Photographers Face Paranoia in UK

The Telegraph has an article this week about the paranoia that even casual photographers are facing in the UK. Photographers have been chased down by police for taking photographs while in a town centre. The writer behind the article, Sam Delaney, described his own experience sitting in a coffee shop while simply taking a look at a camera he had borrowed:

As I sit familiarising myself with this new toy, I sense suspicious glances from the people sitting beside me. I tell myself I’m probably just imagining it. I hold the camera up to my face, point the lens through the window at the busy street outside and peer through the viewfinder. The first thing I see is a large, bearded, angry-looking middle-aged man thrusting two fingers in a V-sign at me.

His story gets better. Delaney left the coffee shop, hung the camera around his neck and walked towards some nearby stores. The lens cap was on, but a security guard immediately homed in on Delaney and announces that photographing the area is prohibited. The guard insisted that Delaney put away the camera or leave.

There are so many incidents these days when photographers are assumed to be up to no good, simply because they’re taking photographs. How did photography become a crime?