Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 13:47 UK

LA police dismiss paparazzi plans

Paprazzi following celebrities
Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are often followed by paparazzi

The head of the Los Angeles police department, William Bratton, has dismissed suggestions that "dangerous" paparazzi should be controlled.

Mr Bratton was responding to proposals by local officials who claim press photographers are out of control.

He called efforts by councilman Dennis Zine "a total waste of time".

Mr Bratton said that with key figures like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears out of the headlines there was no need for extra security.

On Thursday Mr Zine, a Los Angeles City councilman, called a meeting with officials from popular celebrity areas like Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Malibu.

Britney Spears has gone straight now in terms of cleaning her act up, so basically paparazzi are losing interest
William Bratton, LA Police Chief

He likened the paparazzi to "a pack of wolves, stalking their prey".

The three-hour meeting saw officials propose an emergency phoneline for celebrities and plans to licence the paparazzi.

"You are in danger," said singer John Meyer, who attended Thursday's meeting.

"Without know who is following you, you do not know why you are being followed, which brings about a very really possibility of suffering harm."

But, speaking at a news conference after the meeting, Mr Bratton rejected calls to create a personal safety zone around celebrities.

Protected space

"What is this protected space that they are entitled to that the rest of us are not entitled to?" he said.

The police chief added that he thought the paparazzi had recently cooled their ways.

"Paris Hilton's out of town, things are quiet. Lindsay Lohan's got a new girlfriend, that's keeping things quiet" said Mr Bratton.

"And evidently Britney [Spears] has gone straight now in terms of cleaning her act up, so basically paparazzi are losing interest."

Earlier this week, actress Halle Berry accused a photographer of trespassing on her property to get shots of her with her four-month-old daughter.

In June, a group of surfers in Malibu fought with photographers who were trying to take shots of Matthew McConaughey on the waves.

But after the meeting Brad Elterman, of Buzz Foto, called some of the stars "cry-babies" and said dealing with photographers was part of their job.

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