The talk will be hosted by Stewart Weir who as you may know is a professional photographer, he will be joined by Nick Cloke, who is the media relations head of Sussex police and is very keen to build a strong relationship with the photographic community. There will be a question and answer session to follow.
As ever, Add the Colour proved to be an excellent venue for this event, and an interesting discussion was had. I left before the final Q&A section but gained a lot from the first hour or so.
The evening started with Stewart showing this video:
And then continued with Nick explaining the police perspective, sharing where the police had got it wrong, and right and generally reassuring us that, at least within Sussex, the whole Photographers are Terrorists thing wasn't out of hand as it appears to be in some parts of the country. He explained that part of his job, is to educate the police themselves on what is and isn't against any law, and what photographers are well within their rights to do. Ahead of the recent SmashEDO demonstration he spent time with Police Officers to ensure that they had timely advice and were reminded of the various laws, effectively reminding officers that they shouldn't be doing anything that they wouldn't want to be filmed/photographed.
He also had some advice for us all:
- apply for a journalist press card - as with that there is even less that the Police can dispute. This isn't always easy to get hold of, but is something to work towards
- if you're ever stopped by the police, don't be difficult, be cooperative and polite, but also get the officers details so that you can complain later. Also, don't be afraid to video/audio record your interaction with the Police. There is no law preventing that either.
As I said above, a good and useful evening and Nick did a great job of putting forward a different viewpoint of this challenging and sometimes thorny issue.