under section 58A

It is a statutory defence for a person to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for eliciting, publishing or communicating the relevant information. Legitimate journalistic activity (such as covering a demonstration for a newspaper) is likely to constitute such an excuse. Similarly, an innocent tourist or other sight-seer taking a photograph of a police officer is likely to have a reasonable excuse.

Mike Hynes
Site Admin
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:10 pm

From The Independent, Thursday 2 December 2009

Post by Mike Hynes » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:47 pm

See the article on their website: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 33127.html

Mike Hynes

Mike Hynes
Site Admin
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:10 pm

Metropolitan Police Advice on Photography

Post by Mike Hynes » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:40 pm

You can view the Metropolitan Police advice/guidelines on photography here:

https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice ... hy-advice/

Mike Hynes
(edited for the Met site 16 Nov 2020)

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