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photographing coppers could get you 10 years in jail soon if were not careful

brummie | 04.11.2008 08:29 | SOCPA | Animal Liberation | Other Press | Social Struggles | Birmingham

photographing coppers could get you 10 years in jail soon if were not careful, this is taken from marc vallees blog, this is outrageous, not we cannot even show them up for un proper, conduct.

read his blog

"ack in April of this year I came across a police stop and search in Trafalgar Square. This was the day before the Olympic Torch was due to arrive in London. I took a few frames of what was going on and then I was stopped by a police officer who made it very clear he knew who I was but he still wanted to take a look at my UK Press Card. He said, “I want your card number for my records”, so he writes down my press card number in his notebook and I take a picture. This was not a new experience for me. But is working on Britain’s streets just about to get harder?

On Thursday 20th November the Home Office will publish new operational guidance to the police on the use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 of those taking photographs in public places.

The draft guidance says,

“There is no power under the Terrorism Act 2000 to prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.

“If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance then they should act appropriately, by searching the person under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act or making an arrest. Cameras, film and memory cards may be seized as evidence but there is no power for images to be deleted or film to be destroyed by officers.”

If section 43 with its powers to seize “cameras, film and memory cards” is misused in the same way that section 44 has been misused by the police then just think of the chilling effect this will have on photography in a public place.

And then we have Clause 83 of the new Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008.

“(1) A person commits an offence who–

“(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been–

“(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,”

A “Constable” is the legal term for all police officers. “Elicits or attempts to elicit information” does that include taking a photograph and publishing it?

“(b) publishes or communicates any such information.”

Yep. And you can get 10 years for this one! And I all most forgot, every police force in Britain is going to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners which will allow the police to carry out identity checks on people on the street. I think I’m going to need to get myself a desk job!"



freedom to film

04.11.2008 10:26

I was outside the US Embassy recently taking shots (of the moving image kind!) which very much annoyed a machine gun toting cop. He called his mates outside the embassy gates, who stopped and searched me under the terror laws. Motorcycle cops turned up etc. It wasn't too much of a scene, so long as you are not too afraid of being questioned under terror laws by a cop with a machine gun. You have to stand your ground that you are acting lawfully - it is our right to take pictures on public land, even of terrorist targets such as the US embassy, with the exception of Ministry of Defence land I believe. If we don't defend this right, it will be taken away by our authoritarian government and the securocrats.

So, I propose we snappers and camera people get together and go on collective photography missions, to highlight the issue of civil liberty, press freedom and increasing harassment by police. So we turn up en masse (hopefully) at the US embassy, or MI5 or wherever, and challenge their oppressive attitudes.

Ideally, it would be good to get an organisation or two behind the campaign, or join an existing campaign. NUJ? Space Hijackers? Any ideas?

William Greaves


04.11.2008 12:42

The Clause (83) your refer to was included when the Bill left the commons on 16/06/08, since it's defeat in the Lords it has been revised and is now Clause (75).

You can read the progress of the bill here:

Fitwatch could be in trouble for publishing information, but they would have a legal defense against the Act.

Offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc

After section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (collection of information) insert—

Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members

of armed forces etc

A person commits an offence who—

elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who

is or has been—

a member of Her Majesty’s forces,


Counter-Terrorism Bill
Part 6 — Miscellaneous

a member of any of the intelligence services, or

a constable,

which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or

preparing an act of terrorism, or

publishes or communicates any such information.


It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section

to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not

exceeding 10 years or to a fine, or to both;

on summary conviction—

in England and Wales or Scotland, to imprisonment for

a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not

exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;

in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not

exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the

statutory maximum, or to both.

In this section “the intelligence services” means the Security Service, the

Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ (within the meaning of section 3
of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (c. 13)).

Schedule 8A to this Act contains supplementary provisions relating to
the offence under this section.”.

In the application of section 58A in England and Wales in relation to an offence
committed before the commencement of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice
Act 2003 (c. 44) the reference in subsection (3)(b)(i) to 12 months is to be read as

a reference to 6 months.
In section 118 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) (defences), in subsection (5)(a)
after “58,” insert “58A,”.
After Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000 insert the Schedule set out in
Schedule 7 to this Act.

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Hide the following 6 comments

Define "information"

04.11.2008 10:32

How does that sit with their duty to identify themselves and display their number?

If it's really that vaguely worded, you could commit an offence by asking a cop for their name.


One Medicine

04.11.2008 12:55

As someone who has been, on many occasions filmed by the legalised intruders of our human rights, who are called 'police', for doing nothing more than peaceful protests about animal rights issues, I have, on occasions, also taken photos of the police whoa re taking photo's of us. I don't see why my privacy should be invaded whilst doing nothing illegal so give them a taste of their own medicine by taking theirs, which they don't like/ It would appear then, yet again, terrorist laws would be used as an excuse to prevent people from taking photo's of whatever they like, including intrusive policing.. Everyone should be opposing such laws and writing to their MP's about this erosion of what few human rights we have left, before the thought police get us for even thinking such things!


Re: Define "information"

04.11.2008 17:51

> How does that sit with their duty to identify themselves and display their number?

They don't have one.


This is what you expect in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe

06.11.2008 17:00

This is what you expect in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

All of Farnborough and Aldershot has been declared a zone under the ant-terror laws where police can stop and search under the anti-terror laws without having to give any further explanation.

Plane spotters outside Farnborough Airport are being stopped and searched. Some plane spotters claim to have been stopped and searched as often as seven times by the same officer.

Many local authorities are now using anti-terror laws to use hidden cameras to spot householders putting their wheelie bins out on the wrong day. The gathered evidence will be used to issue on-the-spot fines.

The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is using hidden cameras outside all 46 schools in the borough to catch parents dropping their kids off outside the school gates, and then use the gathered evidence to issue on the spot fines.

A 15-year-old schoolboy caught taking photos of Wimbledon Station was detained and held as a terror subject by three PCSOs. 15-year-old Fabian Sabbara was forced sign a form titled 'Stop-and-Search Terrorism Act' under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act or face arrest.

PCSOs do not have the power of arrest or to detain or to stop and search.

It will be a requirement to produce a passport to buy a pay-as-you-go mobile phone.

A huge data base is being created to record all internet and telephone activity.


and they can target service providers too...

07.11.2008 10:22

As with many laws these days there are also specific provisions for internet service providers and web hosters. According to fairly lengthy provisions in Schedule 7 of this Bill, they commit a s58a offence if they have knowledge that they are handling information 'of this kind' and do not remove it. There are provisions for both UK and non-UK service providers.

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War criminal Brown is a lot worse than Mugabe

20.11.2008 01:40

WTF has this to do with Mugabe and why do people just swallow the no evidence backed Mugabe is a bad man bollocks as he his rabidly portrayed by neo-liberal media outlets like the BBC. Those bastards in Whitehall are a zillion times worse than any Mugabe.