Andy Trotter: The threat is real, but police must show common sense

Comment

Share
Related Topics

Protecting the public from harm and allowing them to go about their normal daily business with the minimum of intrusion can be a fine balancing act and it is inevitable that police officers will not always get it right. But it is important that we remind ourselves why we use these powers. The terrorist threat is still very real and as long as a renewed attack is a strong possibility we all need to remain vigilant, not only the police but the public too.

Having said that, everyone – photographers, members of the media and the general public – has a right to take photographs and film in public places. It's as simple and as clear as that.

Police officers need the public on their side in order to do an effective job. We are here to serve our public and uphold the rights they enjoy in this country. The threat of terrorism is real, particularly in London, and the power to stop and search anyone under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is an important one. That power, however, only applies in specially designated areas and has to be renewed by the Home Secretary every 28 days.

Police can also stop people and ask them to account for their actions, commonly referred to as a stop and account. Officers are then required by law to record details of that encounter, although the person stopped is under no obligation to provide them.

It is the job of police officers to be vigilant, to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour and to act accordingly. Taking photographs, however, is not normally cause for suspicion and there are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place. I would like to see a return to common sense policing where officers feel able to talk to the public and have a conversation with them, without the need to record every detail or draw on police powers.

London in particular is one of the world's top tourist attractions and there must be millions of photographs of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Earlier this year I wrote to chief officers offering clear guidance around use of these powers and emphasising the importance of ensuring it is fully understood. Acpo also held regional seminars around the country to reinforce the message.

British policing is built on consent, proportionality, trust and accountability. 99 times out of 100 engaging with someone on an informal basis will assure officers that whatever they are doing is not suspicious. Then everyone can continue with their normal course of business.

Andy Trotter is chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers Media Advisory Group

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there