Innocent video in garden cafe had fat rozzer in frame
RECENT legislation putting a block on photographing police officers belatedly gets us in step with most of the world. Still only partly though, because in many places such laws extend to government buildings, too, and they helpfully shove flags on them s
RECENT legislation putting a block on photographing police officers belatedly gets us in step with most of the world.
Still only partly though, because in many places such laws extend to government buildings, too, and they helpfully shove flags on them so you can't make a mistake.
Before getting uptight about a new inroad on our liberty, we should ask ourselves when was the last time we took an officer's photo?
It's more than 50 years since I did, for the one and only, as yet. Nor would it count if the law refers solely to on-duty ones.
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My photo was of Pc Hessey, my mate Nobby's dad, hanging up his truncheon as the village policeman. Taken in their kitchen, it has a beaming Mr Hessey waving said truncheon, with Mrs H and their daughter and four sons grouped laughing around him.
Only info any enemy might get from that snap is, mess with Pc Hessey and you'll have four stalwart lads on your case in no time.
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They were all a bit useful as well, particularly Nobby who footballed, ran, and boxed for northeast Berkshire schools.
It was an impromptu occasion. The official do was in Reading next day, which was what all the family had gathered for, Nobby being the only one not to have flown the nest.
His dad always claimed he'd used the truncheon for nothing more violent than knocking down conkers for his boys. Respect for law and order came naturally those days.
Pc Hessey had a little trick to make sure it stayed so, slipping a farthing into each fingertip of one glove, which he flicked round any head needing it.
The arbitrary justice worked. You never risked a second dose in a hurry.
Whoever framed the new law will doubtless have put in small print to avert damage to the UK tourist trade.
Visitors from abroad have always included a London bobby in their photos of the capital, along with a red double-decker and a black taxi. Not going to be happy if they can't do that anymore.
Their snaps of Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly will likely be law-breakers too, for what chance of them not having a bobby or two somewhere, even if they are blobs amid the throng?
Touch wood, I've only twice had that problem, and was both times blameless.
Last summer, a copper came rushing up, shouting and waving his arms about in the mistaken belief I'd taken his picture, when in fact I'd been videoing our cat.
Pushy had joined us at the premises' garden caf� in the hope of titbits and, disappointed, was pawing leaves in the paddling pool.
It made a nice picture, but I'd not noticed a fat rozzer sat skiving in the background.
The ensuing exchanges were getting silly when Madam, at a different table to me, came over and ran the shot through to show he was not the subject. All you saw of him was a notably grubby boot and a bit of trouser leg.
"That's all you needed to do," said Madam dismissively, while smiling sweetly at the officer.
My parting "boots like that, you'd be on jankers" to him as he stomped off earned a predictable "shuddup" from her.
Years ago, Madam similarly sorted out another such misunderstanding. A holiday in Athens coincided with student unrest there, and one afternoon we got caught up in a demo. There was then no gadget slim enough to be slipped in a pocket.
Laden with two still cameras, a Super 8 cine, and bulky Grundig tape, I was hustled by police towards the Greek version of the Black Maria, presumably suspected of putting anti-government views on record.
But before they could dump me in the vehicle, Madam was among them, drowning out the student's slogans.
The police were glad to get shot of us.
When I thanked her for such swift intervention on my behalf, she snapped: "You've got the money. How was I to get a taxi back to the hotel if you got carted off?"
Drachma before devotion!
Anyway, you've been warned. Before you go pressing the button for that perfect one for the album of Junior sand-castling on the beach this summer, have a good shufti there's no Pc in the background. Even if he has got a cornet.