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police wrongly stop my street photography! *video inside*

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by tamphotography, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member

    basically i was walking along and shaped a shot where they were in the frame but about 30 meters away from me, nothing was said until i was 100 meters or so away and i heard some one shout "oi mate" i ignored thinking it wasn't for me and it happened twice more so turned round, they called me over, wasn't sure what was up tho had a sneaky suspicion. in Notiingham the coppers know the law and know you can take street shots, they didn't in mansfield tho.

    asked me what i was doing, so explained, politely. they bluntly said i can't take street photography of any one i like, i need their consent. so explained that wasn't the case, i don't hassle people, i take a pic and move on. they said i can't just do that and to delta the images!

    at that point the bloke wanders off to talk on his radio, and I'm left with the female officer. explain that I've had similar incidents and in a second you'll see I'm not breaking the law, then i started filming.....

    excuse me stuttering haha, was caught a bit off guard and out of breath from walking about all morning


    so in short I'm apparently not allowed to continue taking photos in the street and if i do ill be arrested for harassment!! "Harassment is defined as a 'course of conduct' (so it has to happen at least twice) that causes another person 'alarm or distress', but we have to say that the bullying and aggressive antics of the paparazzi would suggest that prosecutions are few and far between."

    later i spotted them so decided to go for another chat swell as get both their numbers, they said again, i should get peoples permition, i explained if i had to get everyones details that was in an image id be there all day,

    the bloke agreed with me but still insisted i was wrong to do so, the women said I'm basically harassing every single person,

  2. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member

    PM sent

  3. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    Good gods, I though that kind of attitude had died with Section 44. :(
  4. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Surely a member of the public has to complain before the police use this argument?

    Otherwise how does CCTV work? On that principle everyday we are harassed by the local coucil. :)

    Can I sue then? LOL

    Seems to be that police officers live in a bubble. Do they not read or watch the news at all?

    It not as if we are short of examples of the police being wrong. :(

    Today we see a payout again after the same argument by a officer of inspector rank.

  5. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    No-one knows what the legal basis for surveillance of public spaces by CCTV is. I'm surprised that some organisation like Liberty hasn't taken the matter up, in view of leaks of embarassing CCTV footage of private individuals ... but apparently it hasn't happened, yet.

    However, the rule of thumb seems to be that the Powers That Be are allowed to harass private individuals as much as they want, in order to protect their own interests. e.g. airport "security".
  6. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member

  7. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member

    CCTV is the subject of specific laws, rules and regulations. In this context (Data Protection) the 'regulator' is usually the Information Commissioner's Office [link].

    As with photographs, the main limitation is with what is done with the image after it has been taken. The problem, in a nutshell, boils down to officials who do not know what they are talking about in this specific circumstance and who exceed their power, duty and authority by restricting legal activities by imposing limitations that are fanciful to say the least.
  8. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

    And the police whinge all the time about being understaffed. Perhaps we could do with a bit of rethinking of priorities, so that they won't be too busy to deal with burglaries.
  9. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    In the interests of fairness, I have to say that after my problems with ShowSec, the police officers I spoke to in Mansfield were every bit the professionals I'd want them to be.

    Did you note the name of the PCSO? She looks rather familiar.

    Mansfield's a historic town. It's in an economic black hole at the moment, but we still have plenty of photogenic features (such as the former Blue Boar pub, just visible in the video. It's now a Santander, but the upper half of the building remains). The museum also has regular exhibitions from local amateur photographers.

    Photography in Mansfield is not an unusual pastime.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  10. Stephen67

    Stephen67 Well-Known Member

    I am absolutely appaulled at the despicable attitude of this very naiive, uneducated, selective-ignorance displayed by this law enforcement officer. She is completely clueless as to what the current law is regarding this situation, and is an embarrassment both to herself and the police force. Latest (07/07/11 - present) Home Office guidelines state:

    "The police have a number of powers relevant to the use of photography for terrorist purposes, however these cannot be used to stop people legitimately taking photographs. It is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs/film of a public building. They do not need a permit to photograph or film in a public place, and the police have no power to stop the photographing or filming of incidents or police personnel."

    But then, we all already know that don't we?

    Again, don't Peace-Officers watch the news, or listen to their briefings when these guidelines are dealt out by the HO? It beggers belief...

    I sincerely hope you haven't ended the matter. Personally, I would be on the first bus back to Mansfield police station and make a formal complaint against this officer. Ask to speak to her superior and show them this video. She's actually broken the law by stating "I'll arrest you first then find out what I'm arresting you for". It doesn't work like that. By Law a Peace Officer has to quote the charge against you at the point of arrest, not after.

    Incidentally, as a street photographer of almost 30 years, I've had my fair few brushes with the law, to the point that three years ago I actually printed off a few copies of the the Photographers Rights and walked round Nottingham City Center handing them out to every officer I saw. It's done the trick too; I never get hassled anymore. They see me on a daily basis and just leave me alone these days. I know most of them by name, and a few even ask me 'Get any good shots today Steve?'

