Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Home Secretary Says Police Can Make Up The Law On Public Photography
As King John agreed in Magna Carta and even Jacqui Smith agrees, there is a right to take photographs in public places and there is no presumption of privacy for individuals in a public place. Go here for a download on the legal position.So the PCSO who allegedly threatened the photographer with a charge of assault for snapping pictures of stone throwing thugs was wrong. Up to a point.
According to the British Journal of Photography, our Jacqui wrote to Jeremy Dear, NUJ Secretary General on 26 June . In her letter she stated that local restrictions on photographing might be enforced "in reasonable circumstances" (my italics). "It is for the Chief Constable to decide how his or her officers should best balance the rights to freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the need for public protection." So no need for Parliament to worry its pretty little democratic head about freedom. And the Police Reform Act 2002 has granted the Home Secretary greater powers over the appointment and dismissal of Chief Constables.
So despite David Davis' by election victory, (YAWN), if the rozzers wish to do something that could bring them bad publicity or which might produce contrary evidence to the official line, or if they think it makes their job easier, they can impose a Stalinesque information blackout by preventing photographers taking uncontrolled pictures with only the legal legitimacy of a baton and pepper spray. Be very wary going about your lawful business if you are a fox hunter, a Brazilian or a mental - no one need ever see you again.
"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself." George Orwell, 1984
picture with thanks to http://www.freesignage.co.uk/