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Monday, 2 August 2010

The Metropolitan Police still don't understand that photography is not a crime

I have blogged before about various incidents that have taken place between the Metropolitan Police and journalists before and unfortunately, despite ACPO issuing guidance for police officers, it appears some of them cannot read or perhaps it is the case they don't want to.

It states "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."

It goes on to say under both Sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, that "Officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film at any point during a search."

My previous blog posts are Is photography the new crime? and Photography as a crime rears its head again if you want to read them.

From the National Union of Journalists website today;

NUJ member and photographer Carmen Valino has been threatened with arrest and forced to delete images.

Carmen Valino had images deleted from her camera by police and was threatened with arrest whilst photographing the scene of a shooting in Hackney, East London.

The incident happened on Saturday 31 July as Valino photographed a crime scene from outside the police cordon whilst on assignment from the Hackney Gazette.

She had identified herself as a journalist and showed her UK Press Card to the police.

A police Sergeant approached Valino telling her that she was disrupting a police investigation and to hand over her camera. After protesting to the Sergeant that she was in a public place, outside the cordon he had no right to take her camera, he grabbed her wrist and pulled out his handcuffs. Before he could put the cuffs on she handed him her camera. He then left for five minutes before coming back, bringing Valino inside the cordon and asking her to show him the images and deleting them. Valino was told that she could come back in a few hours to photograph the scene.
This incident highlights how police are still not following the law or the agreed ACPO Media Guidelines as highlighted at the top of this post.

Surely at some point this has to stop, the police have got to stop abusing their powers and perhaps now it is the time for the IPCC to investigate?

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Why doesn't this surprise me? In my own personal experience, the Met Police are a bunch of incompetent, poorly-trained, power-crazed thugs, with all the integrity of a gangster, and all the impunity of a dictator. They think they are above the law, and this view is upheld by politicians and the IPCC alike. The people of London need to come together and protest against this type of misconduct and abuse.

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