Freedom to Photograph

(PINAC) Photography is Not a Crime

There are still many police, security staff and members of the public that do not understand that photography in a public space is not a crime and does not constitute a breach of the new Data Protection Act 2018, so long as the images are not being used to record, learn or decide something about the individuals in the picture. A 'public space' is defined in Section 33 of the Criminal Justice Act 1972. Whilst there is no legal requirement for snappers to account for their actions or provide any personal details to other members of the public, security staff or the police, I would respectfully suggest that they explain that, whatever they can see, they can snap in a public space as there is no expectation of privacy.

Although trespass on private property in most cases is a civil matter and not a criminal offence, prior permission should be sought to take pictures. However trespassing on 'Protected' sites is a criminal offence and those places are defined in Sections 128-131 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 together with the railways which is governed by Railway Byelaws.

Flying and taking of pictures with drones is governed by The Drone and Model Aircraft Code and in essence if your drone weighs less than 250 grammes you can pretty much fly it anywhere so long as there are no airspace restrictions.


Guidance for the Police Use of Body Worn Video Devises (including stop and account / search)

Section 50, Police Reform Act 2002

Section 5, Public Order Act 1986

Section 68, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

Section 69, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE)

Section 43, Terrorism Act 2000

NPCC, Social Media - Bloggers

Article 10, Freedom of Expression

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Act 2021, Sections 8 & 9

Last Updated, 22/08/2022