He was a well known photographer in London who spent many hours taking pictures of the area around Elephant & Castle. He was regularly seen photographing an sketching scenes from the neighborhood, but to authorities, one can never be too careful when it comes to dealing with terrorism. As Reuben Powell describes the scene: “the car skidded to a halt like something out of Starsky & Hutch and this officer jumped out very dramatically and said, ‘what are you doing?’ I told him that I was photographing the building and he said he was going to search me under the Anti-Terrorism Act.” Mr. Powell wound up being handcuffed, brought to a police station, and had DNA samples taken before he was placed in a cell.
It appears that taking photographs in a public area, particularly one in which a police station might be seen in the photo is a serious crime because it subjects police officials to having their stations known to terrorists. Police cite Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, 2000, to justify harassing photographers who dare to take pictures in public. We live in strange times when a photographer can be hauled off to jail for taking pictures of a wedding that happen to show police pushing members of a crowd.
I am certain al-Qaeda has a well armed brigade of photographers who can wield a camera with the best of the British army.