In what I can only view as troubling and a move surely to invite more backlash against photographers, London's Metropolitan police has launched a new counter-terrorism PR campaign complete with anti-photography propaganda.
The campaign is meant to encourage people to turn in "odd" seeming people that they see taking photographs.
"Thousands of people take photos every day," reads their advertisement being run in London's major newspapers. "What if one of them seems odd?"
Having personally been harassed in the past by the U.S. police while out shooting, I worry that this kind of a campaign will result in even more harassment for photographers going forward. In addition to police harassment, I think that this campaign also sends the wrong message to people about photographers and photography. I think it encourages people to think suspiciously of photographers and to add to the climate of fear associated with photography.
Photography is not a crime. Taking photographs is part of a rich tradition of art, social commentary and historical documentation. I'm very disappointed seeing London's Metropolitan Police decide to take this course of action and worry that this sort of backward thinking will continue to spread the boogeyman myth that photographers and photography are the enemy when they very much are not.
Having people report "odd seeming" photographers will only take important police time away from ways that it could better be spent in really fighting crime and terrorism.
On boing boing here.