Rules on photography in public places have been spelled out in black and white on a photographers' lens cloth set to be given away with Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine's 10 July issue.

Amateur Photographer magazine lens clothThe photography rights lens cloth will come free with Amateur Photographer’s issue dated 10 July which hits news stands on Tuesday 6 July (available to subscribers from Saturday 3 July 2010).

Rules on photography in public places have been spelled out in black and white on a photographers’ lens cloth set to be given away with Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine’s 10 July issue.

Made of microfibre material the cloth is designed to be carried by photographers when out and about and can be attached to a keyring, for example.

It will give photographers, amateur and professional, easy access to guidelines issued to Metropolitan Police officers last year to help them deal with photographers.

Amateur Photographer Editor Damien Demolder said: ‘Despite government assurances to AP, photographers are needlessly prevented from taking pictures in public everyday. But with our Photographer?s Rights lens cloth you?ll be able to quickly and politely point out what your rights are. So long as you are on public property this should make your day a whole lot better ? and it will keep your lens clean too.’

The bullet-pointed advice spells out, for example, that ?there is no restriction on people taking photographs in public places or of any building other than in very exceptional circumstances.?

It also states: ?Officers do not have the power to delete digital images, destroy film or to prevent photography in a public place under either power (Sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000).?

The magazine’s nationwide campaign to defend photographers’ rights gathered momentum after an increased number of incidents gained coverage in the mainstream media over the past two years.

Among the first anti-terrorism stops reported to AP took place in 2005, the year of the 7/7 bombings in central London.

Police were accused of acting overzealously after they stopped and searched photography enthusiast Roy Jhuboo while he was out taking pictures in Limehouse, east London.

Police told him that he could have been on a reconnaissance mission to launch a ‘rocket’ on nearby Canary Wharf. Two police vans were called after Jhuboo was spotted taking pictures of a house during a walk from Tower Hill.

Since then AP has received a growing number of reports of photographers being stopped in public places, leading to a campaign by the magazine to defend photographers’ rights.

AP staff have raised photographers’ concerns in meetings with the Home Office.

Police organisations and the Home Office have since agreed that photographers should not be restricted to pursue their hobby or profession.

And the new Government has promised to ensure it strikes the ‘right balance’ between protecting the public and upholding civil liberties, as part of a review which will include police use of the controversial Section 44 stop-and-search.

However, photographers – both amateur and professional – continue to complain at the attitude of police officers on the ground.

All will be revealed about the lens cloth in AP?s 10 July issue, so keep an eye out. The magazine containing the free gift goes on sale in shops on Tuesday 6 July and is available to subscribers from Saturday 3 July 2010.

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  • Frank Fitzpatrick

    Trying to find a brief copy of the ACPO guidance to police on photography in a public place. Do you still have the copy can can be printed off?