BBC NEWS | Magazine | Innocent photographer or terrorist?

I’ll be writing to my MP to request support of the cited motion…

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Innocent photographer or terrorist?

Misplaced fears about terror, privacy and child protection are preventing amateur photographers from enjoying their hobby, say campaigners.

Phil Smith thought ex-EastEnder Letitia Dean turning on the Christmas lights in Ipswich would make a good snap for his collection.

The 49-year-old started by firing off a few shots of the warm-up act on stage. But before the main attraction showed up, Mr Smith was challenged by a police officer who asked if he had a licence for the camera.

After explaining he didn’t need one, he was taken down a side-street for a formal “stop and search”, then asked to delete the photos and ordered not take any more. So he slunk home with his camera.

“People were still taking photos with mobile phones and pocket cameras, so maybe it was because mine looked like a professional camera with a flash on top,” he says.

“I wasn’t very pleased because I was taken through the crowd and through the barriers at the front and people were probably thinking ‘I wonder what he was doing.’

“To be pulled out of a crowd is very daunting and I wasn’t aware of my rights.

“It’s a sad state of affairs today if an amateur photographer can’t stand in the street taking photographs.”

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