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Blog Posted in avatar   Matthew Hartley's Blog

To film or not to film

By Matthew Hartley
Posted Jul 1, 2012 in Politics
I watched the film clip below with a great deal of amusement. Over the last couple of years I have encountered so many of situations highlighted in the film, from both security guards, and from the police.
I must admit that on many occasions I have been unsure of the law myself. My indecision often exacerbated when the police et al wheel out 'stock' responses, such as 'acting suspiciously', 'private property', and the old favourite, 'anti-terror legislation' , which is always guaranteed to make people think twice about standing their ground.
Earlier this year I filmed a protest outside a bank in Liverpool. A security manager came out and told me that it was 'highly' illegal to photograph a bank as I may be planning to commit a robbery, and that he had called the police. I did tell the gentleman that filming anything in a public place was perfectly legal, yet he seemed arrogantly confident of his position, which made me question mine even more.
When the police arrived they were less than interested in my photographs and more interested in the fact that I had encroached two inches onto the private part of a twenty foot wide pavement, and may be causing an obstruction.
The security manager was seething when he was advised that I had not broken any laws. I pointed out to him that if I was planning on robbing the bank I would not come and take pictures of said bank, instead I would use the comprehensive range of pictures of the bank that were available on the company website. He was not amused to say the least.
This is just a brief snippet of information regarding the law on filming or taking photographs in public areas.
It is also worth mentioning that just because a photographer may operate within the law it does not mean that the Police do. Please see the following film clip:

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