Amateur photographer magazine technical writer Richard Sibley has been stopped by police while taking photos of snow in Bromley, Kent today.
Richard, who lives nearby, said he was questioned by a Police Community Support Officer as he took pictures of a snow-covered train station.
?He asked what I was doing,’ said Richard (pictured).
‘I replied ?I’m taking photos in the snow?.’
?He said ?I’m asking as this is a time of heightened security?. To which I pointed out that I didn’t think Bromley South Station in the snow would be a likely terrorist target… especially as a potential terrorist could just look up the same images on Google Street View without getting their feet and hands cold’.
In recent years Amateur photographer has been at the forefront of a nationwide campaign to defend photographers? right to take pictures in public, as many fell victim to anti-terror laws.
In the summer, the Government cut back police power to use the controversial Section 44 Terrorism Act stop-and-search rule following a long-running campaign by photography organisations and civil rights activists.
Section 44 – recently overhauled – allowed officers to stop a person without reasonable grounds for suspicion, while Section 58A – introduced in February last year – makes it a potential offence to photograph a police officer.
In August, Home Secretary Theresa May said the use of counter-terrorism legislation in relation to photography would be reviewed as a ‘priority’ as part of a rapid overhaul of anti-terrorism laws.
The results of the review are due to be published shortly.
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 results of the anti-terrorism review were originally due to be published in the autumn.
Changes to anti-terror laws will be introduced as part of the Freedom Bill.
? AP will report further details of Richard’s experience as they become available.
Picture credit: Richard Sibley