Photographers' campaign forces police 'U-turn': AP comment

Police have pledged to change the way they treat photographers who take pictures in public following a lengthy campaign sparked by the experiences of Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine readers. AP's news editor comment...

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Police have pledged to change the way they treat photographers who take pictures in public following a lengthy campaign sparked by the experiences of Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine readers.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has instructed police forces in England and Wales not to use anti-terrorism legislation to stop photographers, according to a report in today's Independent.

The full story can be read HERE.

Amateur Photographer magazine will follow up this development in the next few days.

In the meantime AP news editor Chris Cheesman - who has documented countless reports of photographers falling victim to anti-terror laws over the past two years - said: 'We have been given similar assurances before but actions by police on the ground over recent months indicate that the message to curb restrictions on photographers is still not getting through.'

'Our magazine quizzed the former counter-terrorism minister Vernon Coaker on this issue in a face-to-face meeting back in March. We were promised then that the Home Office would liaise with police chiefs to ensure officers on the beat, especially PCSOs, would not target photographers.

'The Home Office's public relations team and police bodies have repeatedly insisted that it has never been the intention to stop legitimate photography. No-one disputes that the police have a difficult job, but the fact is that such unwarranted suspicion continues to infringe the basic civil rights of amateur and professional photographers country-wide.

'We can only hope that police actions speak as loud as their words that appear in today's Independent. Raising the profile of this issue in the public eye through coverage in national newspapers is welcomed.

'However, photographers will hope that the response of the Association of Chief Police Officers will be reflected by a change in the attitude of the bobby on the beat and is not merely an attempt to quell a potential public backlash that may have resulted from this issue winning widespread media coverage.'

Earlier this week the Independent told AP: 'If it wasn't for specialist media such as Amateur Photographer - alerting enthusiasts and professionals to the misuse of the anti-terrorism laws by police - the mainstream media might not have picked up on this story at all.'

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