    Looks like I'll be printing a few more off. Next stop: Mansfield. Let's educate these people - and fast!
  11. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member

    yeah i have taken i further, i called the station straight after the event, spoke to the sergeant later yesterday, he is having them in his office about their attitude and knowledge of whats legal and their powers. i have also spoke to nottinghamshire police hq and they are going to reissue the guidelines on street photography (photography in a public place) to all officers and staff
  12. Stephen67

    Stephen67 Well-Known Member

    Well done Tom! That's excellent news!

    It's very unfortunate that in most of these cases, the photographer goes home, has a little grumble, and nothing more is done. That is not good enough. If we all do the right thing by reporting and complaining in every instance/occurance, maybe, just maybe, they'll get the message and leave us alone...[edit] And we will all be safe in the knowledge that finally, Hell has frozen over. ;)
  13. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member

    cheers , bud, btw always loved your street work!

    i may have sent the article to local and national papers along with the video, though doubt it will get any coverage tbh
  14. Stephen67

    Stephen67 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom - I keep a close eye on your work too, and often see your pictures in the EP.

    Incidentally, I'm sure you're aware of what happened to Lewis in Nottingham City Center? That case is actually still ongoing and he is seeking compensation... He did contact BBC Radio Nottingham, and was invited on to the show to talk about what happened. Perhaps you could do the same - I'm sure they'd be interested. It creates public awareness, which is a very good thing!
  15. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    You might get some interest from the Chad, as their staff photographer has had run-ins with over zealous officials, even when wearing her ID round her neck.

    So, a group street photography meet-up is one the cards, yes? I'll show you where the old station was that used to connect to the Great Central Line. ;)
  16. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member


    had a member of bbc nottingham contact me a min ago so wrote up a full account:


    yesterday day (12/12/11) I was in Mansfield documenting the town i grew up in as part of a personally photography project and came across some trouble from two local PCSO's.

    I was walking along and took a photograph where the were in frame, nothing was said until i was roughly 50 meters or so away when I heard some one shout "oi mate" I ignored it thinking it wasn't for me and it happened twice more so turned round, they called me over, wasn't sure what was the issue tho had a sneaky suspicion it may be due to my photography. In Notiingham the police know the law and know you can take street shots, this seems not to be the case in Mansfield Nottinghamshire.

    The male PCSO then asked me what i was doing, so explained, politely. They bluntly said i can't take photographs in the street of any one, I need their consent. so explained that wasn't the case, i don't hassle people, i take a shot say thank you if close enough and move on. Often i engage in long conversations with my subjects, recently undertaking a project on street portraiture for the Guardian. The officer then went on to demand i delete the images and he could apparently sue me for taking his photograph. Bare in mind at no point was i on private lad, and in a public space where as a photographer or a member of the public I am well in my right to do so. I then refused to delete the images I had captured. After being told it was illegal to take photographs in a public place, i tried to explain the laws on such matters, though was spoken over very rudely by the female officer. Even when calmly explaining i had studied the laws in University and was not plucking them out of thin air, i was again shot down and told i was in the wrong. I was told by the female officer i should get permission of everyone I photograph in a public space, again trying to explain this was impassible and would take me all day for each shot. I gave an example of how when I covered the recent protests in Nottingham if i was to do what she's suggested i would need to ask over 10,000 people before taking a photograph as would the news filming the events. Again this did not wash with her.

    I then asked what i was being stopped for and the male officer left and walked 50 or so meters away to radio the station. during this time i was constantly being told that i was harassing the officer as she did not want her photo taken, again tried talking to her, explaining about cctv etc, tho she was having none of it, i again asked what i was being stopped or arrested for and she admitted not knowing, and that she "will find out once I've arrested you"! Simply i was shocked.

    She then got radioed and again said that if i was seen taking photographs or any member of public spoke to them about myself i would be as she put it "nicked" for harassment. In my years of professional photography, I have never had one member of the public complain, the complete opposite would be true, positive feed back. "Harassment is defined as a 'course of conduct' (so it has to happen at least twice) that causes another person 'alarm or distress', but we have to say that the bullying and aggressive antics of the paparazzi would suggest that prosecutions are few and far between."

    The PCSO's attitudes were terrible, sadly I only managed to record the last couple of minutes on my SLR, once threats of harassment were dished out. It is a shame that in todays society people being given slight powers as a PCSO are both making up laws from thin air and rather than building relations between the public and police, ads like this just make us question their role in the community eve more.

    As a son of two ex police officers I am fully aware of the great things the force does, but its simple thing such as not educating the officers they are putting on the streets that concerns me and many other photographers.

    the video of the last couple of minutes with the PCSO's:



    Tom Maddick

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  17. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member

    quick update....

    just had a phone call from bbc radio, looks like I may be going in to do a live interview tomorrow morning
  18. tamphotography

    tamphotography Well-Known Member

    will be speaking live to Andy Whittaker tomorrow morning after 7:00am on BBC Radio Nottingham
  19. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    7:00 am??? That's still night time!
  20. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    So, how was this PCSO going to arrest you exactly anyway?

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