Fellow readers, let me share with you a guilty secret I have been hiding al this time. I am apparently a law breaker. You see, a couple of months ago, I took some photos of Vauxhall bus station, as part of the series of Crossings along the Thames. Here is the offending photograph again, in all its glory.
But I was lucky, the pigs were on their doughnut and tea break. Not so lucky for Klaus and Lorris" who were also in Vauxhall and also Walthamstow. Go on, read the article, it is bloody hilarious, it is almost an April Fool's joke, only 17 days too late. Yep, that's right, a pair of Austrian tourists were bullied by a couple of piggies at Walthamstow (obviously it must have been a quiet day in terms of crime in E17) and were told to delete the contents of their camera. Not surprising, they do not want to return to the UK and I say to them, don't bother.
I think the comments from the article were some of the best I have seen in a long while and here are a few of them, just because they were priceless:
This was a comment from the same article, and I want to quote it in full as I pretty much agree with what has been said here (the reader logged in as 'arturopimiento'):
'Unbelievable. Five years of total war with Germany, London being showered with high-explosives night after night, 25 years of IRA bombs exploding in London-these didn't break London's spirit or turn the police into terror-crazed martinets, soiling themselves with fear and suspicion at anyone with a camera or holding a sign.
When did the police become chronically deranged by fear? When they're not shooting innocent Brazilian electricians in the head or beating innocent men to the ground (leading to said man's subsequent death) or slapping and clubbing women in the street, they're terrorising tourists and dragging this country's reputation down into a totalitarian gutter.
The police are out of control and of course, as with virtually everything else that has gone catastrophically wrong with this country, the scum that are New Labour are to blame.
The incessant fear-mongering- tanks at the airport, reports of threats that never materialise, the most spyed-upon nation on earth, more oppressive powers demanded-and all these things cynically used in an attempt to distract the populace from the fact that we are governed by the seediest, most corrupt, most inept, most mendacious regime in living memory...
We desperately need root and branch reform-of the entire system. It's broken beyond repair. The state and its apparatus have become enemies of the people. If we don't act soon, it may well be too late.'
That pretty much sums up what the MET like to get upto on town.
Oh, and this comment was also a classic (posted by wheelsofire):
'I fear that the leadership of the Met have simply got the wring end of the stick. (Oh,sorry, I mean the peace-loving gentle-men of the police have simply misunderstood. Or misheard.
It was meant to be a War on Terrorism, not a War on Tourism. Maybe someone should explain it to them. Ideally before 2012.'
If nothing, then wit still abounds.
And remember, if one of those guys come up to you, then here are a couple of choice quotes for you to throw back at them (again from the comment section of the article):
'The Association of Chief Police Officers has released statements several times to the effect that police officers have no authority to delete or confiscate photographs without a court order. If the police are unwiling or unable to listen to their own bosses, we are all completely f**ked'.
and there is this one:
'Remember, no police officer or PCSO has the right to make you delete an image from a digital camera. If they think you have committed an offence then the image is evidence.'
but most importantly, here is some legal backing for all the photo happy Londoners out there:
The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.
If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered. Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film. Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them.
Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained staff for forensic examination. The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.
Osama must be laughing in his cave right now...