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UK Police Threaten Teenage Photojournalist

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the mightier-than-the-truncheon dept.

Censorship 344

IonOtter writes "In what seems to be a common occurrence, and now a costly one, Metropolitan Police in the UK still don't seem to be getting the message that assaulting photographers is a bad idea. UK press photographer Jules Matteson details the event in his blog, titled The Romford Incident. The incident has already been picked up by The Register, The Independent, and the British Journal of Photography, which contains an official statement from the Metropolitan Police."

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it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32741912)

The Independent may be less, well, un-Independent than most of the mainstream rags, but no-one pays much attention to it. And The Register is read by as many people who count as the scrawlings on the average 6th Form toilet wall.

It's not to say that the laws aren't being abused. It's that pompous claims like

The Independent forced senior officers to admit that the controversial legislation is being widely misused.

are more "haha I stuck it to the Man!" exaggeration than evidence of the Met receiving a genuine reprimand from those who represent us.

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742116)

/., why must you engage in so much mutual masturbation? Liberals (in the classical "defender of liberty" sense, not in the US "not conservative" sense) are being downtrodden precisely because they think small.

Yes, it's great that senior officers have issued a memo to junior officers - not even a slap on the wrist - but the problems are:

  1. the intentional vagary of the law, which must be tackled at Parliament level - not that this is very easy while the LDs have sold themselves out and Cameron is waving around the "in Britain's security interests" card;
  2. the general principles ("oh god bombs and pedos everywhere!") by which the Met operates, with significant politicising of the police by senior officers.

Remember: in any reasonable state, it's not the policeman's job to write or interpret the law, and the police should never have the power of a law so vague as the Terrorism Acts. Are you not paying attention? The public aren't even allowed to know where certain Laws apply. This might protect a few people on the ground being harassed, but it's the worst way of sweeping the problem under the carpet.

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742272)

offtopic -1

How do you get those bullets?

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (0, Offtopic)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742324)

<ol> (<li> [^<>]*)+ </ol>

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (0, Offtopic)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742516)

Don't forget to close out your list item, but thanks. Will have to keep that in mind.

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742342)

3500 pounds is chump change.
The policeman 'made something up' - a complete disgrace - then 'enforced it' - unforgivable.
Personal accountability should see at least triple that amount personally be deducted from constable plod + damages - loss of story is their job.

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742400)

>>the intentional vagary of the law

Absolutely. Causing "alarm and distress to a member of the public" is an offense in the UK.

In this case, though, you had a photographer that sounded like a total prat, ranting on about his rights and refusing to answer reasonable questions by a police officer (listen to the audio). In no surprising development, the person who antagonized the police got in trouble, whereas the other people in the area doing the same thing (http://julesmattsson.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/the-romford-incident/ and read the comments) were left alone.

As much as I'm all for civil rights and all that, being polite does a lot more to stop police harassment than being That Guy who watched an ACLU video one time on Youtube and decided he'd give the police what-for. In some states here in the US, you actually do have to answer reasonable questions from a police officer, which has caused all sorts of grief to the annoying twits that make up all sorts of rights that don't exist.

Not saying that the police don't harass people - I've been harassed several times in my life, either by myself and with friends, and once my father was threatened with jail because he wouldn't provide his SSN to the mentally unstable Texas Ranger asking for it, but in a LOT of these cases, if you don't walk around with a chip on your shoulder, the police don't either.

"antagonising the police" isn't a crime (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742502)

"antagonising the police" isn't a crime. And, since they are not a member of the public because they are a Police Officer, that "Causing alarm and distress to a member of the public" doesn't apply to him (though it DOES apply to the total prat, therefore the officer broke the law you're asserting the pratt did.

I propose to you that the police officer was the pratt and not only that abused power and position to break the law.

Re:"antagonising the police" isn't a crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742622)

Has it occurred to you that they might BOTH be prats?

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742458)

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, eh?

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (3, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742480)

Remember: in any reasonable state, it's not the policeman's job to write or interpret the law

It is part of their job to interpret the law since you have to interpret it to apply it, but that interpretation can be challenged and corrected by the courts. The sad thing is that this has happened, more than once, and yet the message still does not seem to be getting through to them. While I can certainly understand that the journalist in question was being aggressive and extremely annoying he was within his rights and if you can't handle people like that you should not be a police officer.

A far better way to have handled this would have been to just stand in front of the guy blocking his pictures all the while asking him politely if he would please wait until the start of the parade. That way you achieve most of your aims, get your message across loud and clear and annoy the journalist.

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742546)

But the biggest point is that to make police behave in society you MUST embarrass the specific officer.

All this generalized crap is bullcrap.

the headline should be "Officer Freeman of 1234 West East street" was a complete dick to a journalist today. How often is OFFICER FREEMAN a complete disgrace to the city?"

You need to out the officer, publically humiliate them. It's the only weapon we have against the police.

When it's generalized and hidden it empowers the bad cops to continue to be bad and corrupt cops.

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742574)

It is part of their job to interpret the law since you have to interpret it to apply it, but that interpretation can be challenged and corrected by the courts.

Is this perhaps one of the weak points of the current UK Common Law variant? There is the potential to write broad laws under the assumption that

  1. The Police will initially interpret them reasonably and in a disinterested manner; and
  2. the Courts will refine any problems with interpretation again in a disinterested manner;
  3. the Police will pay attention to Court decisions;
  4. people charged but not convicted will not be damaged by an arrest record.

Consider the police, instead of having become heavily politicsed and targets-based, simply being given the task of enforcing the law. Consider a police force, then, which prefers as much as possible to leave people alone, except when it is quite clear that the law requires them not to. Such a police force would choose always to interpret an ambiguous law in favour of leaving the potential lawbreaker alone, and it would be up to lawmakers try harder to make the law sufficiently specific.

if you can't handle people like that you should not be a police officer.

I would like to understand what causes /some/ police officers to get uppity and apparently very insecure. I'd like them to feel confident and proud of their jobs. What do they fear? Is it not meeting some target? I can understand an officer in obvious physical danger lashing out too hard (what is unreasonable defence when you're having a knife waved in your face?), but why otherwise?

