[NetBehaviour] Has our increasingly paranoid society declared war on the humble 'weekend snapper'?

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Aug 25 02:49:09 CEST 2008

Has our increasingly paranoid society declared war on the humble 
'weekend snapper'?

An amateur photographer is chased by the police after taking pictures on 
the seafront; another man is frogmarched away when using his camera in a 
town centre. Since when did carrying a camera in public provoke so much 
suspicion and hostility? Sam Delaney reports.

"When Graham Rigg heard the wailing sirens and saw the flashing blue 
lights of the police car in his rear-view mirror he pulled over to let 
it pass. But when it performed a spectacular handbrake turn beside him, 
hemming his vehicle in, he realised it was him they were after. His mind 
raced: was it something about his driving? Was his tax disc out of date? 
Even if it was, why were the police hunting him down so dramatically? An 
officer got out of the car and called out to Rigg: 'Switch off your 
engine and get out of the car slowly.' The traffic on the South Shields 
one-way system slowed to a crawl as drivers watched the spectacle. 'I 
felt like some sort of terrorist,' Rigg remembers. Had the war on terror 
really come to this ordinarily quiet North-Eastern town? And if it had, 
why was this 51-year-old father and Neighbourhood Watch chairman its 
latest target? As Rigg tentatively approached the police officer, the 
picture started to become slightly clearer. 'They told me to get my 
equipment out of the boot,' he tells me. 'They somehow knew I had a 
camera and they wanted to look at my pictures.'"


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