UK police photo ban

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Anyone taking a photograph of a police officer in the UK could now be deemed to have committed a criminal offence.

New laws have been introduced in the UK that allow for the arrest – and imprisonment – of anyone who takes pictures of police officers 'likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'. The Counter–Terrorism Act 2008 became law on 16 February 2009 and amends the Terrorism Act 2000 regarding offences relating to information about members of armed forces, a member of the intelligence services, or a police officer. The new set of rules, under section 76 of the 2008 Act and section 58A of the 2000 Act, will target anyone who 'elicits or attempts to elicit information about (members of armed forces) . . . which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'. A person found guilty of this offence could be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years, and to a fine. According to the BBC in the UK, the law has angered photographers, both professional and amateur, who fear it could exacerbate the harassment they already sometimes face. A group gathered outside the UK police headquarters at New Scotland Yard in London in mid–February for a " mass picture–taking session" in protest. The event was organised by the National Union of Journalists, the trade body for media in the UK. It insists the right to take pictures in public places is " a precious freedom" that must be safeguarded.

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