Re:it's not a bad idea, and it's not costly (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742524)

Bahhhh....

It's better to have the warm comfy blanket of fake security than the silly freedom thing that I never use...

Now shut up, the next show on the telly is starting....

Bahhhhhh...... Bahhhhhhh!

Transparency (5, Interesting)

spqr0a1 (1504087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32741914)

This journalist will be alright. Nothing gets the government scared like a big steam of bad press (which the internet is more than willing to provide).
Now is a great time to be living. Despite all of the bad news about orwellian government in the UK, not even they can get away with harassing citizens in the age of the internet.

Yup, can't stop the signal and all that.

Re:Transparency (4, Funny)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742072)

Until Obama installs his kill switch.

Re:Transparency (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742654)

Until Obama installs his kill switch.

Which was already installed and has existed long before his presidency; at least on paper.

Re:Transparency (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742664)

Wasn't Obama who asked for it, so not really his. And that's pretending such kill switch is not plain impossible.

Re:Transparency (5, Insightful)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742106)

Nothing gets the government scared like a big steam of bad press

As much as I want to agree there is a thin line between the right to freedom becoming a privilege [of those who know their laws and can effectively challenge law enforcement] or disappearing completely to intimidating tactics we've all witnessed in recent weeks (G20 [youtube.com] , Toronto [facebook.com] )

Now, unless one wants their country joining the likes of Russia, where journalist homicide has become normal practice, with six having been killed this year alone (9 the previous year), giving them as much bad press as possible should be the least we can do stand up for our rights (especially if you don't know them!).

As my grandfather tends to say (quoting somebody famous probably) - "there is just one step from comedy to tragedy". Adapt it as you will to the context, but the UK seems to have taken two steps too many in that direction in recent history. And that's just what made it to the press!

Re:Transparency (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742206)

Nothing gets the government scared like a big steam of bad press (which the internet is more than willing to provide).

There was this one hour TV show that I used to watch in the 1970s, it was an era when nobody could get any more than about 12 channels, and only 3 channels had anything anybody seriously wanted to watch, so this show had quite a following. It exposed governments, politicians and corporations that did evil and malicious things. The show was called 60 Minutes [wikipedia.org] , and I figured that with all these big time, bad characters being exposed every week, then in a few years their should be absolutely no corruption whatsoever in government or industry, because these investigative reporters were exposing everything. Now it's a few decades later and this show is STILL exposing corruption in government and industry.

I find it ironic that the article claims the police made "a costly" mistake, because this huge multimillion dollar organization was fined 3,500 pounds. And no police officers were fired, jailed, or otherwise punished. In the mean time a chilling effect has been felt by photographers everywhere because they know they can get harassed by police officers anytime and anywhere; and have to spend time and money and energy filing a complaint and going to court with a good possibility that they will lose the case unless somebody happens to have HIDDEN camera evidence.

officers were advised that Section 44 powers [anti-terror laws] should not be used unnecessarily against photographers.

Ref: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-uturn-on-photographers-and-antiterror-laws-1834626.html [independent.co.uk] The bolding was mine. It's all very pathetic that this case is somehow framed to make it look like a victory for freedom.

Re:Transparency (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742270)

FYI the Orwellian government in the UK was overthrown in elections in May.

The new regime isn't perfect, but it's a whole lot better, and has done more for civil liberties in the last month than the old government did in 13 years.

What they'll do about things like this is yet to be seen, but sadly these things take time, although some people will cry on about things like this as examples of their failure, the reality is it takes more than a month to change these things. The real test will be in a year or two, to see if they've lived up to their promises.

I hate the new government for it's stance on some things, it's lack of mention of the Digital Economy Act for example, but looking at our old government, and at many other Western governments around the world it's hard not to be grateful because the new government at least so far looks much better than the governments a lot of other major Western powers are lumped with, and the one we used to have. Looking at the likes of the US, Australia, France, Germany and such it's possible that right now we actually have the least Orwellian government out the lot, but time will tell for sure I suppose.

Re:Transparency (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742428)

FYI the Orwellian government in the UK was overthrown in elections in May.

BS. There will be no change in Orwellianism in either the UK or the US unless and until the entire system is reformed. Witness the total farce that is the "change" Obama brought in.

Shut down Gitmo? Bring the troops home? Curtailing the free pass that the corporate sector gets on the taxpayer's dollar?

Nothing changed. Nothing meaningful to US foreign and long term policy anyway. The UK will be the same. This is because the policy makers and power brokers are not the figureheads that you vote for.

Here in Australia, our prime minister Kevin Rudd just got ousted by, and I quote from most of the major news outlets, "power brokers behind the scenes", among whom is her de-facto partner. I don't know about anyone else, but that to me indicates just how much is controlled by the electorate, and how much is controlled by powerful lobbyists who the public do not vote for and never even see.

Re:Transparency (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742508)

"BS. There will be no change in Orwellianism in either the UK or the US unless and until the entire system is reformed. Witness the total farce that is the "change" Obama brought in."

You're generalising. The new British government has already improved the situation, ID cards for example are already out the window.

We're not talking about Obama's form of change, here we have actual change. Whilst as I said in my previous post there is no way they could do everything they wanted in a month, the fact that they have scrapped ID cards already and followed through on other pledges (non-civil liberties related) speaks volumes.

They're even opening up about plans to allow a full investigation into torture by our security services and that move is unprecedented- Obama did indeed just sweep all that under the carpet, but that does not seem to be the case here, full details are due this week.

Perhaps the fundamental difference is that we now have a coalition government, whereby no single party has complete say in the way the country runs. They have to compromise, and they both realise if they don't behave they could lose power at any moment. This is something that wasn't the case with our previous government, and isn't the case with the Obama administration- they could do pretty much what they want and they'd still hold power for the rest of their term.

Re:Transparency (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742644)

ID cards would have cost money: that's a no-brainer of a political move that can be revisited in 10 years, and for most purposes can be replaced by monitoring of bank cards and public transit passes, especially the "Oyster card" for London transit which is being phased in for nationwide public transit and unified with bank cards for some customers (http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/5883/barclays-put-oyster-debit-cards).

