Jail for photographing police?
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 terrorism’.
Set to become law on 16 February, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 amends the Terrorism Act 2000 regarding offences relating to information about members of armed forces, a member of the intelligence services, or a police officer.
The new set of rules, under section 76 of the 2008 Act and section 58A of the 2000 Act, will target anyone who ‘elicits or attempts to elicit information about (members of armed forces) … which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.
A person found guilty of this offence could be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years, and to a fine.
The law is expected to increase the anti-terrorism powers used today by police officers to stop photographers, including press photographers, from taking pictures in public places. ‘Who is to say that police officers won’t abuse these powers,’ asks freelance photographer Justin Tallis, who was threatened by an officer last week.
This government’s contempt for civil liberties continues…
Will this “anti-terror” law be used by the police to harrass anyone they want to? Of course it will.
Complete story, from the British Journal of Photography here.