Street Photography Now Illegal In United Kingdom

Source: Prison Planet by Kurt Nimmo

In Merry Old England, it is now illegal to take photographs. If you do so in public, the cops will consider you an active member of al-Qaeda.

“Police have seized films from an amateur photographer, accusing him of obtaining photographs of possibly sensitive material in Hull city centre,” reports Amateur Photographer. “Photo enthusiast Steve Carroll… said that the officers objected to him photographing ’sensitive buildings’, one later adding that people had been anxious about his use of the camera.”

In other words, it is now illegal in Britain to be a street photographer and if you are caught in the process the cops will grab your film, sort of like they did in the Soviet Union.

Soon after everything changed in America, I had a similar experience on the U.S.-Mexico border. A border guard on the U.S. side saw my camera and threatened to steal it if he saw me taking photos. On another occasion, two cop cars surrounded me on the street after somebody made a call, probably mistaking me for Osama bin Laden. I do wear a beard, after all.

I was lucky, though. Others have experienced worse. Consider the following, posted on the Digital Photography Review website:

A friend of mine was out taking interesting shots in a mid-sized U.S. city. At one point, he stopped on the side of a road and took a shot of a gritty-looking power plant (non-nuclear) across a wide river. An interesting shot with several large smoke stacks, etc. At this time, a local police officer pulled over and started questioning him regarding what he was doing. My friend is mild-mannered and not the type to provoke someone, least of all a police officer, but the officer was pretty belligerent. After some time, the office calmed down and told my friend to “be careful”, and then drove off.

A couple weeks later, my friend got a phone call from an FBI person, saying he was following up on some names on a terrorist “watch list”. (Not sure I got the name of this right, but you get the idea.) Lots of questions were asked, and answered, and that seemed to be the end of it, although my friend is undoubtedly still on some list. I should add that my friend is not of Middle-Eastern descent, and was born in the U.S. and has lived here all his life.

Of course, it does not matter if one is of “Middle-Eastern descent,” as the point is to remind all of us that we live in a police state.

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One Response

  1. You sound paranoid! Whaooo…the police officer sternly told your friend to “be careful” and drove off. That is some petty intimidating stuff. You must have been totally frightened.

    The cops should be making contact with you if you are excessively photographing sensitive buildings (military, ports, government, etc.). I would be worried if they weren’t contacting you. A simple contact does not constitute a rights violation or a reduction of your freedom. It is well known and documented that terrorist pre-planning involves heavy surveillance (including photography and videography). Should the cops (and others in the public) ignore possible indicators of terrorist pre-planning so that you aren’t inconvenienced? A balance must be struck between your right of movement and assembly and the safety of the general public (that almost sounds like a big “duh!”). Of course, if you are paranoid from the start, even a police officer looking at you is going to freak you out.

    Taking a couple of quick snapshots is one thing. For more in-depth photography (i.e. you are going to be there for a while), it is fairly easy to let those in charge know what you are up to prior to taking a bunch of images. I do it all the time. It takes seconds and virtually eliminates you as being considered suspicious. A business card and a handshake go a long ways. That almost sounds like common sense.

    As a very avid photographer (selling landscape images and running a portrait studio part time), I have no problem being contacted by the law (which has happened multiple times). As a police officer (my full time job) working in a large American city, I go out of my way to give people the benefit of the doubt while paying attention to homeland security/terrorist threats. It is my job to pay attention and identify potentially suspicious situations. If you are not breaking the law -you have nothing to fear.

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