Photographer threatened with arrest and forced to delete images

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Phil Stovell, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Phil Stovell

    Phil Stovell Guest

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  2. Phil Stovell

    nonanon Guest


    That police officer should be in serious trouble -
    * she was in public
    * outside the cordon
    * she was carrying a press card
    * she identified herself by showing her press card.

    That rules out a bunch of the reasons they normally use to intimidate
    photographers, and it brings in a bunch of extra protections
    (journalistic material needing a court order etc).

    It happened in London and is clearly against the Met's own advice aout

    Fucking disgusting.

    What's worse is that we know very little will happen. She lost out,
    because news photos have to be timely; her employers lost out; etc etc.

    (Hilarious Godwin at the cited site though.)
    nonanon, Aug 2, 2010
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  3. Phil Stovell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    It is irrelevant that she was carrying a press card and identified
    herself by showing her press card. She has no more (and no fewer) rights
    than any other person present.
    Ian Jackson, Aug 2, 2010
  4. Phil Stovell

    Chris H Guest

    On the other hand... yesterday I turned up at an RTA and took pictures.
    Showed the police my company ID card (it says "photographer") and they
    were very helpful. I explained I was freelance and not actually on the
    staff of the local paper.

    They let me in side the cordon and told the fire officers I was OK after
    I put on my Hi-vis vest. It has company name and "Photographer" on the

    They took my business card (not the memory card :) and said they would
    be in touch for a copy of the pictures for the investigation.

    So far I have been lucky when dealing with the police.
    Chris H, Aug 2, 2010
  5. Phil Stovell

    Chris H Guest

    It is relevant. She had ID and a legitimate reason to be there. Press
    cards are not issued lightly and have a picture on them.

    Normally this does make a difference as I discovered yesterday at an RTA
    and the press are treated slightly differently to the general public and
    it is a two way street and the police often need the help of the media.
    Chris H, Aug 2, 2010
  6. Phil Stovell

    Phil Stovell Guest

    Please report back when you get hassled, it can only be a matter of time.
    Phil Stovell, Aug 2, 2010
  7. Phil Stovell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    She was in a public place, outside the police cordon. Did she have a
    'more legitimate' reason than anyone else to be there?
    They simply serve to identify the holder as a bona fide employee or
    member of one medium or another.
    The police will often (and quite rightly too, and for whatever reason)
    allow certain privileges and facilities certain people (for example,
    access to restricted areas, such as crime scenes). This will be at the
    discretion of the police, and not a 'right'. As such, they could just as
    well allow non-card-carrying persons the same privileges (maybe just
    because they liked the look of your face).

    The point I'm getting at is the NUJ keeps on stressing that it is press
    photographers and reporters who are being messed about by the police.
    This is undoubtedly true but, as a results of their protests, I would
    not like to see the press being granted any legal privileges over
    'ordinary people'.
    Ian Jackson, Aug 2, 2010
  8. Phil Stovell

    Chris H Guest

    Yes under Counter Terrorist and other laws. For example (certainly in
    the past if not now) the Police in a riot situation would move people
    out of the area. However they would not move the press who were
    recording the event rather than taking part etc. This seems to have
    changed of late. Also of course the Press usually had insurance.

    Though in some, legitimate, cases the police do not want any pictures
    taken. At one incident I was asked not to take any pictures of some
    people and delete some pictures. This was because some were undercover
    police and some of the armed team had their faces visible. The
    situation and the operation was ongoing. I deleted the photos as asked.
    Yes... And having a legitimate reason for having lots of recording
    equipment of various sorts and showing more than a passing interest in
    proceedings. You would expect in depth questions and telephoto lenses
    from the press but not usually from a random collection of bystanders.
    Agreed. However the reporter in this case was in a public place.
    As happened to me yesterday. I have a company id that says I am a
    photographer but not Press card as issued by the NUJ or BBC etc.

    BTW my company ID does not claim to be a press card. There are a lot of
    photographers carrying UK/Euro/World "PRESS-CARDS" that are no more
    valid than my company ID. You can buy them from many web sites and
    Psuedo press organisations aimed at people who don't qualify for a real
    Yes... Not just the NUJ but many groups are complaining.
    I understand your point. Why not?
    Chris H, Aug 2, 2010
  9. Phil Stovell

    Chris H Guest

    I agree.... that is why I said "I have been lucky" so far.

