Terrorism: Police publish new guidance
December 2, 2008
Newly revised government guidance, which instructs police on their Stop and Search powers under the Terrorism Act 2000, has now been published.
The document ? which contains a section on dealing with photographers – followed public concern that Section 44 of the Act was being abused.
The Practice Advice on Stop and Search in Relation to Terrorism was drawn up by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), in conjunction with the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers.
The section on Photography can be found on page 19.
In October we reported that police forces will be advised to draw up ‘aides memoire’ to remind officers that their Stop and Search powers are only to be used in ‘exceptional’ circumstances.
The move followed a government pledge to ensure police officers apply Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 ‘appropriately and proportionately’.
The NPIA said it would issue the revised guidance to all UK police forces after months of consultation and feedback from police and civil liberties groups.
However, the NPIA told us that the decision to produce ‘aides memoire’ for officers will rest with individual police forces.
The full document can now be downloaded from the NPIA website. The section on Photography states: ?The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.?
It adds: ?If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered.
?Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film.
?Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them. Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained forensic staff for forensic examination. The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.?