Thursday, April 16, 2009

Police still harassing photographers

In last Friday's House Points I wrote about a debate called by the Tory MP John Randall to publicise the way that innocent photographers are harassed by the police:
Someone photographing decrepit properties in Uxbridge had inadvertently snapped a car containing community support officers parked on a double yellow line. One of them came over and said he must delete the photograph.

A 15-year-old in school uniform taking pictures at Wimbledon station as part of a GCSE project was stopped by community support officers and asked to sign forms under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. Andrew Pelling (the former Tory who now sits as an Independent) had been stopped and searched on suspicion of terrorism for taking pictures of roadworks near East Croydon station.
A report on the Guardian website shows it is still going on:
Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city's sights, including the famous red double-decker buses. More unusually perhaps, they also took pictures of the Vauxhall bus station, which Matzka regards as "modern sculpture".

But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism.

Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was "strictly forbidden". The policemen also recorded the pair's details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.
This report has its origin in a letter Herr Matzka had published in this morning's Guardian (scroll down to the bottom).

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