Why pay for a national ID card when the bank cards are tappable without warrants, reveal public transit use and gasoline stops for car use, and are already accepted broadly?

Re:Transparency (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742308)

Nothing gets the government scared like a big steam of bad press

Which is why the (free) press will be persecuted by anti-terrorism laws next

Re:Transparency (0, Offtopic)

ICLKennyG (899257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742398)

The (free) press has already been asaulted by the bankruptcy laws. I don't mean to be overly 'Rupert Murdoch owns everything and is using it for Faux News' but more of a practical argument that the idea of a healthy and effective press has long since been an ideal not based in reality.

Even discounting the TMZ effect of publishing trash instead of news, the financial realities of the traditional media and the practicalities of the new media have simply diluted the ability of people to hear a message and organize change. The press corps of one have caused so much fragmentation that stories aren't able to gain the critical mass to affect change. This (public photography) has been a big internet WAAAAAAAMBULANCE issue since about 2002, yet it seems from the discussion here that even the generally liberal crowd on here hasn't even heard about this yet.

If you think TFA was bad, take your camera to a public park and take pictures of kids playing in that public place. Bonus points if you do it with a trench coat and a big white Canon 300mm F/2.8L

This (2, Interesting)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742572)

Nothing gets the government scared like a big steam of bad press (which the internet is more than willing to provide).

This more than anything else is why the days of the True Internet are numbered - to be replaced by an electonic version of the Panopticon. I used to think the most precious commodity in the future would be potable water. I was wrong; it will be true privacy and anonymity.

Re:Transparency (3, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742580)

Nothing gets the government scared like a big steam of bad press

which the internet is more than willing to provide

Maybe in 25 years, the government will really care what happens online. For now, they're all nicely isolated from that in their ivory towers of rich upbringings, knowing the right people, their party "firewalls" of support and funds, etc. To the current generation of MPs, the Internet (including all of us) might as well be some weird, barely relevant subculture, like Goths or Emos.

Re:Transparency (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742716)

I've used this video clip before here, seems it has unfortunately some mileage yet for /. viewers.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWoiy3fVaQM [youtube.com]

Anti-Terror laws abused? Really?? (5, Interesting)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 4 years ago | (#32741932)

It's not just photographers who are at the receiving end of this absolute abomination of a law. Does anyone remember Damien Green whose house was raided by Anti-Terror police for basically selling tittle-tattle to the press?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damian_Green [wikipedia.org]

Makes me sick.

Re:Anti-Terror laws abused? Really?? (4, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742204)

Damien Green was arrested by members of SO15. What used to be called Special Branch. Special Branch has always been the department concerned with political matters. They are the police department that play a part in the protection of VIPs - politicans, and foreign dignitaries. They are the group that arrest spies. etc.

If there was a Watergate Affair in Britain, then Special Branch would be the department that would arrest those involved and investigate. That was true back in the 1970s, it's still true now.

The Damien Green affair most certainly comes into that remit, and always would have done. It's the arrest of a politician for misconduct in public office, and involves a spy in goverment offices. It's very clearly Special Branch business, and would have been so had it happened at any time over the past 40 years and more.

But the bigger question is why does it matter which particular officers were used for the arrest? It's an irelevent operational matter. What's important is what law is the basis of the arrest. And that was not terror law. He was arrested for misconduct in public office.

The real scandal here is that he should have been prosecuted. There was ample evidence. But MPs stuck together rather than let one of their own face prosecution. One law for MPs another for everyone else. A bit like the way the smoking ban law and British licensing hours for serving alcohol don't apply in the palace of Westminster. MPs believe they are special and inconvenient laws that they create shouldn't apply to them.

Re:Anti-Terror laws abused? Really?? (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742420)

That's a horrendously biased account that misses some extremely important facts, and you are outright incorrect in most areas.

Starting with SO15, it's not just a rebadged special branch at all, and your suggestion of special branches role is rather narrow so as to be utterly misleading. No, SO15's official name is "Counter Terrorism Command", see here for a list of their roles:

http://www.met.police.uk/so/counter_terrorism.htm [police.uk]

Note how they're entirely terrorism focussed nowadays, and have been since well before Damien Green's arrest?

Moving on from the role of SO15, the issue isn't the branch of police involved, the issue is the way they were involved, and to some degree, the fact they were involved at all.

If you agree that they should have been involved, then the question arises as to why due process wasn't followed, why despite initial denial that there appeared to have been contact between the police and the opposing (then ruling) party or at least some members of it, and why the police investigation involved searching for things clearly unrelated to the leaks but which are extremely suggestive of political motivation.

But there's a valid question as to whether the police should've been involved at all, because there was a clear public interest defence and the CPS would've hence never been able to pursue a case anyway, this adds further evidence towards the idea that the raid was entirely politically motivated- clearly no real prospect of a conviction, searches for and through unrelated data, then why bother? This is ultimately why the case was dropped, your theory about MPs standing together makes no sense, because the vast majority of Labour were very much interested in a prosecution and they held the majority of seats in parliament.

Realistically it was almost certainly another one of Jacqui Smiths grossly authoritarian moves, and it failed miserably. It's not a case of one rule for them, one rule for everyone else- the public interest defence which would've defeated any charges with ease in this particular case (you're right there was plenty of evidence he did it, that wasn't in dispute, there was just no evidence is wasn't in the public interest) applies to anyone. In fact, to prove this point this is also why the people involved in the MP expenses leak last year avoided any charges or prosecution too, because despite pressure from MPs to act, the police also dropped that investigation because there was no way they could defeat a public interest defence against that act of leaking those documents. The evidence they did it was there, the evidence it wasn't in public interest simply didn't exist. The people responsible for that leak weren't politicians or anything of the like, they were normal citizens yet contrary to your point, public interest prevailed in their favour.

