Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Street Snapping

I wouldn’t call myself a “street photographer.” But I do take photographs in the street and in other public places – some of which end up on this blog. But taking photos on the street has become slightly fraught, for a variety of reasons which include terrorism paranoia, moral panics about child safety, and our increasingly litigious culture. P1080288 walkman 2 My own brush with mis-informed PCSOs in Brighton & Hove eventually resulted in me making a complaint to the Chief Constable of Sussex. So it was great to see the presentation from Brett Jefferson Stott of London Street Photography. He spoke at Brighton and Hove Camera Club and showed a film (Stand Your Ground) about what happened when six photographers took to the streets of London. Despite the misguided attempts of security guards to prevent the photographers exercising their legal rights, the police officers shown on film were all perfectly sensible, and allowed the snapping to carry on. Clearly, they’d read the “All forces guidance letter” sent out in August last year, which confirms that taking photos in a public place is perfectly legal. It’s quoted below. Happy Snapping!

“There are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place. Therefore members of the public and press should not be prevented from doing so. We must acknowledge that citizen journalism is a feature of modern life and police officers are now photographed and filmed more than ever. Unnecessarily restricting photography, whether for the casual tourist or the professional is unacceptable and undermines public confidence in the police service. Once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order|”

(All forces guidance letter, 26th August 2010 from Andrew Trotter, Chief Constable, Chair of ACPO Communication Advisory Group).

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