Thursday, 23 July 2009

Photographer Detained In Kent... For Taking Photos Of Kentish Streets

Alright, so Kentish Streets makes it sound quaint when in fact it was Chatham (pronounced in the local vernacular "Chat'em") High Street which is anything but quaint. But regardless of my very Kentish prejudice against the town of my mother's birth, this story is pretty nasty.

One man was, for some bizarre reason, photographing the delights of Chatham when he found himself stopped, interrogated and arrested. Why? Because he'd been stopped so many times before, and decided this once he was not going to give his ID.

What irks me even more is the suggestion that part of the reason he was handcuffed for this "crime" was because the WPC found his size (no offense to him but a rather underwealming 1.81m) rather intimidating. As a vertically unchallenged person I find that offensive! If someone is acting intimidating, then I can understand. But if you are being intimidated by someone who is acting perfectly reasonably, just because they are tall, perhaps you need to find a new job outside of the police force.

Foolishly, our photographer decided that he wanted to pursue his dangerous hobby and returned to Chatham High Street where he was again confronted by the police but gave in much more easily this time (and you can't blame him, even if he shouldn't of needed to in the first place).

How can we live in a country where such abuse of our freedoms is allowed to flourish? How can the police think this is productive? They often talk about "community relations" but this is their way of saying "Don't offend the minorities". Maybe they should start really relating to their communities and stop harassing innocent members of the public for doing something so obviously peaceable. Did they have any evidence to suggest he was taking pictures of something security sensitive? Did they have any evidence to suspect him of doing anything untoward?

You get a report of a gang of kids causing trouble, so it is reasonable that should you come across a gang of kids you will stop them and ask them for details. So what report of trouble did they receive that caused them to stop this man? Was there someone matching his description causing trouble in the area? Probably not, this was just officious, fascistic stupidity at it's worst.

P.S. On an unrelated note, why do people think a man being 1.81m is tall? Average height for a man in this country is 1.75m for the population as a whole and 1.78m for those between 16 and 24. 5cm above average is hardly "tall". I know, I'm prejudiced, being 2.03m tall but still really. 1.9m is tall. 1.81m is just above average, nothing spectacular.

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Plum said...


I'm 1m88 and I'm definitely "tall" - I think technically I'm in approx the top 5% of the male UK population. That means that for every 100 random men there should be about 4 or 5 as tall or taller than me but in practice (and I have tested this) I'm lucky to meet two or three guys my height or taller on the streets of Brimingham when I'm out and about...

(I would like to be 1m90 just cos it's a rounder number, and if I'm gonna be unusual I want to be properly unusual!)

Jae said...

That's 13cm taller than average, you are officially unusual (in a good way!)