Re:Anti-Terror laws abused? Really?? (2, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742668)

Starting with SO15, it's not just a rebadged special branch at all, and your suggestion of special branches role is rather narrow so as to be utterly misleading. No, SO15's official name is "Counter Terrorism Command", see here for a list of their roles:

What you say is true, as is what I say. I was't trying to give a comprehensive list of the department's responsibilities, I was describing the reason why they are the correct department to do the arrest. That reason goes back to the fact that it has always been Special Branch's role, and Special Branch is now part of SO15.

http://www.met.police.uk/so/counter_terrorism.htm
Note how they're entirely terrorism focussed nowadays, and have been since well before Damien Green's arrest?

You aren't looking closely enough. See the line: "To assist the British Security Service and Secret Intelligence Service in fulfilling their statutory role". That's MI5 and MI6. If MI5 or MI6 need police to arrest someone, they get SO15 to do it. And MI5 is responsible for protecting British parliamentary democracy, and investigating spies. Both reasons for which they were involved in this case.

There is no question that SO15 were the right department to make the arrest. And that has nothing to do with their anti-terrorist role.

If you agree that they should have been involved, then the question arises as to why due process wasn't followed, why despite initial denial that there appeared to have been contact between the police and the opposing (then ruling) party or at least some members of it, and why the police investigation involved searching for things clearly unrelated to the leaks but which are extremely suggestive of political motivation.

I'm not sure what you are fishing for here. It's pretty straightforward. There had been a pattern of the Tory party getting hold of Labour government policies before they were announced, and in some case stealing the idea and announcing it as a Tory policy, or in other cases poisoning the well prior to the policy being announced by Labour. This was not whistleblowing - there was no wrongdoing on Labour's party. It was plain and straightforward spying for Tory political purposes by a civil servant Christopher Galley - run by Damien Green MP.

Due process wasn't followed - i.e. Green prosecuted - for the reason I already said: MPs closed ranks - they didn't want to see one of their own imprisoned.

because there was a clear public interest defence

There was no public interest defence. The Home Office is entitled to keep their policies to themselves until the point at which they are ready to announce them. If this was a whistleblower, he'd have shown wrongdoing at the Home Office. But he didn't. And he'd have released to the news media. But he didn't - he released to the Tory party. This was spying on the government for party political purposes. No more and no less.

your theory about MPs standing together makes no sense, because the vast majority of Labour were very much interested in a prosecution and they held the majority of seats in parliament.

That's not true. That's a mis-recollection on your part of what happened. The majority in parliament was weak, and plenty of Labour MPs were involved in this sticking together to stop a fellow MP being jailed.

Re:Anti-Terror laws abused? Really?? (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742288)

Or Iceland whose major banks had their assets frozen using anti-terror laws.

I'm British and even I think that move was absolutely shocking. It's not that I disagree with freezing the assets of the banks necessarily although I do believe it was a rushed decision that wasn't thought through in the slightest, it's the fact we were willing to effectively brand an entire nation as terrorists just because we didn't want their banks to take our cash with them when they went under.

Local councils under the last government were also using anti-terror legislation to spy on families who registered their kids outside their catchment areas, to perform surveillance on people whose dogs had fouled on public property and not been picked up.

Anti-terror legislation has a long history of abuse under the old government, I just sincerely hope that under our new government this is merely a remaining trace element that will be delt with, but we'll see I guess.

Still, Damian Green's party hold the majority of power in the coalition government right now, so hopefully having been victims first hand they know the importance of fixing bad anti-terror legislation.

Re:Anti-Terror laws abused? Really?? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742688)

Still, Damian Green's party hold the majority of power in the coalition government right now, so hopefully having been victims first hand they know the importance of fixing bad anti-terror legislation.

Tut, tut, tut. You know full well that Damien Green was arrested for misconduct in public office. Nothing to do with anti-terror legislation. Why imply the contrary?

Well... (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32741944)

Jules was dressed like this [wikimedia.org] at the time.

Lucky it was not FIT (4, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32741950)

UK Police Forward Intelligence Team where asked about not wearing ID vid :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KRgmn-n5ls [youtube.com]

Re:Lucky it was not FIT (1)

luder (923306) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742466)

That was sickening to watch...

THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM !! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32741960)

This is a good thing for all concerned !! He may well be a terrorist !! What would you say then ?? Hm ??

Re:THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM !! (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742406)

He may well be a terrorist !! What would you say then ?? Hm ??

      I would say that the world needs many more of that sort of terrorist.

Re:THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM !! (2, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742522)

I'd say that any terrorist that plans his act of terrorism by filming in a public street and attracting huge attention is probably an idiot. Are they not able to use, say, maps, local knowledge, a quick stroll down the road in question and/or their brain to "plan" something "terrorist-y"?

Terrorists tend, on the whole, not to be very bright. That's why the "shocking" terrorist acts are things like - smuggling a weapon on board an international flight with valid ID, driving a gas-laden car into an airport security barrier, pulling a bomb out of your rucksack on the bus and detonating it, putting a bomb under someone's car, etc.

Thank God we don't have any smart terrorists... the kind who would, say, cause a security alert at an airport in order to have it evacuated and then set off the car-bomb parked outside (away from all the security, checks, police officers with guns, etc.), in the open-air, right where 10,000 people just got evacuated to. Or fly the damn planes themselves and possibly hit something actually critical instead of a block of offices. A single dedicated, smart, evil person could do a damn sight more damage that all the "terrorist" acts put together. Fortunately, they are few and far between.

Terrorist are stroppy teenagers with knives - attention-seeking idiots who don't quite grasp that killing innocent people doesn't get you any closer to having other people see your side of the argument. Unfortunately, the biggest terrorists tend to be large, first-world governments, and they still act in the same way.

I can't really afford a big camera (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32741988)

...but now's the right time to buy a nice Nikon DSLR and some decent glass on a credit card, then walk around central London taking photographs. When you get illegally stopped on trumped up charges it's just one quick trip to the lawyers and that thing's paid for itself.

Re:I can't really afford a big camera (1, Flamebait)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742130)

You seem to have overlooked the fact that the police seem to have acted legally (i.e. in accordance with this fucking stupid law), so you're not going to be able to sue them.

