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Taking photos of Police to be considered a crime under terrorist legislation?

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British Journal of Photography - Taking photos of police officers could be considered a crime

Mental.

The act is here: Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (c. 28)

and the text is:

76Offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc

(1)After section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (collection of information) insert

58AEliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc

(1)A person commits an offence who

(a)elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been

(i)a member of Her Majestys forces,

(ii)a member of any of the intelligence services, or

(iii)a constable,which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b)publishes or communicates any such information.

(2)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.

(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine, or to both;

(b)on summary conviction

(i)in England and Wales or Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;

(ii)in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

(4)In this section the intelligence services means the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ (within the meaning of section 3 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (c. 13)).

(5)Schedule 8A to this Act contains supplementary provisions relating to the offence under this section..

(2)In the application of section 58A in England and Wales in relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44) the reference in subsection (3)(b)(i) to 12 months is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(3)In section 118 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) (defences), in subsection (5)(a) after 58, insert 58A,.

(4)After Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000 insert the Schedule set out in Schedule 8 to this Act.

So it looks like we finally have secret police now. Just like a proper totalitarian regime ... :(

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So let me get this straight. Say a member of the public sees a police officer reacting wildly to a situation and catches the situation with a photograph? Would they be able to use that photograph as evidence or would they be considered a criminal?

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So let me get this straight. Say a member of the public sees a police officer reacting wildly to a situation and catches the situation with a photograph? Would they be able to use that photograph as evidence or would they be considered a criminal?

From the act above:

(2)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.

Filming a police officer possibly breaking the law themselves would certainly qualify as a reasonable excuse.

But I imagine you'd have to go through the motions of being arrested first and defending the filming in court before it was accepted.

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From the act above:

Filming a police officer possibly breaking the law themselves would certainly qualify as a reasonable excuse.

This is the problem - The Terrorism act is so drawn so broadly that almost anything can be argued as an interpretation.

There's no requirement for proof of intent, merely that the gathering or publication of information "which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism"

The only defence of a 'reasonable excuse' puts the onus on the defence to prove that they were not committing a crime, rather than on the prosecution to prove that a crime was committed. In practical terms, you have to prove your innocence.

Although my bet would be that the image/footage would somehow be lost/deleted & you would be sent on your way with a flea in your ear. I'm aware of another incident where a person filming an officer stomping someone resulted in his phone being confiscated. It was several months before its return & when returned, along with an upheld complaint that resulted in a wrist slap for the officer, it was minus two videos - Guess which! :mad:

We have an example of where this can lead with last year's case of a Nottingham University student, who was arrested for possession of dodgy material (relevant to his Thesis) and released after nearly a week.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08...tt_uni_update/

Following Mr Sabirs release, the police wrote to him. Allegedly, they warn that he risks re-arrest if found with the manual again and add: "The university authorities have now made clear that possession of this material is not required for the purpose of your course of study nor do they consider it legitimate for you to possess it for research purposes."

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it is fucking mental. in fairness though the police up hear seem to be ok about photos. i happened upon a fairly large manhunt at the donmouth last summer. i couldn't really care what the police were upto but as it was a fine day i'd decided to go for a walk to try and get some nice pictures of birds and seals. i decided to check with one of the policemen as i didn't want to get in the way(though at the time there was no legislation preventing my taking photos of whatever i wanted) and he replied quickly and correctly that he couldn't stop me taking photos and there was no problem.

there is well documented cases of the police arresting legitimate press photographers in other areas when they've taken pictures of police officers and in other cases just people taking photos in public. there is no legislation against taking photos in public. if you so wish you can go around snapping anyone and anything you want in a public place so long as it doesn't break privacy legislation(which it probably wouldn't unless you're snapping prince harry or something). probably not a good idea to go around taking photo's of banks, military bases or school playgrounds though.

i have a lot of time for the police and know that 99% of them do a tough job and do it well but i'm worried about the minority of power hungry enforcers who might abuse this. it also only helps to further demonise a harmless hobby and profession.

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