Thursday 5 February 2009

National Photograph a Policeman Day - Feb 15th

On 16th February section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act of 2008 comes into force. From that day on, it will not be legal for anyone to take a photo of a police person without prior permission. The possible sentence is up to 10 years in prison. I propose therefore that we hold a National Photograph A Policeman day on 15th Feb, the last day on which it will be legal to do so.

I had the idea while reading the ever noteworthy Yorksher Gob (the middle item of this post). It is clear that other people were having the idea at the same time, so I don't want to claim credit for it, I just think it will be a very good way to signal, legally, our disquiet at this government's stealthy snipping away of our rights and liberties.

Now, a couple of caveats. The Yorksher Gob says it's Feb 12th, but other sources say Feb 16th. I think it's clear that it's Feb 16th, but after trying to read the various bits of this extraordinarily arcane piece of legislation and the gummage of statutory instruments that go with it, I have assorted migraines, brain seizure and the like. If anyone can correct me on this, or confirm it, I will be grateful.

The relevant bit is brings the following into the remit of the Terrorism Act of 12000:

A person commits an offence who—
(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—
(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,
which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
publishes or communicates any such information."

And that includes taking photographs.

So I plan to be out oc the streets, or maybe at events of some kind (it's a Sunday) finding police personnel, asking their permission (I think it's very important that this activity should be conducted both legally and politely), and then publishing the results - not sure where yet. Any ideas?

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