    I also always carry several photographers rights cards from various
    sources. Some home office letters on photography, the Met Police
    guidelines and the Mark Thomas stop and search card.
    Chris H, Aug 2, 2010
  10. Phil Stovell

    Big Les Wade Guest

    No-one is obliged to carry ID.
    Everyone has a legitimate right to be in a public place unless they are
    committing an offence for which they can be arrested.
    Totally irrelevant, unless the person concerned is asking the police for
    special privileges that they are not obliged to grant. Photographing
    events in public is not one of these.
    Big Les Wade, Aug 2, 2010
  11. Phil Stovell

    Big Les Wade Guest

    That is true, but it applies to all photographs whoever has taken them.
    Big Les Wade, Aug 2, 2010
  12. Phil Stovell

    nonanon Guest

    That's excellent. You go away with (hopefully) some sellable pictures;
    the police get someone who doesn't hate them; the local paper are more
    inclined to support them, etc.

    Would you mind saying what force it was? Credit where its due and
    nonanon, Aug 2, 2010
  13. Phil Stovell

    nonanon Guest

    It has two factors:

    i) They say (incorrectly) that people who do not identify themselves are
    suspicious and thus must be terrorists. A press card is an independent
    ID and pretty secure. They can call a number and have it confirmed.

    ii) More importantly, Journalistic material is protected with some extra
    legal stuff. They need a court order to view it. I don't know why this
    is, but it's quoted in the Met's own instruction to police. (So maybe
    they got it wrong, but if so, they're ignoring their own 'mistaken'
    nonanon, Aug 2, 2010
  14. Phil Stovell

    nonanon Guest

    This bit is everyone:-
    "Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or
    photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming
    or photographing incidents or police personnel"

    This bit sounds like everyone...
    "Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile
    telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S44 of the
    Terrorism Act 2000, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the
    images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are of a kind, which
    could be used in connection with terrorism. Officers also have the power
    to seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer
    reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism."


    "However, where it is clear that the person being searched is a
    journalist, officers should exercise caution before viewing images as
    images acquired or created for the purposes of journalism may constitute
    journalistic material and should not be viewed without a Court Order."

    I have no idea where the Met get this from, or if it's correct.
    nonanon, Aug 2, 2010
  15. Phil Stovell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    I suspect that its essentially all bollocks. I can think of no reason
    why journalists should, in law, enjoy any 'special protection' - except
    that the police probably recognise that they would be wise not to upset
    'The Press' too much.
    Ian Jackson, Aug 2, 2010
  16. Phil Stovell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    I don't have a press card, but I usually carry more than sufficient
    documentation to establish my identity and bona fides.
    As I said, I suspect that this legally a load of bollocks.
    Ian Jackson, Aug 2, 2010
  17. Phil Stovell

    Chris H Guest

    In message <
    Good point. The only way of doing it is: To be "Press" you would have a
    Press Card. Though I know several journalists (it the
    technical/electronics press) who do not have the official Press card.
    Chris H, Aug 3, 2010
  18. Phil Stovell

    Chris H Guest


    So far they have let me photograph several RTA & fires from inside the
    cordon and one armed siege from outside the cordon. Also I have had no
    problem with the Met in London on the couple of times I have dealt with

    On the other hand it can only be a matter of time. Perhaps it is the
    way I talk to them and the way I work and that I have just been lucky
    with the officers I have had to deal with. I am not a full time
    photographer. SO I only come into contact with them occasionally. If I
    was doing it full time it might be a different story.

    As it is I carry a full set of photographers rights cards, home office
    letters and the Mark Thomas stop and search cards but so far never
    needed them.
    Chris H, Aug 3, 2010
  19. Phil Stovell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    The question is, "Why should images, acquired or created for the
    purposes of journalism, and which may constitute journalistic material,
    not be viewed without a Court Order?"

    Is there a specific law which distinguishes such images from 'other'
    images? Or is it that the police just want to err on the side of
    caution, maybe knowing that they might incur the wrath of the NUT, and
    indeed, of the whole trade union movement?
    Ian Jackson, Aug 3, 2010
  20. Phil Stovell

    Phil Stovell Guest

    What law is it that says that?
    Phil Stovell, Aug 3, 2010
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