Should it be illegal to film or photograph police officers?

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19 Oct 2012 10:42 by EOS_IAN Star rating in Valencia. 488 posts Send private message

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Since the recent protests and marches in Spain and accusations of police brutality by protestors, endless videos and photos hit the press showing police reacting in a particularly aggressive way. Although these pictures and videos are extracts and no-one knows what happened before or after so it is difficult to judge the situation, which I imagine is a very complicated situation for the Police in general. Although Amnesty International is calling for an investigation.

However the recent intent and it looks like it will go ahead, is the law that will forbid anyone from photgraphing or filming police officers while they are working. What are your views on this? How will they control it ? Especially as tv channels will keep giving live coverage of many events where police are actually working? Is it just an attempt to try and control bad publicity and just a waste of time?

 

 


This message was last edited by EOS_IAN on 19/10/2012.

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19 Oct 2012 13:02 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

How bizarre.  I don't see how they can implement that law at all (I hadn't heard anything about it, but then I'm a bit more out of touch than usual, being back in the UK).  I've already expressed some of my views on that venerable group of (mostly) men.  I'm sure they'd love to be above the law.  So, if they're breaking into their own storage units grabbing 7 million euros' worth of drugs to sell, if someone takes a photograph of them or videos it it would presumably be inadmissable in court.  Great.



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19 Oct 2012 13:15 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

As a former police officer in the UK,  I personally could not have cared less if I had been filmed/photographer doing ,my job.

I am pretty sure that would also apply to most UK officers and probably to the Spanish too.

Contrary to some people's view, who seem to take weird pleasure in criticising the police anywhere, but of course expect then to come running when they have a problem, police officers in general have joined the service to assist and help the public.

Instead of a law on banning photos I think more determined action against those libelling  them would be a better approach.
 

And in passing:   Who investigates and arrests dishonest police officers ?   Yep, thats right, police officers.





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19 Oct 2012 13:43 by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

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 Not up with the law in UK, either.  Since 16th Feb 2009, since the Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act came into force,  It permits the arrest of anyone found "eliciting, publishing or communicating information" relating to members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers.

That means anyone taking a picture of one of those people could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years

That is, though, only if a link to terrorism or organised crime can be proved.  There have been several cases in UK where people have been stopped taking photographs or mobile phone footage of the police.  Indeed, equipment has even been confiscated although later returned (minus photos, of course).  

Several states in the USA have already made it illegal to record police activity.

In France, you have to have a permit to record or photograph police and is normally only issued to member of the Press. 

Looks like Orwell was quite correct, just got the year wrong.

 





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19 Oct 2012 13:53 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

In terms of libelling police officers I presume one is referring to the journalists who reported the coincidence of the annual incidents of storage units being broken into with millions of euros' worth of drugs... when the police were supposed to be guarding them, in addition to the regular reports of police caught drug dealing throughout Spain.

I once had reason to ask the police for help in Spain, when my son, who was aged about 9 at the time kept getting his face smashed in by the larger and older bullies of the village.  I asked if it could be arranged for a police officer to address the school on the issue of bullying and bodily harm.  As I pointed out to him, if three people had set upon me in the street and beaten me up they could be faced with a prison sentence; so why was it less serious when it was happening to my son.  He did nothing.



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19 Oct 2012 14:15 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

Eggcup, if you think the cap fits !!!!  

 

 

 

 





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19 Oct 2012 17:24 by Abyss_Rover Star rating in Mallorca. 72 posts Send private message

Should it be illegal to film or photograph police officers?

NO, if they have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong.



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19 Oct 2012 17:30 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

Abyss I think maybe you mis-typed your post.

 

I would have said that the police should filmed, especially if they have something to hide.





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19 Oct 2012 17:34 by Abyss_Rover Star rating in Mallorca. 72 posts Send private message

I don't think so.

 

The original pos was:

Should it be illegal to film or photograph police officers?

My reply was:

NO, if they have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong.

 

It should not be illegal to film the police who are carrying out their responsibilities in a correct manner. "If they have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong.".

 

In my opinion.



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19 Oct 2012 18:07 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

 

So do you mean that is they are doing something wrong or illegal, one should not be allowed to film them ??
 

I am an ex police officer and believe bent cops should be nicked

 





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19 Oct 2012 18:34 by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

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Here is the story as published by El Pais today...

http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/10/18/inenglish/1350588780_276075.htm

The twisted way that I see it is that seemingly the police have the right to film you but your rights to film them are severly curtailed.

Who will watch the watchers...

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19 Oct 2012 18:41 by manxmonkey Star rating in Channel Islands. 81 posts Send private message

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Bobaol - That means anyone taking a picture of one of those people could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years

No that won't happen. This is a law to protect officers from having their whereabouts, or even family addresses etc. communicated and to be fair it is intended to protect them from malicious intent rather than someone saying, “Bob is having a birthday party on his return from ‘ghan at his flat on Brightside”

However as for protecting everyday police activity from being filmed or photographed that is what extreme states dream of, Franco would have that law in place today were he here as do the Chinese authorities.  Thank goodness it’s not in place in the UK or the death of  Ian Tomlinson in 2009 by known thug PC Simon Harwood would not have come to light and Rodney King’s brutal attackers would also have just carried on regardless. I think it’s important that people show respect to the police and the police are allowed to defend themselves but it’s also important that the police know there is a possibility they are being watched by both big brother and the public and they should stick to keeping within the boundaries of their training.   Yes, occasionally they have to leave their top of the range cars or lift their butts from the ergonomically designed over-priced seats in their oh so comfortable “offices” and do what we laughingly call “police work”, on those rare occasions they should behave within the law or we are on the verge of anarchy.





