The British Journal of Photography has reported a protest being arranged on twitter outside Tate Modern today over the rights of professional and amateur photographers. Photographers are being stopped from taking photographs in public places, typically but not exclusively in London, on the grounds that they could be carrying out reconnaissance for terrorist operations. The officers involved in these incidents are rarely aware of the current ACPO rules on what they can and can’t ask a photographer to do. Sometimes there are arrests, sometimes people are forced to delete their photos (regardless of the fact they could be undeleted), sometimes people just get moved on.
It is preposterous, of course, that someone trying to carry out covert surveillance would choose to use a big camera, tripod, and a variety of lenses to do so. But it seems that if you have an SLR with you, you are more likely to get stopped than shooting with a compact camera in the same place.
I went on a photo trip around London a couple of weekends ago with a friend and honestly expected at some point to be stopped and asked what we were doing, even though we were taking photographs in public spaces. It is a sad indictment of the misuse of anti-terror laws when people doing nothing wrong are made to feel as if they are acting like criminals.Pin It