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  1. #1

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    Stopped by the police for taking photos!!

    Hi,

    I am quite new into film photography, and enjoy taking pictures ( you know taking time, carefully composing, playing with light, doing photo trips...) in this medium much more than I used to with digital.

    Anyway, this afternoon I was in the car by the Battersea station (London) on Grovernor road around sunset time today. The light was beautiful, and I thought that it would be good to stop by and take some pictures with my new RZ67 and a spot meter that a friend of mine lend me. What I great opportunity, I said to myself to do some zone system experimental shots, which I am new to.

    So, on the river embankment overlooking the power station, I took my tripod and set out to take some pictures.
    After approx. 10 min, a metropolitan police car stopped and the officer started asking me questions on: what I am doing here, what I am photographing, If I was a professional photographer, why I am doing this... I told him I was taking photos for my own pleasure. On his look, he could not comprehend having such a big camera and being a hobbyist and started talking to me with incrudility. Anyway, I had to produce my ID card to one officer while the other was checking the car. Then I was asked if it was the owner, and the other officer started calling on the radio and checking the number plates. Minutes later, they told me that everything was fine and I "COULD" carry on taking shots and left.

    I said to myself OK..., that is weird and why do I have to justify myself. It is not like if I was photographing some sensitive site.
    Ten minute latter, the police came back and said we have a problem: your car insured has run out a week a go. Here is you have a fine of £200 and 6 points. I did not know that my insurance did effectively run out a week ago.
    The point is the systematic criminalisation of the photographer and the implicit permission from the authorities to photograph anything.
    Today, and I genuinely did not know that the insurance had run out, if I did not stop for taking pictures, I would not have been stopped by the police.
    I am not ranting about the insurance thing, but what enrage me is the need to the authority to ask you to explain yourself and its corrupt need to control .
    Anyway, may be I am overreacting because I a newbie photographer and as I gather experience in this field I would get used to it. But hold on!! this is horrible...Is that my destiny!!

    OK, for the sake of the argument, here is a link to the National Policing Improvement Agency on the PRACTICE ADVICE ON STOP AND SEARCH IN RELATION TO TERRORISM:
    http://www.npia.police.uk/en/docs/St...ism_-_2008.pdf
    Have a look at page: 19

    All the best,

    Rant over.

    Mourr

  2. #2

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    but what enrage me is the need to the authority to ask you to explain yourself and its corrupt need to control .

    I don't agree with you, they didn't hassle you from what you say. They have a right to stop and ask you some questions. They stung you for having no insurance, that is their job, if you drive and have an accident with no insurance you are a liability. I wouldn't equate their behaviour with corruption.

    Also you were very close to the MI5 building at Vauxhall, :o

    Yes, I don't think photographers should be hassled by police, security etc. for no apparent reason, but in this instance I don't see what the problem was?

  3. #3
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    They asked you a few questions and went away. That is reasonable. The police are attracted to anyone doing something unusual. Had you been hopping along the embankment on one leg whilst wearing a pirate costume and a plastic parrot and singing the National Anthem they would have approached you: it's their training to investigate the unusual. The fact that they found you had committed an (unrelated) offence is simply evidence to them that it works...

    The important point as far as APUG is concerned is that they did not try to stop you photographing with some BS excuse and allowed you to continue doing so.

    In point of fact you were extremely lucky. They have the power to impound your car for not being insured which will have cost you a minimum of a couple of hundred to reclaim from the pound in addition to the fixed-penalty fine. In fact, I'm AMAZED they didn't. They must have liked you!

  4. #4
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mourr View Post
    Hi,

    I am quite new into film photography, and enjoy taking pictures ( you know taking time, carefully composing, playing with light, doing photo trips...) in this medium much more than I used to with digital.

    Anyway, this afternoon I was in the car by the Battersea station (London) on Grovernor road around sunset time today. The light was beautiful, and I thought that it would be good to stop by and take some pictures with my new RZ67 and a spot meter that a friend of mine lend me. What I great opportunity, I said to myself to do some zone system experimental shots, which I am new to.

