UK anti-photo law beginning to show its ugly side

Carlos Miller

UK anti-photo law beginning to show its ugly side.

It’s been two months since the United Kingdom made it illegal to photograph cops in public, so it’s not surprising that photographers are being detained as terrorists.

This week alone, the British press reported on two separate incidents in London.

In the first incident, a 62-year-old man was detained after photographing a police car driving erratically on a North London park pedestrian trail, according to the Daily Mail.

Malcolm Sleath, who is chairman of his park society, took a photo because he was annoyed that police were tearing up the grass with their tires, rather than parking the car and walking across the park.

The 62-year-old management consultant said: ‘It was coming a public footpath and leaving tyre marks everywhere and making people move out of the way.
‘They are supposed to park and investigate things on foot, so I wanted to show the picture to the sergeant.

Police supervisors ended up apologizing to Sleath and acknowledging that the officers should have been on foot.

In the second incident, a pair of tourists were ordered to delete their photos because they had photographed transportation-related structures.

Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris were visiting London from Vienna and taking pictures of the sites, including the double-decker buses.

The architectural aficionados were especially intrigued by the Vauxhall bus station with its unique design, but that is what got them in trouble, according to The Guardian.

Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was “strictly forbidden”. The policemen also recorded the pair’s details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.

They were forced to delete their images and return home empty-handed.

In a telephone interview from his home in Vienna, Matka said: “I’ve never had these experiences anywhere, never in the world, not even in Communist countries.”

But all is not lost. If Matkza really wants a photo of the Vauxhall bus station, all he has to do is go on Google Maps and get an immediate street view of the unique bus station.


War on Photography