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Police warned against stopping photographers

 18th Jun 2009

Lord Carlile QC, who is in charge of reviewing terror legislation, has warned police against using terror laws to stop photographers taking pictures of officers.

The legislation, intoduced in February this year, prevented people from "eliciting, publishing or communicating information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". This sparked fears that genuine amateur photographers may be targeted by police and prevented from taking picture of officers and police-related equipment and vehicles.

In response to these fears, on 17 June, Lord Carlile stated that the a "high bar" should not be used to stop photography of officers, adding that this practice is still allowed. He stated, “it should be emphasised that photography of the police by the media or amateurs remains as legitimate as before, unless the photograph is likely to be of use to a terrorist. This is a high bar.”

Carlile added that police must come to terms with the fact that they are increasingly scrutinised by the public, adding, "police officers who use force or threaten force in this context run the real risk of being prosecuted themselves for one or more of several possible criminal and disciplinary offences."