Saturday, 12 December 2009

Hey, stupid! Camera = WMD?

© Steve Bell/The Guardian

I'm saving the best for last in this post, so here we go: This is totally getting out of hand. The ACPO issued a letter to their staff last week stating that photographers should no longer be persecuted. The big question is: has this worked out on the ground? In short, no.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

I like the fact that the guy in 'Exhibit A' used film and therefore the ill informed officers were unable to see a preview of the images he had taken. Is that the solution if you want to take a photo in public; go old school on their Metropolitan asses?

The big point for me is that the police seems to have forgotten what they are there to do, namely catch criminals. That differs quite wildly from incriminating anybody with a camera, i.e. anyone with a mobile phone, which equates to pretty much every single person on the street, tourist, casual or professional. Are the police underused? Have we got a case of too many officers on the payroll without doing any proper work? Could this be the source of this police obsession with cameras?

In the recent case of Grant Smith, who took pictures of a church near to the Bank of America, where four police units, some of them armed, responded to a person with a camera doing his job. Surely it would have been much more beneficial to society if police actually would have gone inside the premises of the bank to see what the employees were up to?

Detailed view of Westminster as seen on Google Street Maps.

Its been said before, but I doubt very much the idea that criminals intent on doing some serious recon would use a full DSLR setup. Personally I would stick to Google's Street Maps.

© Steve Bell/The Guardian

Last time I looked, the powers fighting terrorists were branded MI5 and MI6. Somehow our friendly neighbourhood officers seems to have overdosed on Spooks and decided that the chosen weapon of mass destruction is a camera.

A plainclothes officer covers the camera of Guardian journalist Paul Lewis.© Paul Lewis/The Guardian

If you are interested in disturbing video evidence of the Kafka-esque society in which we live today, look no further. It really is frightening.

Marc Vallee has a comment piece here.

Even The Daily Mail has raised the issue here.

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