First it was Terrorism, Now it’s Supercars

Bystanders using phones to photograph Supercars on Regent Street. Photo © Pete Maclaine.

Photography has been a hobby or a job for someone since 1827. Now the photographer is not only viewed as suspicious but encouraging perceived anti-social behaviour.

This time the apparent anti-social behavior takes the form of car enthusiasts who like to show off their ‘Supercars’ in and around London, with Knightsbridge being a major attraction.

The pastime has attracted car spotters to the area, who then take pictures of the vehicles they admire for their collections. All seems innocent enough for the car spotter with his or her camera, until the police step in.

Police are blaming photographers for encouraging the Supercar enthusiasts to congregate in Knightsbridge. So much so that police are issuing dispersal orders to photographers taking pictures of the cars. Once again the buck has been passed to the photographer.

One enthusiast known only as Dean was issued with a Police Dispersal Order under Section 35 ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and claims to have been threatened with arrest if he returned to the area within 48 hours.

This is akin to blaming photographers who take pictures of graffiti for encouraging vandalism. Following this logic, photographers, photojournalists and people with camera phones could be asked to disperse from any area on the whim of a police officer or PCSO who blames the photographer for attracting a host of anti-social or criminal behaviour. Effectively banning photography from an entire area.

This is an attempt to ban photography from a public space by the back door using a Dispersal Order. There are no laws against photography in public places. If you can see it from a public space, you can snap it. That includes supercars, crappy cars or even police cars.

We at PHNAT will leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not noisy supercars are the latest anti-social tragedy to strike our cities, but we are deeply concerned that photographers are being dispersed and threatened with arrest for taking pictures of whatever they choose to in a public place.

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2 comments

  1. I am not a photographer but I know a few, to me it seems that some police don’t like photographers because they may feel the photo taken may be used against them for any wrong decisions they may be making in that split second it takes by the amateur or professional photographer to take the photo of interest at that time.

    What has happened to the “Freedom of the Press” for professional photographers?

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  2. Let me see if I understand what’s happening in Knightsbridge. Photographers gather there pointing their cameras at nothing in particular. Then these people with expensive cars, who would not usually go to Knightsbridge, all trundle along there and try and drive their cars in front of the cameras just a the photographer presses the shutter release. Well of course they should ban the photographers. I bet some of these drivers only buy the cars to take part in this car-photo-bombing game.

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