Re:I can't really afford a big camera (3, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742166)

Really? From what I can see in the article, the officer made up several untrue 'laws' throughout the encounter.

Even if the photographer happened to be in technical breach of some all-encompassing terror law, it could easily be argued that the way the officer handled it shows a desire to arrest for any old 'crime' rather than an actual response to a threat, not to mention worrying ignorance of the law. The letter of the law is not the only thing that matters, in theory at least, intent comes into the matter too.

Re:I can't really afford a big camera (2, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742198)

Stopping a press photographer from photographing a public event in a public place featuring members of the public, and some public servants in the form of military personnel, or police officers who are expressly forbidden preventing photographs being taken of themselves or their identifying markings?

I read about this yesterday on El Reg, and watched the video. The kid was polite yet firm, and remarkably well informed for a teenager (he's 16). I hope he gets a few of these idiots fired.

Re:I can't really afford a big camera (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742222)

Not true. From The Register article [theregister.co.uk] in the summary:

Meanwhile, photojournalists Marc Vallee and Jason Parkinson last week received compensation of £3,500 apiece in respect of an incident outside the Greek Embassy in December 2008.

If anything, the circumstances of Jules' Stop with its made up legislation and rough handling is a more severe breach of The Human Rights Act than that of Marc Vallee and Jason Parkinson, so a payout is entirely possible, given the closing line of the article:

The bill for the Met may be about to get a little bit higher, as Marc also informed us this morning that he has just "sorted a lawyer out for Jules".

It's "THE Metropolitan Police" (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742028)

The Metropolitan Police are the London police force. A quick survey of complaints against the police will show why this is unsurprising. Most British police forces are pretty good. I've lived in Herts, Cambs,Hants,Somerset, and never had the least concern about the local police force, as regards its competence or its honesty. But the Met has a reputation for corruption and violence, along with the West Midlands Police. Whether this represents the reality of policing in those areas - I wouldn't want to live in either of them - or whether large urban police forces just tend to go this way (think LA) I don't know. The Met also suffers from having a national role (which I believe to be quite wrong) and to be subject to lots of political pressure. But the motto of the Met really needs to be "quis custodiet ipsos custodes".

Re:It's "THE Metropolitan Police" (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742212)

Police tend to adapt to their environment just like everyone else. If an area has a history of a particular type of incident or a particular type of people, they will begin to see everything as if it were similar. While there may well be corruption in the police department (having been a Dallas, TX resident, I know about corrupt police -- google "Terrell Bolton" to see) I tend to think that problems as large as this are more likely motivated by a fear of being accused of "not doing enough" to stop whatever.

One commenter here, marked troll, indicated precisely what many other people might be thinking: "What if he really WAS a terrorist? What then?"

People really need to understand what "terrorist" means. A photographer may or may not be a terrorist, but the act of photography should never be considered an act of terrorism. A terrorist is someone who would use a demonstrable threat of violence to intimidating people into acting a particular way. That is a wide definition, I know... perhaps too wide as this seems to also describe these police incidents pretty well... hrmmmm

Re:It's "THE Metropolitan Police" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742370)

One commenter here, marked troll, indicated precisely what many other people might be thinking: "What if he really WAS a terrorist? What then?"

Really? What if he was a serial killer? What if he was a rapist? What if he was a politician? What if he was a human being?

The answer should be the same, regardless of any answer to any of the questions above: the officer should be (publically) fired or demoted to a desk job. Like you say, detaining anyone for taking photographs of a public event is a clear abuse of power, regardless of the (made-up) laws that make it possible.

And I don't think the people need to understand what "terrorist" means. They need to understand that "terrorist" is an intentionally vague (legally ambiguous) umbrella term that may include anything the government does not like. Do you know that animal rights activists have been persecuted in The Netherlands under anti-terrorism laws?

Re:It's "THE Metropolitan Police" (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742472)

Animal rights activists and other rights activists such as "pro-lifers" and green peace are well known to engage in extreme activities including vandalism, sabotage and violent acts. I can't say what the case was in the Netherlands, but it wouldn't be surprising if this were the case there as well. What would surprise me is if people who were known for sitting in circles singing protest songs were charged with terrorism.

Re:It's "THE Metropolitan Police" (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742594)

London police force

That's spelt with an "a", just so you know.

Qualifications (5, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742038)

The only qualification required generally to join the police is a clean criminal record, and some very basic skills, mostly physical. After that the course length is stunningly short(weeks) for a job which has a responsibility as strong as high responsibility jobs. High school qualifications are minimal, and tertiary is a waste of time, untill you have done the hard yards and learnt the chain of evidence mantra.

Lets simplify it. When push comes to shove and they are chasing a theft suspect, the ability to run, react, tackle, and subdue are at the top of the list. The police officer could not be like Richard Stallman for example. The mere presence of some intellectual brilliance, probably removes any ability to "do the grunt work".

Re:Qualifications (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742048)

Lets simplify it. When push comes to shove and they are chasing a theft suspect, the ability to run, react, tackle, and subdue are at the top of the list. The police officer could not be like Richard Stallman for example. The mere presence of some intellectual brilliance, probably removes any ability to "do the grunt work".

Not just that, I've heard rumours (take them with as much salt as you think such a rumour from someone you've never met babbling on /. deserves) that at least one police force actively discriminates against people who are too smart because such people might start to think for themselves.

Re:Qualifications (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742126)

Old joke:

Why do the Met go round in threes?

One who can read, one who can write, and one to keep an eye on the two other dangerous intellectual subversives...

Re:Qualifications (5, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742148)

Not just that, I've heard rumours that at least one police force actively discriminates against people who are too smart because such people might start to think for themselves.

That's nothing, last week I heard from my neighbour whose dogsitter has a cousin who's married to a policemans dog that they actually lobotomize people when they sign the contract. They don't even use any surgical equipment, just the pen the applicant signed in with and a rusty spoon. They do get the option of a sedative though, but from what I've heard from my housemates sister that has a plumber who's married to a policewoman, the sedative involves applying a hammer to someone's forehead.

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742344)

Well, people have been put in jail with less evidence than that.

