May 24, 2009
Police could be forced to destroy huge archives of surveillance photographs taken at protests, riots and football matches following a landmark judgment.
[efoods]Appeal Court judges ruled yesterday that a law-abiding arms trade activist had his human rights breached when police took photos of him at a protest and kept them on file.
In a judgment that could change the way all UK police forces monitor protesters, the Metropolitan Police was told to destroy all pictures of Andrew Wood.
It could mean police will have to sift through hundreds of thousands of stored surveillance photos and destroy pictures of any innocent subject who complains.
However, a one-month delay was granted yesterday to allow an appeal to the House of Lords.
The ground-breaking case marks another blow to ‘Big Brother’ surveillance tactics increasingly favoured by police.
It follows last month’s European Court ruling forcing the Home Office to stop indefinitely storing DNA profiles of people who are arrested but never charged.
Forces across the UK have spent years amassing huge numbers of ‘overt surveillance’ pictures, and police photographers are a familiar sight at major gatherings.