Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Humberside Police Seizure

More 'civil liberty' stuff:

A Humberside Police spokeswoman said: "Camera film was seized by Humberside Police following complaints from members of the public about photos being taken in the area of the Prospect Centre.

"Any person who appears to be taking photos in a covert manner should expect to be stopped and spoken to by police to enquire into what their business is.

"Humberside Police would expect other officers within the force to act in the same manner if given a similar situation.

"Following a thorough investigation into complaints made to Humberside Police it has found the police officers acted in a right and proper manner.

"It would be inappropriate to discuss the detail of the complaint as this is a private matter between the complainant and Humberside Police."

Full story at BBC News

Additional quotes from Mr Carroll via amateurphotographer.co.uk

'All the shots were of people. I took shots of people crossing the road, the Big Issue seller, two youths drinking from beer cans, people walking in the street and so on,' said Carroll who told us he was making his first attempt at 'street photography'.
He admits a few of his shots were taken candidly, adding: 'I did not take any photographs of children. I took most of the photographs openly, not trying to disguise the fact that I was photographing.'
Humberside Police seized two films containing the shots Carroll had taken. At the time of writing they had yet to return the films to the photographer.


The Stop/Search record form issued by the police states the reason for the stop as 'obtaining photos of poss [sic] sensitive material', according to a copy of the form supplied to us by the photographer.


'At about 1.45pm, just after entering Boots store I was stopped by two police officers… They asked me to follow them back out to Prospect Street as they wanted to question me about 'the way I had been using my camera'.

There's a copy of the police form on the site.

I used to work in Hull years ago. I can't think of anything "sensitive" there. In point of fact, if it has become a standard British town centre, then the polis can just check the myriads of CCTV footage that will exist on Mr Carroll. Much easier to seize someone's personal possessions and search them to see if they have photos of building security systems (a box on a wall) or times and uniforms of security vans (memory and the Internet).

One wonders if the same would have happened if the photographer had been using digital footage. Obviously real criminals use film. Then send it to be developed and have another chance of it being seen. Or have a lab full of chemicals. This is turning into an episode of "The Sweeney".


Thanks to AT for the heads up on this, and, yes, TrekkingBritain's been in my bolxroll for ages. Just puts me off even going into town with the dSLR.


Pablo said...

This is interesting. The form shows that the chap was stopped (Stop and Account) and not searched (Stop and Search) therefore he could only have given up the film voluntarily even though police "speak" is to say it was seized. I doubt whether the polis would have had the power to seize it otherwise, because the guy wasn't suspected of committing any offences that would have warranted a search.
Having said that, people are a little nervous about being photographed and he should really have asked permission IMHO, which really puts paid to candid shots.
People seem to trust the fact that only authorised pesons can view CCTV. Hah! But rest assured, there's no offence of taking photos in a public place...yet!
Right. I'm off to the woods.