Re:Qualifications (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742156)

I don't know about where you live, but in the UK if you're intelligent and have a degree you can go through a fast track system which ends up with being pretty senior within a relatively few years, and I believe only a couple of years actually on the beat. So it's not just a job for thickos any more.

It's a bit like the army, sure you can go in as a private with virtually no qualifications, but to be an officer is a different thing altogether.

Re:Qualifications (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742258)

But there is always many more positions for privates than officers....

Re:Qualifications (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742638)

That sounds like a great way to become the boss of a bunch of people that don't respect you (not enough experience, and prejudice against university-education). Then they can get up to this kind of stuff and you can be the exasperated individual who tries to tell them afterwards that they really shouldn't.

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742172)

For the New York State police department it is openly their official policy. Ostensibly it is because their statistics show that smarter people are more likely to quit. Waste of training and all that.

Re:Qualifications (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742196)

That's not really a rumor. It has been previously covered by the news. I don't remember where it happened, but I am sure that it's also been linked by Slashdot a few years ago. There was a guy that failed an intelligence test because his score was too high and the police said that he was "overqualified" to be part of the force. The article also said that this was not a one-time issue, it had happened previously and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. So it's not a rumor and I won't bother to search for the articles, but if you don't believe it you can always ask Google about it.

Re:Qualifications (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742670)

Actually, you are referring to New London, Connecticut [wordpress.com] . The rational is that police work is largely boring and someone that is too smart will quit after training because it is too boring. But this means you eventually get detectives that meet the criteria you take for the patrolman. All in all, not a good policy, in my opnion.

Re:Qualifications (1)

billius (1188143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742720)

I've heard of this as well. I think there was a case in Arizona, too, but the only one I could find online was the case of Robert Jordan [nytimes.com] , who attempted to sue after he barred from the police force for scoring too high on an intelligence test. At least in America, it's not just a rumor; the police *do* actively discriminate based on intelligence and a federal judge has ruled that that's perfectly okay.

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742140)

Sorry, but did you just mention "Richard Stallman" and "intellectual brilliance" in the same paragraph?

Re:Qualifications (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742394)

To be fair, you just mentioned them in the same sentence. Your point is moot.

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742236)

http://www.adversity.net/0_PoliceFireMuni/PFM_intro.htm [adversity.net]
'Dumb cop' rule really smarts (09/11/00)

I guess if someone were really smart, in the above situation, they would cheat on the test to seem dumber than normal.

Re:Qualifications (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742404)

the ability to run, react, tackle, and subdue are at the top of the list. The police officer could not be like Richard Stallman for example.

But wait; if they had katanas instead of guns, they might be less casual about using lethal force. (Then again, maybe not.)

Re:Qualifications (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742762)

Not true. They let you in with minor criminal offences to your name.

Civil Rights (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742064)

It seems the UK is slowly but surely slipping away and turning into a police state. A human rights report a while ago called the UK an endemic surveillance society and the situation keeps getting worse. Unfortunately the problems around photography are not unique to the UK, I have personally been bothered in The Netherlands by security personnel on two occassions and have been asked to delete a photograph by two plainclothes policemen after taking a photo which had one of them in it. All three of these incidents happened in a public space. Under the fear mongering guises of combatting terrorism, crime and child porn and the influence of undemocratic powerful intellectual property lobies trying to protect an outdated business model from colapse our civil liberties are slowly being eroded away. I sincerely hope there will finally be a huge public backlash one of these days when people start to realize what's going on but so far most people appear to be content to let themselves be led like lambs to the slaughter.

Re:Civil Rights (4, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742440)

I explained a bit more about the change of government here:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1702892&cid=32742270 [slashdot.org]

It's simply not the case that the UK is seeing civil liberties eroded more since the change of government last month, already we've had firm action to reverse some of the policies of the previous government, and we've promises of much more to come- if even some of them are followed it puts the UK in a much better state.

I'm not naive enough to believe things will be perfect, but currently the situation in the UK is certainly that civil liberties situation in general is actually improving from where it was, not getting worse, for now at least.

Re:Civil Rights (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742682)

I have personally been bothered in The Netherlands by security personnel on two occassions and have been asked to delete a photograph by two plainclothes policemen after taking a photo which had one of them in it.

You keep posting AC in this thread so you probably won't notice you got a reply, but if you do, care to provide some citations for all of your allegations?

As for these 2 specific examples:

- Define bothered? What were the circumstances? What were you doing?
- Asking to have a photograph deleted is a perfectly legitimate request. I could ask you to do the same thing and you'd have to comply, most people just don't bother.

As for surveillance societies...the netherlands is already so much further down that slope than the UK, most people just either don't know or they don't care. Instead they protest by voting for Wilders, who would most likely jump at the chance to sign ACTA.

Lions and Donkeys (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742100)

I have just resigned from a county force after serving 4 years and this doesn't really surprise me at all. Most cops just don't know the law and certainly aren't kept abreast of developments. This isn't aimed at the officers, as there is simply no time for this. My normal working week was around 55 hours consistently working 12 hour day / late / night shifts. When on duty you are writing an hour for every hour you are out doing your job, and have around 15 fairly complex investigations ongoing at any one time... all the time being expected to respond to 999 calls... Not that we were flush for cover; at least once a month there were periods of several hours where only one or two officers covered a large suburban area of around 100,000 people, it was a wonder no-one is seriously hurt during such times.

As a result.. officers don't keep up on the law, they aren't trained in it and expected 99% of the time to generally do what they think is right and then look it up afterwards. 20 years ago there was a "spare" shift every fortnight used to learn updates to legislation and practise self defence skills; this is seen as a wasteful excess in the modern police service.

Re:Lions and Donkeys (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742234)

I didn't realise that it was like this, and it sounds like a damn shame that those are the conditions you had to work in, but would you also agree that the officer in question (and those in similar cases) seems to have an attitude problem?

You say the police are "expected 99% of the time to generally do what they think is right and then look it up afterwards", which is certainly not optimal, but is somewhat understandable. What I don't see, however, is what genuine harm the officer thought was being done by someone photographing a public parade. Using the 'everyone might be a terrorist' argument just leads to the conclusion that nobody can be trusted with cameras, and beyond that I can't see why he was stopped.

