Sunday, July 23, 2017

Know Your Rights When Faced With Stroppy Compliance Or Police Officers.

    

The police/TfL Compliance are fully aware that the public have the right to record them on duty. 

However this doesn’t stop many of them from using threats, intimidation and even assault until innocent members of the public shut off their cameras.

What should you do if you wish to record the police but they become hostile and threatening?

Here is our comprehensive and updated guide on your right to record the police…


DO I NEED THE POLICE OFFICER'S OR COMPLIANCE OFFICER'S PERMISSION TO RECORD OR PHOTOGRAPH THEM?

No. In fact, you don’t require ANY member of the public’s permission to record or film then in a public place. 

If this were the case, then Paparazzi wouldn’t exist.

There is no law that says you cannot record someone in public without their permission (or a permit). 

The same rules apply to everyone including security guards, traffic wardens, bailiffs, the emergency services etc. If you are in public (or in your home) you have a right to record whomever you choose.

DO I NEED TO GIVE THE POLICE/TfL CO A REASON WHY I AM FILMING THEM?

If your approached and asked why you are filming, you are NOT obliged to answer them. A

You do not have to tell them who you are or what you are doing. 

However, most officers will take this an automatic affront to their authority and possibly use it as a reason to abuse you further.

If you are asked by the police or TfL why you are filming you can give any number of reasonable replies, such as:
“I’m just exercising my right to record in public.”
“It’s for my own personal records”
“It’s for everybody’s protection”

Either way, it pays to be discreet and non-intrusive when recording anyone who might protest.

CAN THE POLICE DEMAND TO SEE THE CONTENTS OF MY DEVICE AND DELETE ANY OF THE INFORMATION?

No they cannot. They would need a warrant under RIPA 

(Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

to access the contents of your device – and would have to arrest you and seize the device to obtain one.

If any officer asks to see what you have recorded tell them that they have no authority and if they wish to examine the device they should obtain the necessary warrant.

Any officer attempting to delete recordings or photographs from a device is committing a criminal offence, as this constitutes the destruction of evidence.

 

THE POLICE SAY IF I DON’T STOP FILMING THEY CAN SEIZE MY CAMERA FOR EVIDENTIAL PURPOSES, IS THIS TRUE?

Although in some instances the police can seize items that contain useful evidence there has to be a justifiable reason for doing so.  

A police officer cannot seize your camera under this power simply because you refuse to stop filming. Refusing to abide by an unlawful command that is made by a police officer is not a criminal offence. 

Therefore any attempt to seize your camera as a result would be malicious and the officer could be liable for a charge of misconduct.

TfL compliance have no right to seize your personal property under any circumstance 

 

WHAT IF THE POLICE PUT THEIR HANDS ON ME OR MY CAMERA TO MAKE ME STOP?

Any member of the police service or public servant that physically grabs at you or your camera in an attempt to stop you filming could be liable to a charge of assault. This also includes members of the public. 

Anyone that threatens or intimidates you into putting away your camera could be liable to a charge of harassment. 

If a police officer forces you to stop recording against your will, and you are not under arrest, then take a note of the officers collar number and make an official complaint of misconduct to their relevant Professional Standards Department.

Unfortunately, too many people in authority believe they have an automatic right of entitlement over the public. Paramedics, PCSOs, security guards and other state employees can become extremely aggressive and hostile when a member of the public records them. Although they are in the wrong for doing so it still pays to be discreet, reasonable and cautious when recording people who may suddenly become a physical risk to you at that moment.


AM I INFRINGING ANYONE’S RIGHTS BY RECORDING THEM?

The British Police are public servants and should expect to be placed under scrutiny. However police officers – and members of the public – commonly make outlandish claims of breached rights when they protest to being recorded.

Do these people object to the thousands of CCTV cameras that scrutinise us daily, without our permission or knowledge? No. And yet there is no difference between you filming out on the street and local authorities recording us all with CCTV; except for the fact you won’t have to apply to the authorities for a copy of a video you have recorded yourself.

If you hear an officer complaining that you are “infringing their human rights”, “acting suspicious” or “harassing them”, don’t let it intimidate you into switching off your camera. A police officer claiming he is being harassed whilst performing his duties is like a dustman complaining of a bad smell.

  

THE POLICE TELL ME IF I DON’T STOP FILMING THEY CAN ARREST ME FOR A PUBLIC ORDER OFFENCE, IS THIS TRUE?

The Public Order Act is the most abused piece of legislation in the UK when it comes to the police forcing people to comply with unlawful commands. And unfortunately too many officers think that ‘talking back’ is an arrestable offence, by way of breach of the peace or anti social behaviour laws. 

Any police officer that uses threat of arrest as a means to intimidate, punish or force you to comply with them is acting unlawfully.

As long as you are not behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would deem as anti-social or a public nuisance then the police have no cause to arrest you for filming in a public place against their will.

