As Of February 16th 2009, It Will Be Illegal To Photograph Police Officers In The UK

“Photographers being arrested to seize evidence” claim at NUJ Photographers’ Conference

The relationship between photographers and police
could worsen next month when new laws are introduced that allow for the
arrest and imprisonment of anyone who takes pictures of officers
‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of

British Journal Of Photography

This has been on the horizon for some time, as the footage above shows: two kids harassing a senior local resident for breaking a law that – at that time, and at the time of this posting – did not and does not exist.

I feel so much safer, now. Don’t you?

End these demagogic abuses of power. Go to


Filed under: Crime, Journalism, Law, UK, , ,

4 Responses

  1. J says:

    This is just plain scary ….what do the Police a have to hide ? Are the Government taking mesures to prevent to much bad publicity for the Police when civil unrest hits and the police are tasering everyone.

  2. Ed says:

    Hey J,

    I think you have to bear in mind that the intention behind the law is to remain within the context of terrorist activity.

    Of course, the problem with this is that we know this will not always be the case: that this law will be abused for some unfortunate individuals. Whether it is abused generally, that is consistently irrespective of context, has yet to be ascertained.

    But the reality is, if they feel like it, any officer can arrest you for photographing or filming them and take your camera and/or film/tape/flashcard/whatever.

    It doesn’t take fekkin’ Einstein to understand the imperfections and possible avenues for abuse of such a law…

  3. Ed says:

    From experience I can say that the police used to have enormous power over media footage. If you were a journalist it meant you had the equipment; if you had the equipment (generally quite expensive some time ago) it meant you were affiliated with a broadcasting organisation; if you were so affiliated, it was general practice to get a press-pass as this afforded you certain rights and privileges (think “insurance”). What it did not afford you was rights over your footage should the government decide to retain it. That is, obtaining a press-pass meant releasing details about your organisation and whereabouts to the police. Generally, they would just turn up and take it from you if they wished.

    Now, with the public owning sophisticated and cheap media technology, the police cannot use this demagogic soft-law caveat to ensure their control over media footage of any given event. Thus, the government has strived to extend their control over such outcomings.

  4. j says:

    very good points, its just we don’t have a choice about being filmed by the police, its just another way of making sure videos of themselves shooting and killing unarmed people dont become popular viewing on youtube and inciting what we have seen in Athens recently, also the guy that was executed by police recently in a tube station in the US….they like killing people in tube stations huh ?

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About me

I'm a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College, London, a Project Manager and Web Developer (C#, PHP). In my spare time I like to write fiction, music, and read current affairs.

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