London's burning

It’d be far too easy for me to slip into some sort of polemic about the current rioting in London; I live in this city and love it. I’m just a few minutes’ cycle from where there were fires and looting in Walthamstow last night and the circling of the police helicopters has been keeping us awake. One of the streets that I use when I cycle home from the City is currently closed. But this is a photography news site, and there are a couple of photography-type things relative to these riots to report.

If you’re in London or close by and are tempted to go down and photograph what is going on, please bear in mind that the police are at liberty to seize your camera – not just your memory card – if they believe that you have evidence within your photographs that could be valuable to them. It’s not about trying to prevent you from taking photos, it’s about trying to catch criminals. If you’re press, it is much harder for them to do this as it runs contrary to having a free and fair press, but even this has recently been overruled in the courts in certain circumstances.

As for why they want your camera, not just the memory card, it’s to do with sequencing the images and verifying the dates and times they were taken, otherwise they would be useless as evidence. Haje explains it in more depth here.

And it should go without saying that you must be careful. This isn’t just a few people having a bit of a barney. This is a violent and angry mob. The police are in riot gear and the police horses are out in force.

Reporters from the Mail on Sunday were beaten and had their gear stolen yesterday. On Saturday, reporters from the BBC and Sky News were forced to withdraw after they came under attack.

Me? I’m staying at home and painting my toe nails.