Thursday, 11 August 2011

the law photographing the london riots

Amy Wenn
Dramatic pictures like these taken only a few miles from my house made me think about my rights to photograph on the streets. The law changes quickly in these volatile times so it is good to know when you can tell the police to 'move along now.' The Terrorism Act has been responsible for 100,000 stop and searches, many were photographers. From July of last year, Section 44 was removed and you cannot be stopped for taking photographs under this section of the Terrorism Act. This legislation was responsible for routinely disrupting the lawful business of photographers. Professionals and amateurs (derived from the love of) were harassed by police. Despite over a 100,000 stop and searches no one has been convicted of any terrorist offenses.

You are allowed to photograph the police in public places conducting their work. They only have a right to see your images if the police believe you are a terrorist. Just taking pictures is not a valid reason. Under no circumstances can they delete your work. Look at it this way. If you are taking images for terrorist purposes it would be destroying evidence and if you are not then what is the problem?

Things you are not allowed to do.
  • Take photographs near a court.
  • Take photographs of military bases and restricted areas.
  • Use a tripod in a public area.

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