Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taking photos

Once again we see the misconceptions over taking photos being applied. This time to the Braehead shopping centre in Glasgow. Sadly like so much it's a case of 'he said, they said' so the exact terms being bandied about cannot be verified, but the context is clear.

Firstly the obvious statement that I Am Not A Lawyer, but the statements I make echo and combine statements made by those who are.

1) "A security guard told him it was illegal to take pictures in the centre" - No it's not. There are certain institutes in which it is a criminal offence to take photographs of (nuclear power stations and the like) shopping centres aren't covered.

The shopping centre is a private building to which the public are invited to enter provided they abide by the terms of the invitation. If a member of the public breaches these terms they can be asked to leave or even banned permanently. In this case it was stated that "there were "clear signs" saying no photographs were allowed.". If this is the case one of the term's was broken.

2) "He said the security guard asked him to delete any photos he had taken from his mobile phone". They can ask, but there is no requirement to comply with the request. If the photographs were taken in breach of terms then no more should be taken, but the ones that have been are the property of the photographer. If photographs were taken of a restricted building deleting them could be considered as removal of evidence.

3) "one officer claimed that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act he was within in his rights to confiscate the mobile phone on which the photos were taken" Incorrect in every shape or form. The PoT Act deals with control orders on individuals; the officer should be quoting from the Terrorism Act which allows an officer to seize and retain any goods "which he reasonably suspects may constitute evidence that the person is a terrorist". In this case that won't apply because the person in question wasn't stopped under a section 44 order which in itself only applies in specifically designated areas.

To summarise - security can ask that photographs not be taken. Anyone who takes or continues to take photographs can be asked to leave the premises. There is no requirement to delete any photographs already taken. Neither security or the police can take any equipment used to take the photographs in these circumstances.


Orphi said...

Given this kind of abuse of power seems to be becoming more common, what exactly can members of the public do to avoid being pushed around like this?

FlipC said...

"what exactly can members of the public do"

Not accept it by knowing the law and challenging anyone to quote Act and Section.

The only reason that these abuses can happen is because the majority of people think that security or the police know what they're talking about. As various stories demonstrate this is not always the case.