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POLL - Stopped while taking pictures

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Mar 21, 2009.

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Survey of use of video facility on digital compact/bridge

  1. I don't have a still camera with video option

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. I have at least one still camera with video option but have never used it seriously

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Have used video option occasionally

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Have used video option frequently

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Have only fiddled to see what it's like

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Only want to see the result of this poll

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    I think we took a pretty significant step forward last week when news editor Chris Cheesman and I had a meeting with the Minister of State for policing, security and crime, Vernon Coaker. We wanted to make him aware that police and PCSOs all over the country are using terrorism laws to stop and question amateur photographers out enjoying their hobby. The meeting was set-up by long-term friend of AP Austin Mitchell MP (lab), and we were joined by Andrew Miller MP (lab) and David Wilshire MP (con).

    As you will read in Chris’ new report in the news pages of Amateur Photographer issue 28 March (on sale Tuesday 24 March) and AP web news report various points of view were expressed on the subject and Mr Coaker was left in no doubt that the problem exists and that many of us are very unhappy. He seemed to listen, and understand that although there are issues with the way new anti-terror legislation has been worded the main issue is that police officers on the ground have not been fully briefed on what the law says and means – and the basic principle that it is not an offence to take pictures in a public place.

    Before our next move we are collecting evidence of photographers of all types being stopped and questioned in the street by police or PCSOs. If you have ever been stopped use the thread below to recount your experiences.

    Thanks for taking part

    Damien
     
  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I expect most of my cameras appear too inocuous to make me worth stopping. Maybe if I got one of these that might change. :D
     
  3. john_g

    john_g Well-Known Member

    Yes. The police in Croydon seemed to think that I looked like a terrorist who was planning to demolish the House Of Nesquick. But I believe that if you treat the police with politeness, then not only will your situation resolve itself, but also that you'll have done something to change that individual's perceptions and maybe stop them questioning so many other photographers in the future.

    Also, twice recently I've taken photographs at railway stations. The first time I was clearly photographing the adjacent cement works, but the station staff were barely polite, forcefully insisting that I was in the wrong. On the second occasion, a couple of transport police officers came up to me, said they didn't understand why I was taking pictures at such strange angles, and we ended up having a great chat about Flickr's "Guess Where London" group.

    Clearly, in the main, it seems to come down to individual officers' attitudes and their current boredom levels so, yes, strong guidance and training within the force is clearly required. Still, give me a police officer rather than a private security guard any day.
     
  4. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    no, I haven't been stopped by the police for taking photographs, but then again, I haven't been in the U.K. in the last five years and right now it seems that this photographer witch hunt, whether it be for paedophiles or terrorists, by the police, security guards, PCSO's or simply the hysterical public, has killed my appetite to photograph the British again.

    My last 2 week visit to London was a purely photographic one, which included taking in at least 2 photography exhibitions a day whilst photographing the people in-between. Little did I know that it was probably my last Brit. photo safari.
     
  5. chris000

    chris000 Well-Known Member

    I've not been stopped by the police. I think that may be because the majority of photography that I do is in rural locations and this does seem to be a mostly an urban thing (we hardly ever see a policeman in these parts).

    But I have noticed a general rise in suspicion amongst people when they see me with a camera and in the last few months I have been 'harassed' by members of the public who 'know their rights' and insist that I need their permission to take photos anywhere in the vicinity of them or their property. It hasn't got too bad <u>yet</u> .

    But keep up the good work Damien, I think this is the only hope of preserving a freedom that we should all have.
     
  6. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Or one of these ;)
     
  7. Mark101

    Mark101 Well-Known Member

    I've never been stopped by the police myself, but since I use film a lot they are going to have more problems than they might otherwise expect to view the images.

    I cetainly feel that one reason why the police stop people now, in addition to all the legislation, is that a policeman finds it so easy to say 'Let's take a look at what you have been taking pictures of sir'

    What worries me is this stance in London where armed response units are called out to incidents involving amateur photographers. There have been a number of reported incidents and as I pointed out to Mr Coaker in an e mail last week I'm just wondering how long it will be before someone gets hurt as a result of armed resonse units bening called out to such trivial matters.
     
