Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Photography and the law – and the Jobsworth

Digital SLR cameraThankfully, one of things that the Freedom of Information Act, and possibly the recent changes in policy that have seen Government data released into the public domain, is the fairly low incidence of problems between photographers and the law in Scotland, and the generalisation that this is largely an English problem, and one that can be further narrowed down to London town, and the Met Police.

However, it would also seem that the law is being made a fool of, and misused by that most wonderful group of individuals, the Jobsworths, who are such insignificant little cowardly creeps, the only way they can get any pleasure is by making others suffer by abusing their positions. We’ve all come across them, and even though they might never actually use the words “It’s more than my job’s worth…”, it’s never long before you know that regardless of whatever you may want to do, and regardless of whether they have the right to stop you, they will stand firm on their interpretation of the whatever rules they have access to, right or wrong.

This was brought home in an item covered by Law in Action, the BBC’s Radio 4 magazine programme about the law, which has been presented by Joshua Rozenberg, and who returned recently: BBC – Radio 4 Blog: Photography and the Law

In this particular programme, Rozenberg accompanied an architectural photographer around London, complete with radio crew. The photographer had written the script, predicting that private security guards would order a stop to the photography, even though it was taking place from the public footpath (and they’d be taking pictures using CCTV). A failure to comply would be followed by the police being called, and the photographer (and anyone assisting) could then expect to be searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and police officers could inspect the pictures recorded on the camera.

After all that – unless those concerned were actually found to be terrorists – they would then be free to carry on taking pictures for as long as they liked.

As will be learned if you listen to the programme, the expected intervention occurred, and after everything was over, the police later assure Rozenberg that the law was not being broken.

That the predicted script was followed did not come as a surprise.

That the police used Section 44, but found that no law was being broken was also no surprise.

What did come as a surprise, and continues to do so, is the fact that the real cause of many of these incidents is not the police – who generally attract the adverse publicity and criticism – but the greasy little Jobsworths that call them.

One has to assume that they have done so on previous occasions, and with the same result, so why do they do it?

Is it an attempt to do something to look ‘big’, and show someone that they have not only private security guards under their control, but the police? Are they pathetic little people who have nothing better to do, and can only achieve satisfaction by abusing their positions of apparent authority?

Rather than more reports of the police being called to act under Section 44 (and let’s not forget Section 43 in passing), isn’t it time we saw the beginning of reports regarding prosecution or fines for those Jobsworth types that call them with no real cause or justification?

A few such cases where the individual concerned is fined, fired, or cautioned (for ‘wasting police time’ or possibly more correctly ‘interfering with police investigations’, or similar, I think) might lead to general improvement in this situation, and a reduction in stories regarding the abuse of this Act in relation to photographers.

The police are the ones that are traditionally made to look bad when these stories are repeated, but this has gone on for so long without correction, it may now be time to target the real culprits – the people that call them… with no real justification other than to prove they can (and make their day while they waste someone else’s as a result).


June 27, 2010 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | 7 Comments

Coastguard footage of Spinningdale wreck on St Kilda

Rescue helicopterWhile I was hunting for some unrelated material regarding the Coastguard, I chanced upon some footage they had placed online regarding the removal of the Spinningdale wreck from the shoreline of St Kilda.

The incident was almost amusing, had the reality not been so sad, and brought the usual crop of ‘Doomsday Nuts’ out of the woodwork, with tales of ecological disaster and ruination of St Kilda as a result of this accident, as if the unfortunate occurrence of wrecks on the shores of St Kilda was not itself a natural (though no less undesirable) event, and something that has been happening – and no doubt will continue to happen – for decades to come.

The footage is not solely confined to coverage of the wreck, and there are some shots of the remains of the village and the bay. And for helicopter fans, the departure and arrival of the Coastguard’s helicopter for the crew.

Spinningdale wreck on St Kilda – 23 July 2009 – MCA footage

June 27, 2010 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime | , , , | Leave a comment


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