Lord Carlile’s report criticising police misuse of anti-terrorism legislation ‘must not be ignored’, says a leading photography rights lawyer.
Reacting to today’s report by the terror legislation watchdog, Rupert Grey, from Swan Turton solicitors, agreed that Section 44 of the Terrorism Act puts police officers in a ‘very privileged position’.
He told Amateur Photographer: ‘If they abuse that privilege, by using the power in plainly inappropriate circumstances, relations between the police and the ordinary citizen will be damaged.’
Grey (pictured) warned: ‘Worse, the trust between the press and the police will break down, with serious consequences for objective and accurate reporting on what happens on our streets.
‘Lord Carlile’s warning must not be ignored.’
Lord Carlile’s report came just days after police stopped the editor of a photography website, using Section 44 powers, in central London.
Commenting on the watchdog’s report, Mark Goldstein, who edits PhotographyBLOG, said this afternoon: ‘It seemed I was booked under ‘Section 44/J’ of the Terrorism Act simply because I didn’t fit into any of the other available categories.’
He added: ‘Despite the officer taking about 30 seconds to ascertain that I wasn’t a threat to national security, I was still issued with Form 5090 (X).’
Criticism of police policy led, last year, to a nationwide campaign to protect photographers’ rights.
Earlier this year Rupert Grey spoke out about the threat to photographers posed by anti-terrorism laws.