Very exceptional circumstances

Recently a Home Office spokesman said that the new provisions in the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 would only be used in “very exceptional circumstances“, which has of course been claimed before for various bits of legislation that have subsequently, and to little surprise, been used in very unexceptional circumstances. However this does reinforce the idea that this (and probably most any other) government are quite happy to bring in legislation to deal with “exceptional circumstances” before such circumstances arise. Then there’s the continual attempts to bring in 42 day detention with out trial, just in case it’s needed at some indeterminate point in the future. So it would seem that pre-emptive legislation is somewhat à la Mode, and it really doesn’t matter if it’s already illegal, duplicate legislation is quite OK.
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Photographers not terrorists

A photographer not a terrorist

A photographer not a terrorist

Well it seems todays “media event” went swimmingly. Sadly I couldn’t make it but a friend did, so photo’s here. Apparently you’ll be glad to hear that we’re all very silly as this wonderful new law will only ever be used in “very exceptional circumstances“. Past experience doesn’t tend to support this, but at least when it is used we’ll all have nice shiny new benchmarks as to what “very exceptional circumstances” actually are. In the meantime even the Metropolitan Police Federation think this law is a bad idea.

Other reports and responses to this new law and the media event can be found from:

A serving officer comments on the Devils Kitchen that neither they nor their colleagues would have even been aware of this law brought in for their protection if not for the fuss blogs caused about it.

ScepticIsle also has a very good take on the whole situation (also see commentary by Stumbling and Mumbling), also HangBitch and Beau Bo D’Or.

Finally arising from this new regime is the delightful dailypolicephoto.

As an after thought, one has to wonder what the effect of abuses of this law will have the next time the police make calls for photographs from members of the public after some incident or other. Leg Iron suspects not.

A day of fun and photography

Whilst I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this isn’t already aware of it, this Monday the 16th of February it will become illegal to elicit or attempt to elicit information about the armed forces, security forces or constabulary that is useful or likely to be useful to people committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.

Given the horrendously broad scope this wording allows and the well documented dislike our police force have for people taking their photo’s or in fact any photo’s at all (whilst being increasingly keen on taking ours), this had been widely interpreted as being likely to cause grave difficulties for photographers of all kinds. So the National Union of Journalists have organized an event in association with Mark Thomas. Note this is not a demo it’s just a media event, because demo’s also aren’t popular, so “No riots, no army, no fighting, no slogans”.
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