"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Police & Photographers

Some police officers still don't understand that it isn't a criminal offence to take photographs in a public place and they just seem to be making it up as they go along.   The one in this video, when asked to give a reason for detention, just said the first things that came into his head: (eg 'you were acting silly'; 'we don't need a law'; 'causing anxiety').

This incident happened on Saturday at an Armed Forces Day parade.  The photographer was first told it was an offence to photograph a child, then an offence to photograph the military, then an offence to photograph the police and finally that he was a threat under the Terrorism Act.  It culminated in him allegedly being pushed down a flight of steps and detained 'for his own safety'.

Met Police guidelines on photography
It would ordinarily be unlawful to use section 58A to arrest people photographing police officers in the course of normal policing activities, including protests, because there would not normally be grounds for suspecting that the photographs were being taken to provide assistance to a terrorist. An arrest would only be lawful if an arresting officer had a reasonable suspicion that the photographs were being taken in order to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

There is nothing preventing officers asking questions of an individual who appears to be taking photographs of someone who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s Forces (HMF), Intelligence Services or a constable so long as this is being done for a lawful purpose and is not being done in a way that prevents, dissuades or inhibits the individual from doing something which is not unlawful.
Jules Mattson, the photographer


  1. Any where else this would viewed as the abuse of a secret police under the rule of tyranny!

  2. Time and again we've been assured that this sort of thing won't happen again but they just keep repeating the same old mistakes, TP. It's an abuse of power and it needs sorting out once and for all - it's time Cameron & Co did something about their Grand Repeal Bill and got rid of the last govt's worst excesses. when they've done that they can shut down ACPO and look into NETCU.

  3. Good for Jules, kept his cool throughout.

  4. Being a photographer these days means you have to know the law as it relates to you - he did well until he was pushed down the stairs. It will be interesting to see how this works out if he takes it to court.

  5. Captain HaddockJune 30, 2010

    These are not "mistakes" GV ..

    They are a flagrant disregard for orders .. and therefore such actions are in breach of the Police Discipline Code ..

    Assistant Commissioner John Yates issued clear advice & instructions to all Met Police Officers & Support Staff back in Dec 2009 ..


    This policy is obviously not being adhered to by some (not all) Police Officers ..

    Clearly, there is justification to take Disciplinary Action against those who breach this policy ..

  6. Thanks for the link Captain H. If the public are the police and the police are the public (one of the Peelian principles - do they still have those?) then it follows that ignorance of the law is no defence for the police either.

    Reading threads on police blogs it seems many officers think the ones in this video are muppets with no excuse.

  7. Captain HaddockJune 30, 2010

    If the Officer "starring" in the video knew the Law & his Powers and was aware of his own Senior Officers directions, he wouldn't have needed to go through the whole gamut of fatuous excuses ..

    He would have identified the alleged offence (by Act & Section) and then taken the appropriate action ..

    This particular Officer simply didn't like what he saw & tried to justify that with a lot of meaningless blather .. and in so doing has succeeded in making himself look like a completely unprofessional tit ..

    Towards the end of the video, an off-screen voice, which identifies the speaker as "Inspector Fish" states that "on my authority" .. So its obvious that the Force policy is being ignored by Supervisory ranks too ...

    Here's another link which people might find useful ..


  8. Thanks CH. I wish more people read political blogs. I wish more people recognised that their lives are their own, not the State's. It's strange to note that since they changed their name from Force to Service the Police Service has become more politicised and more authoritarian.


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