Photographers to play key role in anti-terror review

August 25, 2010

Photographers protest

Picture credit: Chris Cheesman

The Home Office has invited photographers to take part in discussions as part of the Government?s review of key counter-terrorism powers.

Invitations have gone out to members of the photographic industry, including a representative of the Royal Photographic Society.

The meeting, scheduled to take place at the Home Office next month, will review the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography.

Many photographers have fallen victim to police use of anti-terror measures when taking innocent pictures in a public place, sparking Amateur Photographer magazine?s nationwide campaign to protect photographers? rights.

Last month Home Secretary Theresa May said the use of counter-terrorism legislation in relation to ‘photography’ will be reviewed as a ‘priority’ as part of a rapid overhaul of anti-terrorism laws.

She added: ‘I want a counter-terrorism regime that is proportionate, focused and transparent. We must ensure that in protecting public safety, the powers we need to deal with terrorism are in keeping with Britain’s traditions of freedom and fairness.

‘We will look at the evidence presented to us and where it is clear that legislation needs to be amended or powers need to be rolled back, we will do so.’

The Home Office pledged to review photography and anti-terror laws, alongside legislation regarding the detention of terrorist suspects before charge, and the use of control orders.

?National security is the first duty of the Government but we are also committed to reversing the substantial erosion of civil liberties, said May.

The Government has already scrapped police use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act to stop and search photographers taking pictures in a public place.

Lord Macdonald, who will provide an independent oversight of the review of terrorism legislation, is also expected to attend next month’s Home Office meeting.

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