Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


OFFICIAL Following a prolonged campaign, including a series of demonstrations by photographers dealt with by Police Officers and PCSOs, the Metropolitan Police was forced to issue updated legal advice which now confirms that ‘Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel’ and that ‘The power to stop and search someone under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 no longer exists.

HDW “This has sprung from a video published on You Tube about a chap who was photographing at a police incident and the policeman in charge took exception by taking his camera off him asking him to delete his photographs. My comment on Facebook was posted before I got the OFFICIAL line on the subject. ” I think you will find a crime scene is different and the officer was in his rights and very patient with this chap who was clearly not from the press.”


“Policeman takes the camera and asks to delete the pictures”

Alister Chapman on Facebook ” The problem is this is becoming common place. The law is very clear. ANYONE, press or public can take whatever photographs they want in the vast majority of public areas (exception being military installations and a few other specific areas of national security) . The police cannot make you delete images, they cannot confiscate your camera unless you are under arrest and they have absolutely no right to prevent you from taking pictures provided you are not within a crime scene. It does not matter whether you are in the media or not, the law is the same. There are now so many cases of the police using anti-terror laws to prevent the media and public from taking photos and videos that they are perfectly entitled to take that the issue has been raised in Parliament. It is nothing other than harassment. The police officer states so many incorrect things as law. The area the photographer was in was clearly still being used as a right of way, the crime scene tapes had been removed (they are in the policeman’s hand). The photographer did nothing wrong. He was being harassed by the police officer. If you or I or any other member of the public had a bad day, became emotional and then started taking that stress out on a police officer or another member of the public we would probably end up arrested. What if this person was/is not in the media, just a passer by taking a few photos? The police DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to take his camera and tell him to delete the images period. That’s the law and it’s very clear. Under UK law, the only thing the police officer can do is ask the person to leave the crime scene area. Is this how we should expect to be treated by the police when we have done nothing wrong? Sorry, I don’t care if the guy had a bad day, the law is the law, it does not change if you are have had a bad day.

Den Lennie on Facebook “I think anyone who is not a professional should re-read what Jonathan Webb wrote – The guy was being a dick and I don’t mean the copper… Why on earth give it ‘I’m not at liberty to reveal whether I’m press or not…. absolute bullshit. Regardless of whether or not the copper was factually correct, he was still in charge of a crime scene ( I believe someone was killed shortly before) RE-READ what JONATHAN WEBB wrote ” I think most people commenting on Youtube have missed the point completely, I have been a freelance News cameraman for over 20 years in Australia, Firstly, when approached by police at any crime scene, you identify yourself as Media, END OF STORY. This person in my opinion refused to state what he was doing there. Serves him right I say. No wonder The Old Bill was wound up. IF he would have told him he was media and said to the police officer, if you need any crime scene images let me know, I think he acted un-professional in my opinion. It has nothing to do whether the police told him to delete images or seize his camera or even arrest him. IT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IN THE FIRST 5 SECONDS of talking to the police initially. Just my thoughts ” I completely agree….** sadly yet another example of social media jumping on a half story without all the facts**

HDW “After searching online Alister Chapman is 100% correct on this one…you can take photographs or film an incident as long as you are on the right side of the blue and white tape and you do not need to be a member of the press. A number of recent high profile street incidents have been captured on phones and video camcorders and without that damming footage the police would not have had as strong a case.

I also agree with Den if this chap had be more sensible he could have de-fused the situation in the first 5 seconds had he been a bit less like a child…pushing the issue over the red line as many small children do.

What about the policeman…I think he was very keyed up and saw this chancer who he knew was not from the press but went way over the top, his better course of action would have been to tell this chap to move on. There was no excuse if this was a crime scene in letting the public enter Tesco, no one should have been allowed near the scene.

Here is the footage see whet you think…


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

One thought on “Photography, filming and the law

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.