Austin Mitchell's Early Day Motion presents a unique window of opportunity for getting photography access problems and interference by police and PCSO's brought to the attention of Parliament.
The police certainly know about these issues, after many meetings with the NUJ, BPPA and others over many years. There has even been a code of conduct agreed with ACPO for police-press relations. None of this has made the slightest difference. In fact the situation has grown significantly worse. At best it seems clear that there is not the political will at the most senior police levels to alter behaviour of officers. A more sceptical reading would suggest that the police have simply been indulging in a fatuous PR diversion with absolutely no intention of respecting individual or media legal rights. Illegal acts are now being perpetrated by officers apparently with the tacit approval of senior officers. The worst that seems to happen whenever a photographer is mistreated is that a settlement is offered at our - the taxpayer's - expense. We therefore need to go over their heads and demand that our elected representatives take an interest, and that Parliament acts to curb arbitrary police behaviour.
The best way of doing this is to write to your MP and ask whether s/he is aware of Austin Mitchell's Early Day Motion No.1155, whether they have signed it, and if not why not. So far only 121 MP's have signed which means 525 have not. You can check whether they have signed yet via http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/MemberList.aspx
We have a right and a need to know on what grounds they are ignoring our legal rights. Do it now! And post your MP's response in this thread.
You can write to your MP at
The Rt. Hon. [their name] MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
If you do not your MP's name, you can find it by entering your postcode into the search form at http://www.parliament.uk/people/index.cfm which will also provide their email address if they have one.