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    Tuesday, 26 July 2011

    Police, Security and Photography in Public Places: passing the test?

    An interesting film reporting on an investigation into the policing of public and private space by private security firms and their reaction to photographers has been posted on YouTube. The film, entitled 'Stand Your Ground', was directed and produced by Hannah White and edited by Stuart York as part of the London Street Photography Festival.

    Six photographers accompanied by videojournalists spent some time taking pictures of London buildings from public places on 21 June. All six photographers were stopped on at least one occasion by security personnel. Three encounters led to police action. The film highlights the lack of knowledge and training of security personnel, but also the fact that the police officers portrayed acted appropriately on each occasion.

    The study comes in the wake of the 'I'm a Photographer not a Terrorist' campaign, which has recently published a pamphlet setting out its history and successes.

    The experiences of photojournalists have not been entirely rosy of late. The Press Gazette noted recently that the media have been ordered to hand over Belfast riots footage to police, last month an MEN photgrapher was arrested (and then 'de-arrested') while taking photos of a street fight outside a court, while Roy Greenslade yesterday had the unusual story of the photographer, the police, Defra and the parakeets.

    A (not entirely satisfactory) remedial order repealing sections 44-47(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000 and introducing replacement powers as a new s 47A was made by Home Secretary Teresa May in March of this year (see here for the explanatory note). Under a new s 47B, the Home Secretary was obliged to publish a Code of Practice on the use of this revised power (see section 4.5 on photography / journalism). Developments in this respect can be followed on the 'street rights' category on the British Journal of Photography news webpages.


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