Freedom to take pictures crushed

Freedom to take pictures crushed

Freedom to take pictures crushed

First published in Your Views

Thank you for raising issues of photographers’ rights in your recent item in the Guardian showing photographers taking pictures of a bus to highlight that local photographers had been having problems since at least 2009.

Problems for photographers have persisted.

Despite our group sending details to both councillors and officers since 2011 showing the issue of authority figures stopping people from lawfully taking photographs is of concern for members, we have had no feedback from Redbridge council regarding what it has done to prevent its staff and contractors from acting unlawfully.

We have continued to advise council officials of the issues, in the intervening years, including last year contacting Alex Wilson, then Conservative cabinet member for planning and public protection, at Redbridge council.
He failed to respond on the photography issues relevant to his portfolio.

Cllr Wilson, Cllr Kumar, Cllr Patel and Cllr Prince had been at a meeting back in September 2013, at which Redbridge council again attempted to shut a member of the public down from speaking on issues relevant to photography and public freedoms.

The speaker had been confident enough to state that he wished to speak anyway.

Our group asked, and members still want to know, which Redbridge council committee is leisure allowed to be discussed at, as the council had prevented discussion of the topic at Area Committee and attempted to stop it being raised to cabinet.

Cllr Kumar did not respond on the issues falling under his cabinet leisure portfolio.

We had also repeatedly contacted Cllr Patel, who for years was the Liberal cabinet member responsible for safety, which should have included safety of members of the public, including photographers.

We have continued to advise council officials of the issues still to be addressed, including contacting Cllr Prince on the issue repeatedly, after so many members of the public had been supressed from speaking.

Cllr Prince mislead people by his public statement on September 10 2013 that “a policeman has powers – powers to make a judgement – and to ask the person to desist.”

Cllr Prince should have known that the police do not have lawful power to stop lawful photography.

We have also raised such issues around authority figures stopping lawful photography to Cllr Athwal.

We await his response.

Buckingham Road Cemetery and Surroundings
Interest Group.

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