Fancy getting your camera out this Bank Holiday weekend? Best be careful who you point it at.
For instance, don’t go taking snaps of unmarked police cars. This was the mistake made by amateur photographer David Gates, who photographed a Police BMW parked illegally at a bus stop in Portsmouth, Hants. Before you could say “Cheese!”, the Police were on him and asking questions under the Terror Act 2000.
Then there’s the sorry tale of Andrew Carter, who spotted a police van ignoring no-entry signs to reverse up a one-way street to reach a chip shop, and felt it was his public duty as a citizen to record both the van and the officer involved, PC Farooq.
For his pains, Mr Carter was abused, had his camera knocked to the ground, arrested, bundled into the van and finally held in police cells for five hours.
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Then there’s the recent survey released by the ATL, which reveals that while teachers are pretty cool about using CCTV to spy on their pupils – even in the toilet – they are a little worried about the appalling notion that the same cameras could be turned on them in the classroom.
How very odd. As a society, it is widely acknowledged that we are (one of) the most observed in the world. At present, Britain boasts 4.2 million cameras – that’s one for every 14 people – or allegedly one-fifth of the CCTV cameras on the planet. It is estimated that you are likely to be caught on camera on average 300 times a day. The total number of cameras is predicted to double (to 8.6 million) by 2018.