Taking photos in public places in London

Posted: December 23, 2008 in london

The Police Community Support Officers (PSCO) in this film are on some kinda of power trip. What a liberty! Watching this video, I now know that I’m free to take photos in public spaces but not in privately owned spaces like Canary Wharf tube station. It seems, however, with the introduction of new terror guidelines on photography are being misinterpreted by the police and certainly power-mad PSCO. In the video, Rajesh Thind, the narrator, says “There are cameras watching us everywhere in the UK. If they’re watching us, can’t we watch back? Why should we, the citizens, not be allowed to film, when we’re being filmed all of the time?”. 100% agree. Earlier today I listened to Stephen Fry’s brilliant podcast on language (essay is here) where he briefly mentions CCTV:

CCTV is such a bland, clumsy, rhythmically null and phonically forgettable word, if you can call it a word, that the swipe lacks real punch.

If one believed in conspiracy theories, you could almost call it genius that there is no more powerful word for the complex and frightening system of electronic surveillance that we lump into that weedy bundle of initials.

For if CCTV was called … I don’t know …. something like SCUNT (Surveillance Camera Universal NeTwork, or whatever) then the acronyms might have passed into our language and its simple denotation would have taken on all the dark connotations which would allow “One nation under scunt” to have much more impact as a resistance slogan than “One nation under CCTV”. “Damn, I was scunted as I walked home,” “they’ve just erected a series of scunts in the street outside,” “Britain is the most scunted country in the world” … etc etc.

I recommend a listen. Anyway, watch this video. The guy is a total jerk and is an example of why PSCOs have a bad press!

  1. […] video that, via a confrontation with a couple of clueless PSCOs, highlighted how police were isinterpreting the terror guidelines on photography. On the 10th of August, I’m a photographer, not a terrorist campaign launched a new […]

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