Photographers react to British PM’s New Year message

January 13, 2009

Photography enthusiasts have spoken out following the Prime Minister?s response to an online petition that sought to clarify the law regarding photography in public places.

Downing Street yesterday published its response to the petition which attracted 5,793 signatures via the Number 10 website.

It had been submitted by Adam Jones who expressed widely held concerns that police officers and security officials misuse anti-terrorism legislation to ?harrass? photographers.

In response, the government confirmed that there are ?no legal restrictions on photography in public places’ but cited ‘security considerations’ as one situation where police may legitimately intervene.

It added that each incident would be an ?operational matter? for the police officer concerned.

‘Woolly’ words

Number 10?s statement drew a swift rebuke from some amateur photographers who expressed their views via the Amateur Photographer magazine website.

One North Yorkshire-based reader wrote: ?I was immediately disappointed. It was so woolly and full of puffed up nothingness that I could visualise Gordon [Brown] actually reading it out.

?Summed up, No 10 is saying ?you are perfectly entitled to take photographs anywhere you like, unless a policemen decides you?re not, in which case he/she is right?.?

‘Common sense’ needed

Another website forum user sounded a further note of pessimism. He fears the authorities will continue to stop photographers by claiming that it is in the interests of ?national security? and the ?war on terror?.

A reader from Norfolk urged police officers to adopt a ?common sense? approach when considering action against photographers going about their ?lawful business?.

He added: ?Like most situations some common sense shown by the photographer is needed, so as not to be in a situation where a problem could arise? There is little that can be done otherwise to remedy a shortcoming by either party, except keeping calm and being helpful.?


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