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.

J20 Six: Drop The Charges


Six journalists face 10 years in prison in America, for covering the unrest during the Disrupt J20 protests against the inauguration of President Trump on Friday 20 January in Washington DC.

I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) campaign group is outraged by this direct attack on press freedom and calls on President Trump to immediately drop the charges against the #J20six. (more…)

Police Scotland Want to Seize Your Phone

London, UK. 14 November, 2015. Metropolitan Police Officers stand guard as thousands gather in Trafalgar Square for a candlelit vigil in solidarity with the victims of last night's terrorists attacks in Paris.

Metropolitan Police at Paris Attack Candlelit Vigil. London. © Pete Maclaine.

I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) is seriously concerned by reports that Police Scotland intends to “seize phones if officers are filmed whilst on duty”, according to the Daily Record.

PHNAT is worried by the apparent conflation of the lawful act of recording police officers with an unrelated offence of obstruction, which can be committed whether using a cameraphone or not. (more…)

Sussex Police Apologise for Detaining Journalists


Sussex Police have apologised to NUJ members that were stopped and searched on when they were travelling to work in Brighton to cover a far right demonstration on Sunday 21 April 2013.

Seven journalists, two of whom are PHNAT organisers, were subjected to a search for offensive weapons under Section 60AA of the Public Order Act and Section 60 of the Terrorism Act, which Sussex police later claimed was a mistake.

The NUJ challenged the police and argued there had been an unlawful use of the legislation to detain and search journalists. (more…)

Don’t Shoot, I’m A Photographer Not a Terrorist!

Image © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

Image © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

PHNAT are disturbed by the Metropolitan Police’s reaction to a press release from Jason Knauf, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Communications Secretary.

Kensington Palace has focused on the alleged harassment and surveillance of Prince George and Princess Charlotte by ‘paparazzi photographers,’ a sweeping generalisation of photographers often used by the Royals. (more…)