Police officers should have applied 'common sense' when they stopped the editor of the Guardian over the use of a tripod on Hampstead Heath in London, according to the body in charge of the parkland.
How the newspaper reported the incident on its website last week
A police officer handed Alan Rusbridger a written warning under a 1932 Hampstead Heath bylaw that also prohibits improper language and practising gymnastics.
Rusbridger took responsibility for his photographer David Levene, who had been photographing him for a Guardian article on climate change.
But City of London Corporation, which has managed Hampstead Heath since 1989, last night denied that tripods are banned, telling Amateur Photographer (AP) that people only need seek permission before using one.
This is despite Section 11 of the Hampstead Heath Bylaws stating that ‘no person shall… erect or place or retain any post, fence, photographic stand apparatus…’
The bylaws are enforced by Hampstead Heath Constabulary.
A City of London Corporation spokesman told AP: ‘We probably needed to explain to Mr Rusbridger that he needed to phone the [City of London Corporation] number.
‘Anyone is free to use equipment like tripods on Hampstead Heath as long as they get prior clearance to avoid breaking the Heath’s bylaws on public access obstructions.
‘However, common sense clearly needs to prevail in these situations and we’ll be in touch with Mr Rusbridger to explain the situation.’
Rusbridger was told that his photographer could continue to use the tripod ‘for a consideration of £60’.
However, the City of London Corporation spokesman has since told AP: ‘There are no charges for news items like this and they were not charged.
‘We have emailed the Guardian editor to confirm.’
Responding to a separate enquiry from AP, the spokesman said that the Hampstead Heath bylaws do not extend to selfie sticks.
For permission on commercial photography call 07769 931311 or 07775 702274.
The City of London Corporation can also be contacted on 0207 606 3030.
Enquiries over the bylaws can be directed to HH-Constabulary@cityoflondon.gov.uk