Time and time and time and time again the message is sent out.
You cannot do this.
Time and time and time and time again this message is ignored.
Two stories today.
Firstly the NUJ report that a photographer has again, amazingly, been threatened with arrest by the Met Police for taking photos in public, and was made, quite unlawfully, to delete the images she had taken.
How many times do they have to be told? You cannot do this. It is illegal. If a police officer is incapable of acting within the law, then he/she should be sacked. Possibly prosecuted. It is the one message that ACPO send out which is actually correct and desirable.
It may be irksome, it may be inconvenient. But you cannot prevent people from taking photographs in a public area, or arbitrarily destroy the images that have been taken just because you don't like it.
This is not how the police in a civilised, free society act.
I support the police, but fuck me, they make it difficult to justify that support sometimes.
Stupid, thoughtless and unilateral acts like this do nothing but stir up resentment and mistrust.
And if it isn't the police, it's the local council.
If you or I were to break the law, we'd be arrested and probably locked up. Well, that's not true, if we put a brick through someone's window, or knocked a granny off her electric buggy we'd suffer no penalty at all. If we didn't pay our council tax or TV licence, then it would be land of the stripy sunshine.
Is anyone going to lose their job over this? Anyone going to be locked up for a shocking episode of overbearing surveillance?
The bloke on the front line might, but the chap who authorised the operation will probably get out unscathed.
Not good enough.
Actions like these are incitement to civil disobedience.