I have on lots of occasions been confronted by various people,including
school teachers,who have taken it upon thenselves to go out of their way to
accost me,acuse me and even abuse me,because they do not think I have the
right to stand quietly at a public bus stop on a public street waiting for a
bus.There only needs to be a school within coo-ee of the bus stop for this
to happen.I am always careful to keep the covers on my scope and bins when
trying to catch a bus or train,only taking them off when I reach the birding
People do not seem to know what a spotting scope in its cover is and so
assume it is a long lense camera. I NEVER carry a camera. These days the
cameras are all in mobile phones anyway,and how many reports are there of
teachers abusing kids?
I suffer anxiety disorder, and because of the people who have confronted me
at bus stops etc. I now only go out when a fellow birder is kind enough to
take me with them in their car.
I would like to say that I prefer to deal with the Police.I have never been
spoken to by a Police officer who was not courteous and kind and
understanding towards me.And they have the proper authority to question me
and sort out the situation.I actually feel better with them around as it
keeps the other idiots away.
There are people in this world who have reached middle age without having a
partener or having reproduced,and we have the right to be left alone in
peace to catch a bus and persue a little bit of happiness through the hobby
of watching the amazing beauty of birds.
On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:40 AM, Scot Mcphee <> wrote:
> On 30 March 2010 07:57, Bill Stent <> wrote:
> > The cynic me might say that if you did adopt this attitude with the
> > and took photographs of the individuals involved you may find your car
> was a
> > lot less roadworthy than you may have at first thought.
> That is indeed true, in practical terms. However it's still an
> arrogant exercise in the abuse of police power - and one that's not
> uncommon or unusual either. There has been at least one incident in
> recent years where a member of the public photographed police
> performing what the person thought an illegal or abusive harassment of
> other individuals, only to have the police turn on the member of the
> public and demand the camera be handed over, saying that 'terrorism
> laws' prevent the photographing of police. But this is absolutely
> arrant nonsense as it does no such thing. Lucky the member of the
> public was apparently a Q.C.
> Remember police are in uniform, and in public, doing a job that you as
> a taxpayer pay them to do and as a citizen have a right to expect to
> be done properly and within the law. You have a right to photograph
> them -- indeed there is a public interest in you doing so -- and it's
> only circumscribed by the extent of their abuse of power.
> They also have to identify themselves (by their police number) to you
> and show you ID.
> > The fact is, that while you may have the right to be on public land, in
> > post 9-11 world you don't have the right to take photographs of anything
> > want to photograph. Police are entitled to stop and if necessary detain
> > if they can show (even afterwards) they reasonably considered you may
> > been photographing something you shouldn't have been.
> That may be true if you are near a Navy or Air Force base or some
> other type of military installation but it isn't true of a bit of
> farmland or some part of a forest or wetland or what have you. What
> possible public interest or security concerns do the police have in
> protecting wild birds, trees or grass from being photographed? It's a
> kind of KGB attitude in which all people everywhere are suspects in a
> crime they haven't yet committed.
> Another thing, those tabloid TV programs that harass members of the
> public (alleged dodgy builders and so forth) in the public streets and
> even trespass on private property and I never hear of policemen
> arresting them. And actually, as long as they stay on the public land
> they can generally film you on your property legally. There's no
> special law for them that doesn't also apply to us. Sure I agree you
> shouldn't push it with the fuzz especially if you're on your own but
> it does pay to know your rights, at least.
> While I am all for common courtesy to land owners when birding I am
> certainly not for common courtesy to coppers abusing their power
> except as a temporary tactic to avoid arrest.
> > Bird watchers might have got a poor deal, but some people's hobby is
> > photographing aeroplanes, and in particular military ones. Imagine the
> > problems they have!
> Quite a lot of problems, indeed. Even trainspotters, with their
> obsession about timetables and locomotive numbers, get into trouble
> nowadays as well.
> On the other hand years ago in the Cold War some ham radio guys traced
> the 'Lincolnshire Poacher' numbers station transmission site to an RAF
> base in Cyprus. Numbers stations are so black that the government
> pretty much denies they ever existed to this day despite their
> frequent and illegal interference with the civilian radio spectrum and
> proven association to military sites! No-one was arrested although
> nowadays I suspect you'd probably wake up in a shipping container in
> the corner of Bagram air base.
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