Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Time for the Police to snap out of it?

The Filthy Engineer mentions that yet another photographer has been arrested for taking photographs.

This time, according to the BJP
On Saturday 26 June, photojournalist Jules Mattsson, who is a minor and was documenting the Armed Forces Day parade in Romford, was questioned and detained by a police officer after taking a photo of young cadets.
Now take a look at the video for yourself, and listen to how this 'incident' is escalated by the Police, and how the supposedly 'criminal acts' change from one moment to the next.

Now you've seen that it's good to remember that this was, initially, the Police trying to prevent a teenager taking pictures of other teenagers who are Army Cadets - all of which took place during the Armed Forces Day parade in Romford. An event you would presume local people would want to record for posterity.

It's a pity, isn't it, that nobody had told those Police officers about Mark Vallee
A photographer and a videographer have each won £3,500 in damages from the Metropolitan Police after the pair were prevented from recording a protest outside the Greek Embassy in 2008.

The Met admitted that it breached Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights - and failed to respect press freedom - when an officer pulled a camera away from photographer Marc Vallée and covered the lens on a camera being used by videographer Jason Parkinson.

The pair were attempting to record a political protest outside the Greek Embassy in December 2008.

Marc Vallée told Amateur Photographer: 'This is the second time I've been forced to take legal action against the Metropolitan Police since 2006 and I would like it to be the last.

'The question to consider is: "Is the overall harassment of photographers by the police a deliberate policy or a series of unrelated mistakes?".

In 2008, Vallée won £4,000 in an out-of-court settlement after clashing with police while photographing a political protest outside Parliament.
Read the rest of that article at Amateur Photographer, and also see from their news archive how often this sort of thing is happening, and also how often photographers are being awarded damages.

In case you were wondering, a Met spokeswoman issued a statement to the BJP
"It is clearly not the intention of the MPS to prevent people from taking photographs, although, as the public would expect, officers will remain vigilant, particularly in crowded public places. Any allegations or complaints about police treatment of photographers are taken very seriously by the MPS."

She adds: "Anyone who is unhappy with the actions of individual police officers can make a formal complaint, which will be thoroughly investigated. Although at this time we have not received a complaint about this incident and no allegations of crime have been made, we will investigate the circumstances. Our officers do receive guidance around the issue of photography through briefings and internal communications and we continue to drive this work forward."
As always, please read the original article for yourself, because Mrs Rigby always changes the order in which things have originally been written.

Now a question.

What would you do if your teenager came home and related how they'd been treated by the Police, showed you some pictures and let you listen to a recording ... and then you later found out that the same Police hadn't even taken the trouble to record a crime?

It makes Mrs R wonder what all those threats were for ... because at the moment she hasn't a clue. She does, however, think it might actually be worth buying Amateur Photographer when it hits the shops on 6th July, because included with the magazine is a 'photographers' lens cloth". (Picture from Amateur Photographer)


To read Jules Matteson's own words please go here

For a transcript of the recording please go here


Anonymous said...

Sadly, this kind of thing is far more prevalent than it appears. Taking pictures in a public place is perfectly legal, including pictures of children. The police make every effort to escalate such situations, it's an easy arrest. Note how the terroism act it brought into play. Will it never end?

Anonymous said...

Sadly it happens a lot. Most people do not have the bravery of this young man and would just do as the Police ask straight away or within a minute or two. For every incident we see like this there must be dozens if not more that simply do not even bother complaining.

The officers were trying to make up laws to stop him from taking photos, is that not an act of Fraud by the officers ? I believe it is also a criminal act on their behalf to do so.

subrosa said...

It goes to show so many of our police are just bullies and thugs. They're trained to support the public not harass them.

JuliaM said...

Not just bullies and thugs, subrosa, but also DIM bullies and thugs. As soon as they know they are being recorded, they should have realised the jig was up.

But no, the modern police recruit is dimmer than a tealight & continues to provide the rope that should be used to hang him by Professional Standards.

You see, they love an easy collar too! ;)

Catosays said...

This is an absolute disgrace.

I hope and trust that this young man makes the strongest possible complaint regarding these idiots.

DerekP said...

Give coppers like that guns? I don't think so!

Mrs Rigby said...

Phew, all points worth making.

@ Mud in the blood - Yes, there are no laws preventing photography in public places. If you have the right to be there then the law says you can take photographs.

@ EngliscDragon - no, few would be as articulate and knowledgeable.

@ Subrosa - some clearly are bullies and thugs, but not all, and not most of them. Thank goodness.

@ JuliaM - The most disconcerting part of the recording is when one Police Officer is identified as an Inspector.

@ Cato - Yes, it's a disgrace, and let's hope they get the book thrown hard in their direction.

@ DerekP - That's a horrible, and rather scary, thought.