Today, the Home Office had intended to publish new operational guidance to the police on the use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for those taking photographs in public places.
Here you can read the details of the draft guidance, with Marc’s comments:
Details of the draft guidance, as originally published on his own blog:
“There is no power under the Terrorism Act 2000 to prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.
“If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance then they should act appropriately, by searching the person under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act or making an arrest. Cameras, film and memory cards may be seized as evidence but there is no power for images to be deleted or film to be destroyed by officers.”
MV: What if section 43 with its powers to seize ‘cameras, film and memory cards’ is misused in the same way that section 44 has been misused by the police? Just think of the chilling effect this will have on photography in a public place.
(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 Majesty’s forces
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable
MV: A ‘Constable’ is the legal term for all police officers. Elicits or attempts to elicit information: ‘does that include taking a photograph and publishing it?
(b) publishes or communicates any such information.
MV: You can get 10 years for this one! And I almost forgot, every police force in Britain is going to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners which will allow the police to carry out identity checks on people on the street. I think I’m going to need to get myself a desk job!