Photographers targeted under anti-terror laws

Police are stopping more London photographers from taking photographs under the anti-terror laws than ever before, it was reported this week. Among the victims is Reuben Powell, a white, middle-aged, middle-class artist, who has been photographing and drawing life around the capital’s Elephant & Castle for 25 years, was arrested last week. Photographing the old HMSO print works close to the local police station was an security risk, he was told. “The car skidded to a halt like something out of Starsky & Hutch and this officer jumped out very dramatically and said ‘what are you doing?’ I told him I was photographing the building and he said he was going to search me under the Anti-Terrorism Act,” he reportedly recalled. He was only let out after being locked up in a cell for five hours following the intervention of the local MP, Simon Hughes. By then he had had his genetic material stored permanently on the DNA database. Powell’s stoppage is down to Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 along with over-eager officials who believe that photography in a public area is somehow against the law.

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