Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Braehead photo scandal - it's not over yet as Police still don't get it

So, the owners of Braehead Shopping Centre have been dragged kicking and screaming to sup from the Fountain of Common Sense.

They finally and clearly reluctantly apologised to the appalling treatment their security guard meted out to Chris White who was challenged for taking photos of his 4 year old eating an ice cream.

The Boycott Braehead group which was set up on Facebook and attracted 4 times more fans than the Braehead site itself said today that it was no longer calling for a boycott, but that Chris White would be actively involved in doing more work on these issues. Their latest announcement said:
No one involved in this was doing anything other than what was expected of them from their job. The issues are around the policies and procedures that have been put in place. We want to bring back a bit of common sense. We no longer call for any public boycott and will be back soon with another page covering the broader issue. As a result, we will lock this page from comments. Keep a look out for an update from us with details of the new page.

I'm not so sure I would be quite so kind about the actions of the security guard and the police. From Chris White's own account, the Police, when they said that they could delete the photographs, were threatening to use a power that they don't have. And even if they thought they had a power under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, they were wrong because this was suspended last July after it was found to be illegal.

Les Gray from the Police Federation doesn't seem to get this. Interviewed on Newsnight Scotland on Monday night, he seemed remarkably po-faced about the whole thing, insinuating that there may be more to this than met the eye. He had the manner of someone who doesn't think that ordinary citizens ever have the right to challenge the authority of the Police. You can watch the segment here on iPlayer.

Willie Rennie spoke on Saturday about how we should challenge power and authority when it is being abused. Chris White has given us all a bit of a masterclass in how to go about it over the past few days. If more of us do so, slowly, the powers that be will get that they have to behave in a  more appropriate and common sense manner.

I was very glad to see in all of this that our MSP Jim Hume had a good go at the actions of the Police, saying that Big Brother had got too big for his boots.
 “When a father cannot photograph his daughter without being threatened with laws designed for terrorists then we know big brother has got too big for his boots.
“A photo of a four year old enjoying an ice cream is not a matter of national security.
“A little bit of common sense would have told officers that there was no need for such a threat. People are rightly angry that common sense seemed to be at such a premium.”

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails