Verdict: It is not forbidden to photograph police operations in public places | First – panorama

Status: 06.10.21 11:16 am

Video (audio and image) recording with mobile phones during police operations is allowed after a judgment, and the so-called “objection clause” 201 of the British Criminal Code does not apply in public places. The Osnabrück Regional Court has decided on a case as of June.

What would the “George Floyd” case be without the video? The footage shows how policeman Derek Chauvin took the man under his knee to breathe for several minutes, how Floyd lost his life.

In Germany too, there are cases of assault by the police that do not do justice to the powers and role of the police. Can such differences be captured by picture and sound through a cell phone recording? Does the police in such a case justify the confiscation of the cell phone through which such recordings were made? Jigsaw mentioned that Police officers are constantly trying to prevent their actions from being photographed – with legally dubious pretexts.

Police may be photographed during operations in public places

During a police operation in Osnabrück in the summer of 2021, emergency services were filmed as they repaired a suspect on the ground. Noting that such audio recordings are punishable, the policemen accordingly asked the complainant to refrain from making the recordings. They also confiscated his cell phone on suspicion of violating the confidentiality of the word.

Now the Osnabrück District Court has dealt with it – and in this case (Acceleration 24.09.2021 Reference 10 Qs 49/21) decided: that there was no initial suspicion of a criminal act, so that the cell phone would not be confiscated.

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The official work of the policemen took place in the general traffic area. The words spoken in this regard were spoken publicly because the place was freely accessible, hence the logic of the court.

The criminal provision of Article 201 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes violating the confidentiality of the word, does not include such statements. The judgment protects the impartiality of the oral statement. This impartiality is not affected in the case of formal, legally binding conduct that is subject to legal review.

Even taking pictures in public – with the exception of some exceptional cases – is unpunished. According to the regional court, there is no clear reason why the recording of sound recordings in public places should be punished more severely than the production of photo recordings in the same environment.

The so-called “objection clause”

So far, the police have mostly relied on Article 201 of the Criminal Code when confiscating the recordings. The so-called “intercept clause” prevents audio recordings in some cases. You are meant to ensure that you can express yourself freely in private. The secret spoken word, called “bedroom conversations”, must be protected. At its core, it’s not about recording images, it’s about audio. After a panorama search, police officers repeatedly referred to this clause to prevent their operations from being filmed or reported – since mobile phones are also equipped with a microphone.

Brooke Vargas

"Devoted gamer. Webaholic. Infuriatingly humble social media trailblazer. Lifelong internet expert."

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