We all know the laws we have to follow on the streets and roads here in the United Kingdom and they are all relatively self explanatory, No Steeling, No Speeding, No Rioting and so on, but when it comes to photography most photographers don't know their rights, and most of the time the police don't know the law where photography is concerned either, they assume they are a superior power to you and can tell you what you can and can't do. You usually respect it because you don't want to be hauled down the station for doing nothing.
Below is a small link to a file made by the police about the photographers rights, it's the main ones you need to know and you can print this off and carry it on your person, because it was made by the police they can't really argue with what it said on it.
A few things to remember
In Public you can photograph whatever or whoever you like, some pedestrians like to think they know the law but no one can physically touch you or your camera, or even ask you to delete images.
Always be polite to the police if you get stopped, although they can't do anything about your photography they won't stand for back talk.
You do not have to give your name, address, or even show ID unless you are told of the crime you are apparently committing. You can even ask them why they chose to stop you and what they are looking for. They can only stop you for photography if you are acting suspiciously in a terrorist manor, and they have to inform you of this. Now these things are all well and good in public places, but anyone who will be reading this will not be photographing in public places.
The law when trespassing is quite different. Any activity at night is classed as suspicious as far as the police are concerned, if your trespassing they will be quite certain you are doing something illegal, in some cases this will be true but you can usually talk you way out of most situations.
Things to remember when on private property or trespassing.
It still applies that they cannot touch you or your equipment or ask for deletion of images.
Usually when caught trespassing police would just ask you to leave, depending where you are this can be more serious.
There is a difference between trespassing and breaking and entering and it is a line which only you can personally decide to cross. If the police catch you breaking and entering it's worse than just catching you trespassing. You can also be wrongly accused of breaking and entering while trespassing, all you can do is explain your situation and hope they understand, there is nothing worse than being done for something you didn't do but this is a risk we all take.
Trespassing on national rail land can lead up to a £1000 fine and has certain risks and dangers that could involve your death, so be careful.
Trespassing on ministry of defence can lead up to a £5000 fine and 6 months in prison. Just so you know what you might be letting yourself in for, It is illegal to take photographs on ministry of defence land because of the terrorism act and all trespassing does not lead to a slap on the wrists. There is often a chance you could be unknowning tresspassing and shooting on MOD land. Playing it stupid isn't always a bad thing and can get you out of a lot of trouble.
That is pretty much everything every night photographer should know about the law, it's mainly common sense, we all chose to go to these places and we know the risks of trespassing and breaking these laws but we still do it, so when we do get caught we have to face up to the consequences of our actions.