Police forces nationwide have been warned that photographers are not legally required to provide their personal details when stopped under anti-terrorism laws.
The reminder was contained in ‘codes of practice’ attached to a warning letter sent to Chief Constables by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) last week.
An ACPO spokeswoman told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘The intention of the [ACPO] letter was to remind officers that there is no criminal offence in taking photographs.’
She added: ‘There was an attachment to the letter, however, that detailed codes of practice, in which this was referred to.’
Though members of the public are not required to give an officer personal details during a ‘stop and search’ or ‘stop and account’, there are fears that refusal will heighten any suspicions an officer already has over a photographer.
The concern was highlighted yesterday when architectural photographer Grant Smith was stopped and searched in central London.
He refused to identify himself to police who then proceeded to search his bag.
Last week, in an interview with AP about stop and account, ACPO spokesman Craig Mackey, Chief Constable of Cumbria Police, said: ‘A member of the public can say ‘thank you officer, I’ve explained why I am here. I don’t want to give any details.”‘
ACPO refused to comment on yesterday’s incident involving Grant Smith, whose plight has now been picked up by Sky News.
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