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TT

Photography and the law in Scotland

Sorry if this question has already been asked, I've tried but can't find any reference to it on the board.

What I want to know is, what exactly is the law with regard to taking photos/videos in a public place in Scotland.

The reason I ask is that I was taking a video of the pond at Knightswood Park being cleaned yesterday, when I was approached by a woman who  asked me why I was taking photos, informed me that what I was doing was illegal, and that I had "been reported", whatever that means.

I told her that it was none of her business why I was taking photos, and that what I was doing was perfectly legal, since the park was a public place.


The question is - was I right?
Alycidon

PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE LAW

if your on a public right of way - such as a public pavement, footpath or public highway - your free to take photographs for personal and commercial use so long as your not causing an obstruction to other users or falling foul of anti-Terrorism laws or even the Official Secrets Act.  Property owners have no right to stop people taking photos of their buildings, so long as the photographer is standing in a public place (e.g. the road outside).  It is also not an infringement of copyright to "take photographs of buildings, scultures and works of artistic craftmanship that are permanently situated in a public place or in premises that are open to the public, except that in Scotland you are not permitted to take photographs of the County Court Buildings".  However, if your standing on private property and the landowner/occupier objects, then they have every right to request that you stop immediately and ask you to leave if you refuse.

Members of the public and media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.

There's nothing stopping you taking pictures of people in public places within reason and photographers are free to use their photographs of people taken in public places as they wish - including for commercial gain.  There are no laws against taking photos of children, but someone taking an unhealthy interest can rightly expect to attract unwelcome attention from the authorities.  If someone distressed or bereaved asks the police to stop the media recording them, the request can be passed on to the media, but not enforced.

Police Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are of a kind, which could be used in connection with terrorism.  Officers also have the power to seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism.  Officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film at any point during a search.  Deletion or destruction may only take place following seizure if there is a lawful power (such as a court order) that permits such deletion or destruction.

Any oficer making an arrest under Section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000 covering the offence of eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of the armed forces, intelligence services or police, must be able to demonstrate a reasonable suspicion that the information was, by its very nature, designed to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.  It would ordinarily be unlawful to use section 58A to arrest people photographing police officers in the course of normal policing activities, including protests because there would not normally be grounds for suspecting that the photographs were being taken to provide assistance to a terrorist.  An arrest would only be lawful if an arresting officer had a reasonable suspicion that the photographs were being taken in order to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

source http://www.standrewsphotographicsociety.com/id90.html

On certain areas, eg railway stations, there are slightly different rules, the Network Rail position is as follows

Photography
You can take photographs at stations provided you do not sell them. However, you are not allowed to take photographs of security related equipment, such as CCTV cameras.

Flash photography on platforms is not allowed at any time. It can distract train drivers & train despatch staff and so is potentially very dangerous.

Tripod legs must be kept away from platform edges and behind the yellow lines. On busy stations, you may not be allowed to use a tripod because it could be a dangerous obstruction to passengers
cybers

On the last note its also a good idea to inform station managers of your presence as it pre-empts any sting they might feel like mounting Like Quoting the terrorism act at you which none of them seem to know the relevant section and when pressed usually just walk away in the huff.

If they are aware of your presence they generally are quite happy to let you snap away.
Hawick_1987

cybers wrote:
On the last note its also a good idea to inform station managers of your presence as it pre-empts any sting they might feel like mounting Like Quoting the terrorism act at you which none of them seem to know the relevant section and when pressed usually just walk away in the huff.

If they are aware of your presence they generally are quite happy to let you snap away.


I have a wonderful image of you confusing the Station Manager at Queen Street in my head now...  
cybers

Not me i fecking hate trains ...Railways etc etc .... Old boy was a Train guy (Employee) and he hated trainspotters almost as much as i hate trains.

Actually meant to ask Fjord if the siding at Rannoch is still in use for fishing... Hate that too  
TT

Thanks for that info, Alycidon.
norrie

Hi Alycidon, interesting, perhaps it should be shown to the folk who object to us taking photos
cybers

norrie wrote:
Hi Alycidon, interesting, perhaps it should be shown to the folk who object to us taking photos


They are that ignorant of the imaginary law they are trying to enforce that no matter what you say or evidence to the contrary that you produce is surplus to requirements.
norrie

Hi Cybers, yes I have met a few folk who tried to stop me taking photos but they have been few and far between
Funny thing, three of them were at the Hydro and the new car park across from it, as you can see it didn't stop me, well apart from getting into the car park to take shots
Windlaw Boy

Interesting information Alycidon on what has become a dodgy pastime for some. Have you any piccies of that old Me110 that crashed up there in your neck of the woods?  My wife and I were in Brussels during the Summer. She wanted to take pictures of the EU parliament building. A multilingual security guard came running up telling her not to take pictures. A man and his wife and two kids were about quarter of a mile away. (Perhaps a little nearer) Our coach driver told us if you argue with them, they will call the Belgian coppers who will lift you. I think the world has gone mad myself. I have no time for that EU mob and so headed off to find a Eurobog before boarding the bus. Some Glasgow librarians go bananas if they see you with a camera. I was told nobody adult or otherwise was to have there picture taken. I have been here long enough to have seen the changes taking place in our society and they are not all for the better. I must go now because this makes me really angry.
skintobalinto

cybers wrote:
On the last note its also a good idea to inform station managers of your presence as it pre-empts any sting they might feel like mounting Like Quoting the terrorism act at you which none of them seem to know the relevant section and when pressed usually just walk away in the huff.

If they are aware of your presence they generally are quite happy to let you snap away.


I can confirm this, I asked to be able to photograph in Central a couple of months back and they could not have been more helpful. As long as you arrange it with them they give you a Visitor badge and tell you the do's and don't s about flash, tripods etc.
norrie

Hi skintobalinto, thats good to hear, if I had know it was that easy, I would have taken the shots I did ,without feeling guilty
Hawick_1987

norrie wrote:
Hi skintobalinto, thats good to hear, if I had know it was that easy, I would have taken the shots I did ,without feeling guilty


Absolutely Norrie, I feel as if I'm setting up a drug drop or something. Honestly, the attention you get off the BTP is unreal!
cybers

Just make the station manager aware and bypass BTP altogether. Let him deal with them.

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