A funny story involving me, an old lady and a police officer

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Cheesy_DSLR_Man, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Cheesy_DSLR_Man

    Cheesy_DSLR_Man TPF Noob!

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    So then i was in my local town in the U.K taking photos and i decided i would do some macro shots of a pay phone keypad. There is a reason behind that, it was for a college project. So i go into the phone box, pull my camera out of my camera bag and start firing some shots off. There i am just taking some photos, next thing i notice, an old lady is talking to 2 police officers and pointing towards me. So i continue shooting acting like i never notice but before i know it the police are standing outside the phone box and asking me to step out to ask me questions. Yeah that's fine but then the officer asks me to walk him through what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and so on. He then grabs my camera and try's to turn it out (just pressing random buttons) eventually when he gets it on, he ends up standing for 5 minutes searching through all 261 photos on my camera. Only 20 or so of them photos were of the phone box the rest were landscapes and such. Once he finished that he wanted to check my camera bag, checking all the compartments. Then he started to say something about gangs and asking if i was taking photos for gangs so they could do over the phone box, by this point i was lost in what he was going on about. Finally about 10 minutes after this all started he was satisfied i wasn't a gang member, terrorist or anything of a treat to the public and let me go. That was all because of an old lady calling the cops on me for taking photos of a telephone keypad. I'm not sure on the legal issues of officers and photographers but I'm sure they don't have he authority to handle my camera equipment without permission. Why is it that if you are a teenager (18 for me) you must be doing something illegal even with a camera in your hands?
     
  2. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    I don't know about the UK, but here, you have the right to refuse, especially in circumstances such as that.

    Also, be sure to check out paragraphs.
     
  3. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    It's unfortunate, man. I wouldn't have known what to do in that case -- except maybe offer to operate the camera for the officer (yikes! I would not want someone randomly pawing buttons and maybe even dropping my equipment!).

    While I agree that (in the US), one could have refused to deal with the officers, there are plenty of stories about that leading to more formal legal problems. It's sad but true. I think you did the best you could.

    On the upside, perhaps the officers now know that not everyone with a camera is bad! Did you explain (hopefully cheerfully) about your project? That could have been some good promotion, for your school and "good kids" in general.
     
  4. Tayfun

    Tayfun TPF Noob!

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    Yeah funny but a little ridiculous;
    The police should not handle your camera without the permission. I guess the police thought that a teenager would not resist to that.
     
  5. SlimPaul

    SlimPaul TPF Noob!

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    It's a little disappointing. If I were you, the police officers would have a hard time, as I would report them. There's no way they could touch my camera.
     
  6. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The truth is.... if you co-operate with the police, the whole process last for 10 minutes. If you NOT co-operate with the police, it maybe 30 mins or even longer ...
     
  7. leighthal

    leighthal TPF Noob!

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    Kind of funny in hindsight I bet. If you are doing nothing wrong--- co-operate. What's it going to hurt? The cops are just doing their job. I'd rather they investigate a "suspicious" scene and find nothing than if they went meh, whatever.
     
  8. SlimPaul

    SlimPaul TPF Noob!

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    It might hurt someone's schedule. Not everyone has a limitless amount of free time.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    1) he (and you for that matter) are not allowed to turn the camera off/on once contact is made - new laws on that

    2) intersetingly police cannot demand review of photos without a warrent. They can request and unless you have a lot of free time on your hands (and nothing better to do) its best to just agree and let them look at them.

    Also in a contact like this get the name and number of the policeman, he should not be grabbing your camera and then pressing random buttons! Whilst you walked away from the contact with no problems the officer needs some redirection on how to deal with photographers.

    seriously he must be joking! I mean crime might be organised, but the amount of planning that goes into doing over a phone booth by streetkids is done about 5 seconds before doing it (and its mostly choosing which window to break in first)
     
  10. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I think that is crap, you have the right to refuse. They may ask what you were doing, you can answer them, then be on your way.
     
  11. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Police hates Photographers, photographers hate police. lol. Get one of those t-shirts that Jerry has. It sais "I'm a photographer, not a terrorist" lol
     
  12. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can do what you want. The bottomline is, they can stop you and question you and wasting your time.

    And please understand that, most of the police are just doing their job. I know not all of them are good.
     

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