 

WHAT IF THEY THREATEN ME WITH ARREST FOR OBSTRUCTION, INTIMIDATION OR HARASSMENT?

Again, as long as you are not obstructing an officer from performing his duties, blocking a public right of way, following people against their will or just generally causing a disturbance, then the police have no grounds to move you on.

A common tactic used by police is to claim that ‘members of the public’ have been complaining and feeling intimidated. If the police make such a claim you should ask them for the incident number that was logged when members of the public called in. The police are required to give it to you when asked.

If they do not, you can be certain the police are lying. Make a note of their collar numbers and complain, or at the very least insist that you will make a complaint if they do not leave you alone.

IS THERE ANY OFFICIAL POLICY ON THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO RECORD THE POLICE?

Yes. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued an ‘all forces’ memo which lays out guidelines to officers on the rights of members of the public to record them. 

Should you find yourself in a situation where the police argue against your right, then use this letter as your trump card.

Remember, the general rule with the police is that they expect people to be ignorant of the law and to automatically switch off their cameras when told to.

DON’T MAKE IT YOU.


9 comments:

Alan Wicker said...

over 20 years ago (before Iphones etc) copper told me when he saw me get out my camera to film a crash that they were dealing with:

Delete what you've just taken, otherwise I'll charge you with, A Brech of the Peace!

Editorial said...

As I've said in the article, some PCs/COs may challenge you when you record an interview.
But Know your rights!

You are covered by the same legislation as the police, who may use body cameras to record their interview
We have had this confirmed by the Met.

But if you don't want tontake my word for this, pop in to any police station (if you can find one still open) and ask for yourself.

Jason Clauson said...

i am a retired PC and a GB. Whereas I agree wholeheartedly with the points in the article its wrong to lable all PCs {I dont speak for COs as I have no knowledge of their training and attitude in general }as someone who would argue or object to filming. Same as I would not lable all GBs as rude and obnoxious as some I have encountered. I was filmed very many times doing my job. The only time I objected was when a man leaned over me to film as I attempted to stop the blood from a motorcyclists who had lost his lower leg in a collision I think youll all agree that was unacceptable behaviour. But I also had caameras shoved in my face regularly and asked the filmer to ensure they also recorded their own unreasonable behaviour as well as my own correct behaviour. Most coppers wear bodyworn cameras today and as I always encouraged the public to do .. complain if you feel hard done by. But not all coppers are rude and incompetent as it may suggest above. The matter today is about CO's being rude/unlawful in their actions rather than a whole load of coppers stopping Cabs for nothing or am i missing something out n about at work every day?
Insurance companies have always advised you to take photos of your crash.
Similarly taking photos of other peoples crashes is a little sad imo.
I also stopped a driving instructor once filming a crash as HE drove by a serious collision scene. You can imagine what i said & did.
If we as a trade behave proffessionally and politely i dont see an issue and enough complaints about COs overstepping the mark will win through .. as will the complaints about individual PCs not doing their job well. The rest need not be feared or mistrusted.

Anonymous said...


I have heard of the police using the UK Terrorism Acts to stop people filming and taking still pictures.

Jason Clauson said...

If a person is seen photographing a sensitive gvt / military site overly intensely it can be suspected of whats called hostile reconassaince. However a few snaps of this n that is not an offence. Sticking a camera over/under/through an MOD fence however is a diff matter. Lots of training for PCs in recent yrs on this so shouldnt be an issue nowdays

Editorial said...

Hi Jason.
You're getting a bit off the issue here mate.
The posts I've made over the weekend have been in regards to a TfL CO who lied saying "you are not photographing my authority card, as it would be a contravention of the regulations". A blatant lie
Then, another CO said that he did not have an ID authorisation card and that his badge was "all you needed to see".
Another blatant lie.

To be fair, no cabby would want to film over or under an MOD fence.

This issue is purely aimed at the belligerent and aggressive attitude of some COs and one MPS cab enforcement officer (more to come soon about him).

Jason Clauson said...

Appreciate that mate ... just answered the comment below mine re Terrorism to clarify the position there. As far as i can see there are a lot of COs completelty unprepaired for interaction with those they are here to work with.
Always enjoy the blog either way.

Jason Clauson said...

Look fwd to the stuff abt the Met officer letting the side

Anonymous said...

Nobody has a right to privacy in a public place, least of all public servants. You may film or take pictures of anything or anyone in public as long as you do not cause 'harassment, alarm or distress' which could constitutes a breach of the peace and/or anti social behaviour. If you are on foot you dont have to provide your details to anyone apart from a police officer who has reasonable suspicion that you have committed a criminal offence.
Forward and rear facing cameras in cabs are ok since you are recording public space. If you have a camera that records your passengers then I believe you have to register under the Data Protection Act; if the camera belongs to your insurance company then you are covered because the insurer will be registered.