AP hopes to win Home Office approval for a document that would clearly state photographers? rights when taking pictures in public.

AP editor Garry Coward-Williams yesterday met with influential politicians and keen photographers Austin Mitchell MP and Viscount Allenby to discuss the scheme which aims to make photographers and others more aware of where they stand legally. Mitchell ? a staunch campaigner for photographers? rights ? chairs the Parliamentary All-Party Photography Group. Fellow group member Viscount Allenby is deputy speaker and deputy chairman of committees at the House of Lords.

The move ? which is in its very early stages – follows AP?s successful campaign last year to thwart plans to ban or restrict photography in public areas.

AP managed to force a climbdown by London Mayor Ken Livingstone who had controversially proposed warning signs in public areas to alert parents about people taking pictures using digital cameras and camera phones in an attempt crackdown on paedophiles.

Livingstone?s plans would effectively have led to unfair targeting of photography enthusiasts purely on the basis that they carry a camera (see AP 17 December 2005).

Mitchell ? MP for Great Grimsby ? has himself been stopped when taking pictures in public. Last year he was confronted by two security guards when taking snaps on Cleethorpes beach. Later in the year an overzealous policeman deleted the digital images from the camera he was using at the entrance to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.

Following yesterday?s meeting at the House of Commons Garry Coward-Williams (pictured centre), Austin Mitchell (left) and Viscount Allenby (right) plan to meet again next month.

Picture credit: Chris Gatcum