Thursday, February 12, 2009

Police, camera, action

So our cops are getting cameras. The timing couldn't be better. From Monday 16 February 2009, a police officer could arrest you under anti Terrorism laws for photographing them.

This yields a huge irony. They can film you, but after Sunday try to film or photograph them and you could end up having a very bad day.

It's not just police officers. Armed forces personnel and spies are covered too.

Technically, it could mean that at Remembrance Day marches, the Great North Run or any other events where police officers and/or armed forces personnel may be in attendance, photographers are fair game for the cops with cameras. Photographing the army recruitment van at the Sunderland Air Show or on King Street could get you your collar felt.

Given that the identity of those in the intelligence services is secret, you could photograph one of our spooks and not even know it. But publishing an image of them could technically land you in clink.

I'm sick of using the phrase 'police state'. It sounds paranoid, overwrought and emotive, but I can't think of a better term for what our government has taken us into. We've seen similar laws, like the Protection from Harassment Act, worded so vaguely that they can be used and abused by the police time and again.

This needs to be reversed. No government or police force should have these kind of powers.

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