  8. john_g

    john_g Well-Known Member

    That's not entirely true. My experience is that nowadays they find it not just difficult, but impossible, to say 'sir'. But I'm glad about that, particularly because it allows me to say that the police have clearly been policed by the irony police.
     
  9. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    The figures in the chart (currently) don't add up! :D :D


    At this moment - with 42 counts and only two choices - the graph shows 11.26% 'Yes', 31.74% 'No'. That makes a total of 43%.
     
  10. ermintrude

    ermintrude Hinkypuff

    Looks OK now. Maybe it went a bit AWOL while somebody was voting or something? Yes - 11 26%
    No - 32 74%

    EDIT: Ha ha no I see it, youve readit as 11.26% and 31.74% when its 11 votes ie 26% and 31 votes ie 74% :D
     
  11. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    Silly, silly me!! :eek:

    I was just thinking ... my spectacles seem rather fuzzy on one side when used for a VDU and have been irritating me all morning. Dang, they are a very old pair. The question now is, where have my proper ones gone?
     
  12. TheAllSeeingEye

    TheAllSeeingEye Well-Known Member

    I got stopped by a PCSO at Victoria Station, London. I was told that photography was not permitted without the permission of the station manager, despite the fact that it is a very public place. Upon seeking permission I was informed that permission would need to be sought in advance in future but was told I could proceed on that occassion after showing photo ID.
     
  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    There is a difference between a space full of the public and a public space.
    Stations, malls, and even council property are not public space, and my properly require permission.
    How or if that permission is granted is down to the owners.
    However PCSO staff would not normally be the ones to control this since it is private property. But they are probably easier to deal with than private security staff.
     
  14. Hotblack

    Hotblack Dead Horse Flogger

    I've never been stopped by the police or a PCSO. I have been asked once by a security guard at a disused brewery what I was doing. When I told him he seemed perfectly happy and wandered off.

    I was also once asked to stop taking pictures, by railway personel, of some friends (with a compact) at the train station at the O2 arena, but then, that is private property so not surprising.
     
  15. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    I nearly bought one many years ago.I don't recall how much it was.
    Dave :)
     
  16. Mark101

    Mark101 Well-Known Member

    mmm I remember those ! I'd say you stood a good chance of getting shot using one of those in London. If a deaf man can be shot dead by the police for carrying a repaired chair leg in a plastic bag you certainly wouldn't stand a chance with one of those things.
     
  17. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    yesterday I was in Scarborough...there were loads of togs about and no police/PCSOs...blisss
     
  18. Simon_King

    Simon_King Well-Known Member

    I haven't been stopped but as I do mostly landscapes I don't find myself in the situation where I would be that often. However, whilst out in Cardiff the other weekend I was taking pictures in the city centre for the current APOY round. Whilst there I took some pictures of some guys who were doing stunts jumping off of street furniture.

    One of them decided to do a handstand on a telephone box which was pretty impressive. When he got down two police officers came over and gently rebuked the guy. It was all done in a friendly and humorous manner which pleasantly surprised me. Also I was there with my camera snapping away and not a word to me about that. I was careful not to photograph the officers, but I don't think they would have commented if I had.

    Having read a lot about this subject I was quite wary of wandering up and down the city centre with a large DSLR and Lens. But this experience was totally counter to any of that. Most people were also receptive to having their picture taken only two people turned down my polite requests.

    So there is my limited experience of all of this.

    Cheers
    Simon
     
  19. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I've found that pretty much every weekend for the past few years. Every weekend I've been out with the camera anyway.

    Much of this problem, IMHO, exists in people's minds and some don't seem to differentiate between where people are stopped or why. Whilst I'm sure there is a problem there's so much noise around the issue that it's difficult to see the woods for the trees. To me answering 'yes, I was stopped on private property by a privately employed individual' just devalues the poll and makes it worthless at highlingting any problem with policing on the streets and how innocent photographers have been impacted by recent anti-terror legislation. The poll may even be published in AP and people may even look at it and think a higher percentage of people have been stopped unfairly than actually have....and the cycle of paranoia continues because some people don't understand the question...or are blinded by outrage or something :(
     
  20. gollum

    gollum Well-Known Member

    Ive been approached, but more out of curiousity of what I am doing, the person in question had an interest in photography. Most of my stuff tends to take me away from crowds and built up areas im pleased to say :cool:
     

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