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19 Oct 2012 22:54 by llegaralasestrellas Star rating in United Kingdom (BHX .... 58 posts Send private message

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Given that this law is about to be passed just after the police have got themselves pubicly shamed accross Europe when filmed by civlians and shown to be beating the crap out of protestors, one can exactly how this law is intended to be used.

The right to film on-duty police is the best protection for the public against police brutality. Indeed, the freedom to openly record on-duty police activites for lawful purposes should be legislated for and protected at the European level.

 

 





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19 Oct 2012 23:33 by MANXMONKEY Star rating in Channel Islands. 81 posts Send private message

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Indeed, the freedom to openly record on-duty police activites for lawful purposes should be legislated for and protected at the European level.

 

Brilliant. This should be something to lobby for.  It's a simple way of helping the police and the government of any country to see that things are being taken care of in the way we'd like our mothers or daughters to be treated. And it would protect the police from wrongful accusations.  So how do we go about implementing this? Who do we lobby to?





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20 Oct 2012 05:56 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

Good discussion of this here:

www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/aug/31/do-we-have-right-to-film-police

As others have said, it is virtually the only real protection protesters (in particular) have against police brutality. As the police themseves are always pointing out... if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. That should also apply to them. Of course... they don't think that at all:

endthelie.com/2012/07/01/nypd-labels-people-professional-agitators-for-filming-police/#axzz29oMD0gKC

It is vitally important that restrictive, repressive laws of the kind suggested are strongly resisted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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20 Oct 2012 11:34 by jimmi Star rating. 8 posts Send private message

Much as i understand why the officials don't want the world to see some of the disgraceful scenes of brutality shown recently, there is a bigger picture here. How would the authors feel about being flmed constantly at their place of work without permission? There is no doubt there are people ut there who do everything they can to get a reaction from Police and then film this. Is this right? Not sure what the answer is here, i do have some sympathy for anyone subject to constant intrusion, no matterwhat their occupation.





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20 Oct 2012 11:44 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

I would certainly object to being filmed going about my private business on private property. That would be highly instrusive. In fact, I believe the massve expansion of CCTV and tracking technologies such as number plate recognition and (recently) automatic face recogniton in the UK is a massive threat to privacy and civil liberties. It tends to suffer "mission creep". It starts off with the claimed intent of hunting down terrorists, but ends up being used to fine people for putting their bin out too early! Just look at the use (or abuse) of RIPA powers.

However,  if I was a public servant in a public place, that is a totally different situation. The public would be paying me, and the public have an absolute right to see how I carry out my duties. Being filmed cuts both ways too. It could be useful if I was wrongly accused of something. In short, no objection at all to that. It protects both sides.





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20 Oct 2012 11:57 by jimmi Star rating. 8 posts Send private message

How far can one push the 'public servant' argument though? Does this mean all teachers, community workers, sub contractors to councils, medics, traffic wardens, bin men, hospital staff etc etc should accept that anyone can film them as they are public servants?

As i've said, i do understand the need to cature wrongdoing on camera, but just how far does this go? What's to stop losers with a grudge against public servants following them around, filming their everymove? Would this be ok? Should filming be limited to parades/demonstrations? 





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20 Oct 2012 13:05 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

What's to stop losers with a grudge against public servants following them around, filming their every move ?

In the UK, and I would think in Spain, there are ample laws to restrict that sort of behaviour. 


 





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20 Oct 2012 15:27 by llegaralasestrellas Star rating in United Kingdom (BHX .... 58 posts Send private message

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Jimmi:

I do understand where you are coming from with your point, but there are several points that must be raised. Firstly, the police are different to other public servants in that they can and do use the powers of force, restraint and detention against civilians. Your average municipal beureaucrat doesn't carry a gun and wear body armour as part of their day job. The police officer has far greater power to immediately and severely violate the rights of the public, in a manner which is physcial. Recording the act is one of the few ways the civilian can defend against this. Whilst a beureaucrat can violate ones rights, it is generally done in an administrative way and is thus best tackled not with a  camera, but by methods such as taking copies of doucmentary evidence such as emails.

Secondly, why should the police officer have special protection? Why can he film the civilian both inside and outside work, without his knowledge or consent, yet have his own actions protected from any form of scruitiny that they themselves do not directly control?

Finally, it is worth noting that most of us are recorded in the workplace, and paticularly in cases where abuse of an official position is a real possibility - including people like prison wardens and medical staff in mental health units.

Manxmonkey:

In the first instance, the best person to contact would be your local MEP. It is something I would like to be involved in myself, though I am not sure how much time I could devote to it - doing my finals this year!

 

 





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