Re:Lions and Donkeys (3, Insightful)

shilly (142940) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742434)

but this isn't about keeping abreast of the latest developments in the law. this is about something really fundamental, which you'd hope coppers would learn really early on in their job, and would be reinforced by a pervasive culture:

1) "people don't have to do what I say just because I'm a copper. they have to do what I say insofar as I enforce the law"
2) "if someone's doing something legal and I don't want them to do it any more, I can't make it illegal just by telling them to stop"
3) "I'm not the parent of the members of the public I meet. I don't get to win every battle of wills because I am an officer of the law"

Re:Lions and Donkeys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742586)

"20 years ago there was a "spare" shift every fortnight used to learn updates to legislation and practise self defence skills; this is seen as a wasteful excess in the modern police service."

Sigh. Apparently the bean counters haven't added in the costs of either litigation or losing the public trust. Idiots.

Police officers do a tough job. But sending them out without adequate understanding of current law is like sending them out to do the job without a weapon.

Re:Lions and Donkeys (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742600)

Not being up to date with legislation is no excuse for making up imaginary laws.

If they do not know something to be illegal, they should do nothing.

Just a hunch (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742128)

but I think he failed the initial attitude test and they were trying to goad him into failing it even harder.

Not because of something he said, but the tone in which he said it and the fact he never let the officers get a word in edgeways.

(There is the other, orthogonal issue that nobody ever likes to admit that they're wrong - particularly not when they're in a position of authority - and as soon as something like that happens it's vanishingly unlikely to end nicely for the photographer because the only way it could end nicely is if the police officer could be persuaded to double-check that they were in the right, get told that they weren't, apologise and let the photographer go about their business, which gets less and less likely the longer it goes on because the longer it goes on, the bigger the cock-up the occifer has to admit to.)

Re:Just a hunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742556)

There is the other, orthogonal issue that nobody ever likes to admit that they're wrong - particularly not when they're in a position of authority

This was the main problem. The police officer knew he was wrong - otherwise he would have arrested the guy - but couldn't back down without losing their position of authority.

Ultimately, what he needed to do (assuming hew wanted to be left alone to carry on his job) was to give the police an "out". Something along the lines of "I shall take your demand that I stop taking photos as a request and take it under consideration. Meanwhile I shall contact my publication's legal department, and confirm what my legal rights are".

Such a statement wouldn't commit him to anything but sounds close enough to obeying that the police officer can let him go with his dignity intact.

Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742138)

If a police officer stops you for speeding, it is "your right" to keep a video camera trained at his faced the entire time.

It is however a conscious provocation.

He sounds hysterical in the video and has an attitude problem from the very beginning. The police demonstrate, in the face of an aggressive asshole, a supreme amount of calm and reason.

If I show up to an internal NUJ event on public property and film the faces of everyone and act similarly I would be attacked in a similar way.

Further example (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742190)

5:53 - "Hey! Ah! Fuck! You pushed me down the stairs! You pushed me down the stairs! Officer, you pushed me down the stairs!". Listen to the tone of voice.

From the blog, "I spent several hours yesterday in hospital with severe and debilitating back pain from being pushed down the stairs".

This guy sounds like a fucking clown from Monthy Python's Flying Circus.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742200)

Always good to ask for the law in use. Canada updated some laws just for the g20.
The Ontario Public Works Protection Act http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100625/national/g8_g20_civil_liberties [yahoo.com]
Using a camera on pubic property is not a conscious provocation.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742248)

The fact that it in many places including Canada it is fully legal to show a shitty attitude towards someone and try to bait them into doing something they shouldn't whilst you keep a camera pointed at their face does not stop it from being a conscious provocation.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742582)

However, the Ministry of Community Safety says all the cabinet did was update the law that governs entry to such places as court houses to include specific areas inside the G20 fences — not outside.

A ministry spokeswoman says the change was about property, not police powers, and did not include any mention of a zone five metres outside the G20 security perimeter.

When asked Tuesday if there actually was a five-metre rule given the ministry's clarification, Chief Bill Blair smiled and said, "No, but I was trying to keep the criminals out."

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/29/g20-chief-fence571.html#ixzz0sKucWn6j [www.cbc.ca]

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742230)

He sounds hysterical in the video and has an attitude problem from the very beginning.

No, he doesn't. Unless by attitude problem you mean he informs the cops that what he's doing is legal when they claim it isn't.

The police demonstrate, in the face of an aggressive asshole, a supreme amount of calm and reason.

lol -- the police demonstrate a supreme lack of reason, actually.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742330)

No, he doesn't. Unless by attitude problem you mean he informs the cops that what he's doing is legal when they claim it isn't.

Legally, he was undoubtedly right. He's an adolescent smartarse, though. The cops tried to goad him into being an even bigger dick than he was, and he tried - and succeeded - in goading them into shooting themselves in the foot. Morally, I don't think either side can really claim the moral high-ground here.

To be fair, though, right now he's young and stupid. He hasn't yet figured out how to manipulate a conversation in the direction he wants it to go. He hasn't figured out how to calmly let the other party hang themselves - he had that whiney teenage defensive thing going on from the start. Maybe he thought that was "being assertive", I know when I was sixteen I couldn't tell the difference either. He's got balls, and I hope he learns the difference between challenging authority effectively and being a smartarse. We need people to stand up to authority whenever authority is wrong, but I don't think he deserves to be the new pin-up boy for reason.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (1)

shilly (142940) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742488)

what the *fuck* are you on about? what, specifically, did he say or do that could justify you calling him a "smartarse"? what specifically are you referring to when you say "whiney teenage defensive thing"? what words, what tone of voice? if you're going to carp from the sidelines, you might at least supply some concrete evidence to back up your assertions.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (1)

risinganger (586395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742536)

The cops tried to goad him...

You're not suggesting the police were agitating the situation are you? (~4:15 in audio recording in the independent link) ;)

Smartass? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742584)

He's an adolescent smartarse, though.

