Will & Kate royal visit: LAPD hopes to rein in aggressive paparazzi behavior
For a variety of reasons both logistical and economic, law enforcement officials and some Hollywood photo agencies say it's going to be difficult for the paparazzi to give the royal couple the Britney Spears treatment.
For one thing, the royal visit is a highly choreographed affair, with very few opportunities for the public to see, let alone interact with the couple. There will be plenty of photographers capturing their arrivals and exits, as well as photo opportunities at such places as a skid row children’s center in downtown L.A. and polo grounds near Santa Barbara.
But photographers will have difficulty getting the of kind of intimate, candid shots that get the big money.
“I cannot for the life of me imagine them walking down Melrose to go shopping,” said Stewart Cook, a longtime photographer for British newspapers. “It’s not going to happen. I would be stunned if anyone would go to the expense or the trouble to rent a house or hide in a tree for days [for a picture]. If [William and Catherine] rented a private island and there was no pool media access, people might try it. But not this one.”
Frank Griffin, a veteran photographer and head of the BauerGriffin agency, agreed. “The whole tour is well orchestrated and planned out from start to finish with between 50 and 200 photographers snapping away. There is no picture to get that is worth the trouble of trying.”
Trip organizers and the Los Angeles Police Department are trying to make sure of it. The LAPD plans to close down streets around each of the places William and Catherine will visit.
Police are also trying a new tactic: Officers secured “trespass-prohibited letters” from people who live in seven homes around the Hancock Park residence of the British consul-general, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to spend the night Friday and Saturday.
Interlopers can be arrested on the spot if police see them lining up their lenses on those properties.
Hundreds of journalists have been credentialed to cover the couple’s various events. But the LAPD is trying to make it as difficult as possible for photographers -– and others -– without proper authorization to get anywhere close to the couple.
June Street around the consul-general's residence will be closed to all traffic other than residents and their visitors between 4th and 6th streets from Friday night through Sunday.
On Saturday evening, the couple will attend a black-tie dinner and reception hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts -- of which William is president -- at the recently renovated Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The LAPD plans to close 11th Street between Broadway and Grand Avenue and Hill Street between 12th Street and Olympic Boulevard.
On Sunday, William and Catherine will visit the Inner-City Arts school on skid row, resulting in the closure of Kohler Street between 7th and 8th streets.
The U.S. State Department is in charge of coordinating logistics and security for the visit. The California Highway Patrol will whisk the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge around.
"We have a tough job here. We have to ensure public safety and the safety of our royal guests, while at the same time minimizing the impact,” said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith. “We expect everyone -- public and paparazzi alike -- to behave in a safe and lawful manner, and we will have a sufficient number of police on hand to quickly deal with those who don't.”
-- Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather
Photo: The newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kiss. Credit: Associated Press