Funny how times have changed and attitudes likewise. I retired from the police in 1998 having served in two different forces for over 31 years. One of the reasons I joined in the first place, and what would generally describe my attitude to the law, and the authority vested in me, was that I believed strongly in everyone's right to do what was one's right to do, - unimpeded, - after all, that was what my father and grandfather had fought for in the 1st & 2nd world wars, and I saw it as part of my responsibility and duty to uphold those rights. Ensuring the freedom of the public to engage in actions which were within the framework of the law was no less significant than prosecuting those who infringed it. On a number of occasions I dealt with complaints concerning photographers photographing people who objected to being photographed. In those instances in which photographers were photographing people in public places, the complainant would invariably have been told that the photographer had every right to photograph anyone in such a place. I would of course, have been sent to ascertain what indeed the photographer was in fact doing, so I would not have welcomed abuse or balshy behaviour directed towards me simply because I was doing my job! My written report regarding disposal of the incident was subject to perusal & checking by the chain of command, and it's clear that attitudes were quite different then, nobody would have dreamed of up-holding such a complaint. Little or nothing in law has changed regarding photography in public places, the only thing that has changed is the attitude towards it, and the more frequent suspicion it arouses as to the photographers' motive.
Nail, hammer: IMPACT!!! Nicely put Kiboko
I was a police reservist for 22 years and well remember a regular PC, with whom I was very friendly, saying in very angry tones, when he felt his office* was being abused, "We are servants of the people. Not instruments of the state." The vast majority of rozzers I have met, worked with, been interviewed by (I had a job that led to quite a few of those!) take exactly that attutude.
The most important thing when dealing with der filth is what we call the attitude test. Act like a bolshy bastard and you will be treated like a bolshy bastard. Be pleasant and polite and very, very few rozzers will fail to be just as nice back.
* By which I mean his role, not the little room he does his paperwork in! A rozzer is, in the jargon, 'In the office of constable.'