There is no general restriction on photography in public places and no ?presumption of privacy? for individuals in a public place, the Home Office Minister has stated.

The Minister?s words are contained in a letter, written on 27 February, the contents of which we can reveal today.

The letter is the latest indication that the campaign to protect the rights of photographers, amateur and professional, has moved up a gear in recent weeks.

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty was responding to concerns expressed by photo enthusiast John Kelly who clashed with a police community support officer (PCSO) in Blackpool, Lancashire in February.

John, an Amateur Photographer (AP) reader, then raised the matter with his local MP Michael Jack who, in turn, wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Asked by the Home Secretary to reply to the MP for Fylde, Home Office Minister Tony McNulty wrote: ?There is no general restriction on photography in public places, and there is no presumption of privacy for individuals in a public place. However, decisions may be made locally to restrict photography, for example to protect children, or at organised events.?

John Kelly said he was left humiliated and feeling like a criminal after a PCSO ordered him to delete his pictures.

He said the officer told him he first needed permission before taking photographs of people in public.

Lancashire Police told us that the officer denied she had asked him to delete all his pictures, but admitted asking him to delete one after he ‘sneaked up’ behind her.

The incident took place in Blackpool on 8 February.

Labour MP Austin Mitchell is poised to raise the issue of photographers? rights with the Home Office Minister in the coming weeks.

He hopes to include a representative from AP in a ‘delegation’ to visit the Home Office.

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