    So, on the river embankment overlooking the power station, I took my tripod and set out to take some pictures.
    After approx. 10 min, a metropolitan police car stopped and the officer started asking me questions on: what I am doing here, what I am photographing, If I was a professional photographer, why I am doing this... I told him I was taking photos for my own pleasure. On his look, he could not comprehend having such a big camera and being a hobbyist and started talking to me with incrudility. Anyway, I had to produce my ID card to one officer while the other was checking the car. Then I was asked if it was the owner, and the other officer started calling on the radio and checking the number plates. Minutes later, they told me that everything was fine and I "COULD" carry on taking shots and left.

    I said to myself OK..., that is weird and why do I have to justify myself. It is not like if I was photographing some sensitive site.
    Ten minute latter, the police came back and said we have a problem: your car insured has run out a week a go. Here is you have a fine of £200 and 6 points. I did not know that my insurance did effectively run out a week ago.
    The point is the systematic criminalisation of the photographer and the implicit permission from the authorities to photograph anything.
    Today, and I genuinely did not know that the insurance had run out, if I did not stop for taking pictures, I would not have been stopped by the police.
    I am not ranting about the insurance thing, but what enrage me is the need to the authority to ask you to explain yourself and its corrupt need to control .
    Anyway, may be I am overreacting because I a newbie photographer and as I gather experience in this field I would get used to it. But hold on!! this is horrible...Is that my destiny!!

    OK, for the sake of the argument, here is a link to the National Policing Improvement Agency on the PRACTICE ADVICE ON STOP AND SEARCH IN RELATION TO TERRORISM:
    http://www.npia.police.uk/en/docs/St...ism_-_2008.pdf
    Have a look at page: 19

    All the best,

    Rant over.

    Mourr
    *****
    Well, I understand this story transpired in Britain; still, I read just last week about a increase in gangs with pseudo political motives or splinter-IRA wannabees in and around Belfast. Heightened security around "soft" targets might be in order.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Posts 2 and 3.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Unlike you I have had rougher treatment from UK Police.

    The first time was covering anti-Thatcher student demonstrations for the MUS Newsparer, I photographed two police officers kicking a student, I had my camera opened and the film ripped out & exposed/destroyed.

    The second time wasn't as confrontational but a Special Branch Officer took my films, one in the camera the other already exposed and deliberately fogged them, on that occasion I was photographing in a highly sensitive area, it was the planned Regional seat of Government in the case of Nuclear War, so secret no-one knew, well we did as it was on the Soviet traget list

    Ian

  7. #7

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    I sympathize with your economic pain, but it seems a case of really rotten luck.

    Yeah, if they had not been attracted to your camera, they probably wouldn't have run your plates, but that's pretty much SOP for any police force.

    Tough break.

  8. #8

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    I'm not familiar with English law, but why should the police have the right to ask somebody questions, who had not committed any offense (they posed questions before knowing about the expired insurance)?

    Markus

  9. #9
    DJGainer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Röhling View Post
    I'm not familiar with English law, but why should the police have the right to ask somebody questions, who had not committed any offense (they posed questions before knowing about the expired insurance)?

    Markus

    Pretty standard stuff. In the United States, as long as citizens are free to "go about their business" or "may ignore the police officer's questions and go about their business" the police have not detained or impeded the citizen in any way. So as long as the police officer is doing no more to restrict the movement of a citizen than another non-officer could legally do, there is no issue. After all, they are only asking questions!

  10. #10
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Röhling View Post
    I'm not familiar with English law, but why should the police have the right to ask somebody questions, who had not committed any offense (they posed questions before knowing about the expired insurance)?

    Markus
    Because the UK government are gradually imposing totalitarianism. Compulsory ID cards, all telephone calls, text messages and emails logged, all car journeys tracked, all international travel logged (including travel itineraries in other countries logged), CCTV on all roads and town centres, photographing police officers to be a criminal act (open to individual officers interpretation).

    If you want to live in a free country, don't come to the UK.

    With regards to the OP, they didn't stop you photographing.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

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