The "smartarse adolescent" was right - what does his age have to do with it? Unless you think kids should know their "place".

And it gives this old fart some hope that kids will be sticking up to authority when they overstep their bounds. There's nothing that pisses me off more than when the "law and order" types give cops cart blanche for their actions. Cops are to serve and protect - not walk around like they have absolute power.

Now, shut the fuck up, go back to watching your Dirty Harry movies or "24" reruns. I'm in a very cranky mood - the TV room is closed and there's a Matlock marathon on and to add insult to injury, they've ran out of banana pudding!

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (2, Insightful)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742672)

I don't care if he was talking in a miss piggy voice, he was R I G H T. When, legally, you are in the right, there's nothing else to say. The police here had no purpose or right to do what they did. In fact, detaining this guy was taking them away from policing the crowd. They were actively making the march more dangerous by their absence.

Judging someone by the tone or pitch of their voice is idiotic. It is the content that matters.

Right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742686)

The police demonstrate, in the face of an aggressive asshole, a supreme amount of calm and reason

That's funny, because every time I see video footage of such an event, it's the police who are screaming, yelling, attacking, and generally acting like exactly the aggressive asshole you describe.

Re:Journalist seems like a raging asshole. (5, Insightful)

shilly (142940) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742478)

"it is however a conscious provocation" So what? Should the fact that it is a conscious provocation alter the police officer's behaviour in any way? also, note that speeding is a criminal offence. taking pictures of a public parade is not.

"an internal NUJ event on public property". wtf? what kind of "internal" event would take place on "public property"?? and what has that analogy got to do with filming a *public event* on public property and then subsequently filming *public servants* going about their *public duties*??

these copper twunts were irritated because this guy wouldn't do what they asked him to. but he wouldn't do what they asked him to, because he was *doing nothing wrong*.

"he sounds hysterical in the video" Of course he does! He's a 16-year old kid and these big burly twats keep on grabbing him and his camera for no reason other than that they've decided they don't want him to do what he's perfectly entitled to do.

hint: just because they wear a uniform doesn't make them automatically right.

The run-up to this... (5, Informative)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742358)

Britain has recently elected a new government, one which (on a few issues) is less authoritarian than the previous Labour government. Thirteen years of Labour led to some unwarranted laws coming into being, ranging from making it illegal to photograph a police officer - technically a video filmed by an American at a G8 summits' protests in London is illegal and should not have been shown...despite the fact it showed an officer shoving a man to the ground having not even been provoked; the assaulted man died minutes later of a heart attack.

So yeah, Labour (a right-wing party whose swing towards that direction began in the Thatcher years) brought all sorts of unpleasent socially restrictive policy, implemented gradually to the point where - ironically for those who saw it once as a permissive, left-wing outfit - they became more authoritarian than our traditiional right-wing party (Conservatives) ever have been. One of the early Labour architects, Lord Mandelson, has among the most poignent views on Internet restriction; ranging from prosecuting people with cartoons for 'possession of child porn' to much tougher sentencing for those who infringe copyright.

But to stay on topic; two things are probably most disturbing (yet predictably New Labour) about laws like forbidding photographing police is that they are justified as 'stopping terrorism'. Ridiculous as photographs of British plod are all over the Net. The other disturbing point is how easily most of the population rolls over and takes this like some apathetic whore. Two people close to me, a friend and a family member, both have no qualms with providing samples for the proposed 'DNA database' that our government pondered bringing in, and I know even more individuals with absolutely no qualms with the (now scrapped) identity cards. Want to encrypt your hard drive but get charged of a crime that requires computer access for the police? Not giving up your password can get you years in jail; and no freedom-loving geek has yet set a precedent against this.

Yes we're the most watched people in the world, yes you can be detained and not charged for weeks if suspected of 'terror offences', and yes our local governments have enthusiastically used some of New Labour's reforms to enforce their own supposed justice (think monitoring people suspected of avoiding tax or claiming welfare wrongly etc). What's worst is that much of Labour's work along these lines won't even be done away with by the imcumbent coalition; which has our most liberal major party as a component.

How is surveillance right-wing and not left? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742656)

How is surveillance and public control something the right wing does and not the left wing?

If you are thinking about countries that are or have in the past been left-wing, does these strike you as having the right level of surveillance, more surveillance, or less surveillance, than you would consider necessary for a good society?

Why refuse to identify? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742482)

Why did Jules Matteson refused to show ID? So police *could* detain for futher identification? I think that provoked more drama than need be. The rigth to takes photos got with the obligation to be identified. It seams fair to me.
Police handle it bad, but Jules also provoked.

Shame on both.

Because he doesn't have to ID himself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32742642)

Because he doesn't have to ID himself. Also, any police officer MUST by statute of law as well as conditions of service identify themselves to any member of the public. Hiding your badge makes you an undercover cop and they have to identify themselves AS a cop before they can do anything AS a cop.

Congratulations, Mr Mattsson (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742496)

The Metropolitan Police will be funding the bar bill for your first year at university. If you keep taking pictures of these... constables... then you might be able to get them to fund you all the way through to graduation.

Re:Congratulations, Mr Mattsson (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742708)

It was obviously just a matter of time before this occurred. I took a photo of some mounted police months before this ban came into play; neither spoke or so much as batted an eyelid. I'm confident a subsection of the force ignore this law; but obviously some don't, and the odds of one of those being photographed and coming into contact with a young man clued-in to his rights approaches certain.

Police are fallible and human, and whether or not they're uppity over crap laws such as these is an individual thing. They could get an easy caution thereby adding points to their 'target score' and potential for promotion and bonuses, just as they do so frequently with things like cannabis possession - even though possession alone technically can lead to jail. But just as not playing ball when accepting a caution for a joint in your pocket riles them (paperwork and interview; odds of CPS climbing on board over this being quite low etc) so too do anomalys like this lad for stepping in one of the turds Labour shat whilst in government.

Oh yeah, I used to read your comments on Nightjack's blog Rogerborg; sensible stuff.

funny (-1, Offtopic)

cookienihui (1845396) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742532)

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