Photography rights campaigners have blasted a US police force which ruled that anyone seen taking pictures devoid of ?esthetic value? are suspicious and must be reported..

Police officers in Long Beach, California, have reportedly been given licence to detain people for capturing images ?with no apparent esthetic value?, according to the force?s chief, Jim McDonnell.

The force is reportedly following guidelines adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department which authorises officers to report as ?suspicious activity? people seen taking ?pictures or video footage (with no apparent esthetic value, i.e. camera angles, security equipment, security personnel, traffic lights, building entrances etc?).

In an interview with the Long Beach Post, McDonnell defended the policy, claiming that Long Beach Police Department officers are able to make a judgement about the aesthetic nature of a subject ?based on their overall training and experience?.

The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has written to McDonnell, voicing its concern ?about the misplaced belief that photography is in itself? a suspicious activity?.

On its website the NPPA adds: ?While the NPPA continues to make efforts nationwide to educate law enforcement leaders that photography is still not illegal and is still protected by First Amendment Rights, there are those who see things differently??

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