One of the hallmarks of authoritarian states is that they don't like people taking pictures. A classic example of this is the old Soviet Union, which reportedly got very antsy about tourists photographing anything in case it undermined "state security". Unfortunately, the same now seems to be true of the UK. While there is no law banning photography in public places, thousands of people - tourists, trainspotters, planespotters, professional photographers and journalists - have been harassed or even arrested by police for pursuing their job, their hobby, or documenting the society they live in. An example:
"The car skidded to a halt like something out of Starsky & Hutch and this officer jumped out very dramatically and said 'what are you doing?' I told him I was photographing the building and he said he was going to search me under the Anti-Terrorism Act," he recalled.Just another example of how the "war on terror" is the UK into the sort of state it ostensibly struggled against for 40 years during the cold war. And at this rate, there will be no need for the terrorists to destroy western democracy - our governments, police, and security forces will have done it themselves, "for our own protection", of course.
For Powell, this brush with the law resulted in five hours in a cell after police seized the lock-blade knife he uses to sharpen his pencils. His release only came after the intervention of the local MP, Simon Hughes, but not before he was handcuffed and his genetic material stored permanently on the DNA database.