Phototerrorism in the UK

Attacking a police oficer II
At last week’s Free Education protest, London.
Image © Josh Jones.

6th Mar, 2009: A new law has been passed which allows UK police to arrest individuals for photographing police officers, and confiscate their equipment. Section 76, introduced this year, makes it illegal for anyone to take or distribute photographs of Police or armed forces ‘which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.

This comes as alarming news in the context of the UK police force’s abuse of anti-terror laws every year since 2001. In Brighton, Sussex police enacted a widespread suppression of a peaceful protest, using anti-terrorism laws to make arrests.

The laws also allow police to further suppress democratic journalism. Last year, Somerset & Avon police had to apologise for the the violent arrest of a plumber who photographed a police van going the wrong way up a one way street. Now, such an apology would not be necessary, and the onus would be on the plumber to prove that he was not going to use the image for terrorist purposes.

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