This happened to me a little while back but it still makes my blood boil. I am fundamentally hacked off with coppers that don’t know the law. I was with two other snappers, a reporter and a motor biker on a job in a village in Sussex. So three cars and a motorbike in a village where they probably only ever see two cars a day, yet alone a convoy. We were doing a reccy prior to waiting for our target to show up and whilst we could have probably been a little more discrete, the place were the target was due to appear was opposite the village pub.
I am parked up near the pub; the other tog across the T-junction with the motor biker and the reporter is sitting in the front of my jeep. I am squirreled away in the back of the jeep. Some busybody calls the old bill and they turn up, firstly a WPC on her own and then a PC five minutes later. They are shown ID and told that what we are doing, without giving any names away. The WPC says, “You can’t do that!”
Which I rather forcefully explain, “Yes we can, it is what we do, we can photograph whoever we like in a public space and there is nothing you can do about it.” At which point she gets defensive and says that if we were to photograph her without her knowing about it she would sue us. To which I inform her, that had we done it without her knowing about it, how the hell could she sue us?
In the end I started to loose my rag, we were five minutes from the target arriving and this stupid bint was wasting time, I told her that she had seen our ID, had the vehicle registration details checked and there was no offence being committed so should she go and do some real police work instead of wasting time here.
She didn’t like that much, and then explained that because of the “Sussex Police’s Victim Charter” she had to go and explain the situation to the victim. She liked it even less when I explained that there wasn’t a victim as there had been no offence committed against any person or property. She still maintained that she had to chat to the person who made the 999 call. She still couldn’t see that there wasn’t a victim and that if the person had seen us then made the three 9s call, then they would have seen the old bill arrive, talk to us and leave, what is the need for any explanation.
In the end I talked to the PC because this stupid WPC (a sweaty sock, obviously didn’t want to work somewhere difficult like Glasgow and would rather be in the English countryside where nothing ever happens) just couldn’t understand. He was a little more amenable and persuade the stupid bitch to just leave. Anyway the police cars pull out and with seconds to spare the target arrived.
Another example of Coppers knowing nothing occurred shortly after the 7/07 bombings (I still thing that it sounds better to say seven-ohh-seven, rather than seven-seven) at Warren Street Tube, some knob of a PC tried to tell me that I could only take photographs from inside the Press Pen. I explained to him that it was bollox and that if the press pen had been put somewhere sensible then I would gladly take photos from the “pen” however as it was further away than I was able to get access as a member of the public it was pointless.
He subsequently threatened me with arrest under the Public Order Act, I told him that if he was OK to leave the place that he was posted, guarding a potential crime scene, frog march me to a van and do the paperwork then he should do it. He decided to piss of and stand where his senior officer had told him to stand.