Photography - your rights

A few bus enthusiasts have had some experience of hostility by bus drivers, bus station staff, security officers and even the Police. One of our members was recently threatened with arrest for taking a picture of his own bus in a public place!

The law has been rather vague about the rights of photographers, and some enthusiasts have been driven to give up photography altogether. But the July 2009 edition of "BUSES" has a rather interesting article on page 22 about this subject.

The Metropolitan Police have issued written instructions to all Police officers and PCSOs telling them what they can and cannot do when they discover you taking photographs in a public place.

They CAN ask you questions about what you are doing, and it would be sensible to answer them.

They CANNOT tell you to stop taking photographs.

They CANNOT tell you to delete photographs you have already taken.

They CANNOT confiscate your camera, film or memory cards.

If they suspect you of being a terrorist and want to arrest you, they have to take you before a magistrate and produce at least one other piece of evidence as well as that of taking photographs.

They are warned in the instruction that touching your camera without your permission may even be considered an assault.

This has now set a precedent for other police forces to follow. If you are approached by security staff or other "officials", you should stand your ground and insist that they call the Police if they try to contravene the above.

Remember, most terrorists would not stand in public openly taking photographs - but use commonsense. It would not be wise, for example, to stand outside a girls' school wearing a dirty raincoat and taking pictures of the children boarding a school bus, no matter how rare the vehicle happens to be!

Stagecoach North East have even gone as far as issuing this notice to prevent hostility from drivers.


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