Austin Mitchell MP supports photographers
Early Day motion tabled in Commons
After my experience the other day following a visit to South Shields Ocean Beach Amusement Park, I am glad to see that certain Members of Parliament are also concerned at the growing culture to frustrate and restrict the ability of photographers to enjoy the hobby, record life as we see it, and provide reportage directly as events happen.
That this House is concerned to encourage the spread and enjoyment of photography as the most genuine and accessible people’s art; deplores the apparent increase in the number of reported incidents in which the police, police community support officers (PCSOs) or wardens attempt to stop street photography and order the deletion of photographs or the confiscation of cards, cameras or film on various specious ground such as claims that some public buildings are strategic or sensitive, that children and adults can only be photographed with their written permission, that photographs of police and PCSOs are illegal, or that photographs may be used by terrorists; points out that photography in public places and streets is not only enjoyable but perfectly legal; regrets all such efforts to stop, discourage or inhibit amateur photographers taking pictures in public places, many of which are in any case festooned with closed circuit television cameras; and urges the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to agree on a photography code for the information of officers on the ground, setting out the public’s right to photograph public places thus allowing photographers to enjoy their hobby without officious interference or unjustified suspicion.
Please note my emphasis.
If CCTV camera operators and monitors are doing their jobs effectively and efficiently, then those people in police control rooms handling calls would be in a far better position to screen out those calls which do not display sufficient evidence of criminal actions or intent, thus resulting in a more effective use of police time and resources.
Seeing as Cabinet ministers by convention cannot append their names to EDMs, it would be nice to see our other South Tyneside MP, Stephen Hepburn, signing this motion as an expression of concern and support for the ordinary Joe in the street, and as a sign that he is prepared to back the fight against over officious regulatory behaviour that we see far too much of these days.
Hat tip to The Green Room