• "Thanks for protecting us from photos!"

Gatwick Armed Policeman Cartoon

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I was attempting to fly from Gatwick to Cork with a friend on the day UK police arrested suspected potential plane bombers. Whilst we were queueing, I got my camera out. I was trying to take a photo of two guys in front of me with an armed policeman in between in the background. (It totally didn't work, the guys were moving around too much. Stay still, people!) My memory of the rest isn't particularly clear, but, roughly:

The officer in question clocked me doing this, and came over. He asked me if it was digital, and whether I'd taken a photo of him. I answered yes to both, showed him the photo (and the other 6 photos, not involving him, when asked), and asked if he'd like me to delete it. He asked me to delete it, which I did. I believe I asked him if there was a restriction on taking photos. I wasn't very clear, from what he said, exactly what the situation was. He said that if I'd asked his permission to take his photo, it would probably have been okay. He said it was "security". He said there was a general restriction on taking photographs in airports. I apologise if I'm mis-reporting what he said, as I really wasn't very clear on it, and I wasn't keen to ask any more questions because he didn't seem too happpy, and he had a very large gun. I used to live 10 minutes walk from Stockwell tube. Accidents happen.

Anyway, once he'd left and I'd put the camera away, I thought I'd draw him a little cartoon. I planned to give it to him if our flight fell through, which it did, but unfortunately I was then concentrating on getting my friend to Cork for her brother's wedding. But, if you're the officer in question, I hope you like it.

Four things I'm still not clear on, though.

1. Which law says I can't take a photo of a policeman?

2. Which law says I can't take a photo in an airport?

3. How does stopping people from taking photographs help prevent terrorist atttacks?

4. Is there a law that says I can't draw a cartoon of a policeman?

I'm genuinely interested in answers; I don't believe the officer objected to my photography without a reason. I'd just like to know what the reasons are, so that I can get on-board with them.

P.S. I really suck at drawing, don't I?

  1. gdargaud 93 months ago | reply

    See this discussion about the right to photograph public servants while they work...

  2. pauldwaite 93 months ago | reply

    Many thanks gdargaud, very interesting.

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