Monday, October 10, 2011

Boycott Braehead after they call Police on Dad taking photos of his daughter

Many people in Scotland have been appalled by an incident which took place in Braehead Shopping Centre near Glasgow on Friday where a man had shopping centre security staff and the police on his back because he took a photo of his 4 year old very cutely eating ice cream.

The Police said that they would be within their rights to take his camera and delete the photos under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. I thought that we in Scotland had largely avoided this sort of nonsense, which was prevalent in England for a while.

Even worse, when he tried to comfort his distressed daughter, the Police officer had a go at him for not listening to him.

Braehead tried to defend themselves with a statement which, to be honest, just digs them into a deeper hole:

Following various postings on social media websites and stories in the traditional media, Braehead would like to set the record straight on an incident involving a man taking photographs of a child in the centre, on Friday October 7.
Retail staff at an ice cream stall in Braehead became suspicious after they saw a male shopper taking photographs of a child sitting at their counter. The staff thought the man had also been taking photographs of them and they alerted one of the centre’s security staff.
The member of security staff approached the man and politely asked if he had been taking photographs. At no time in the initial conversation was the member of our security staff informed by the man that the child in question was his daughter.
Because of the nature of the incident, police became involved and also spoke to the man.Our priority is always to maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for all our shoppers and retailers. The member of our security staff acted in good faith.
Like most shopping centres, we have a ‘no photography’ policy in the mall for two reasons. First, to protect the privacy of staff and shoppers. as we are sure shoppers would not want strangers taking photographs of them or their children while they were in the mall.
Secondly and sadly, we live in a world of potential threats from terrorists and everyone is being urged by the police to be vigilant at all times. It is not uncommon for those intending to make some kind of attack to take photographs of their intended target as part of their planning before the event.
However, it is not our intention to - and we do not - stop innocent family members taking pictures. Discretion is used at all times.
Although Friday’s incident had nothing to do with a potential terrorist attack, the two retail assistants and the member of our security staff were faced with a situation they genuinely thought was suspicious. They witnessed a man taking photographs of a child, unaware that the man and the child were related.
I’m sure people will agree it is better safe than sorry.
Precious moments in life often happen without warning. Something will happen that you want to record for posterity. Why shouldn't you?

If you took Braehead's attitude to its logical conclusion, well, cars run people down. Best not cross any roads then. Let's all just stay inside and never go anywhere. Let's buy all our shopping over the internet. Not the sort of argument you would expect a shopping centre to advance at a really tough time for retail when shops face fierce competition from online.

I have just been on Radio Scotland's Call Kaye programme talking about my experience, which I wrote about in the context of the vetting and barring regulations (thankfully made more sensible by Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone), of how the parents of a child were prevented from taking photos at their birthday party because they didn't have the consent in writing of the parents of every single child attending.  These policies are completely outrageous and don't protect one single child from abuse.

I think the behaviour of Braehead and the Police has been shocking - and we as liberals should be standing out against this nonsense. There's now the obligatory Facebook page inviting people to boycott the shopping centre until it learns its lesson. Please "like" it.

Update: Scott Douglas has written an excellent post from a PR practitioner's point of view on the abject failings of Braehead on this.


Anonymous said...

How many terrorists actually take photographs of girls eating ice cream?

Unknown said...

Indeed. Certainly not usually in the planning of their terrorist activities anyway.

Anonymous said...

There is Home Office Guidelines that were issued to all ACPO deligates last year:

"There is no restriction on people taking photographs in public places or of any building other than in very exceptional circumstances."

"There is no prohibition on photographing frontline uniform staff."

"The act of taking a photograph in itself is not usually sufficient enough to carry out a Stop & Search."

"Officers DO-NOT have the power to delete digital images or destroy film or prevent photography in a public place under either power (sections 43 & 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000)."

Therefore, the Police and the staff at the Braehead had NO power, NO legal reason or duty to ask o to impose or threat to delete any image from anyone's camera. However, because the Braehead is deemed private, then it is within the rights of management to make a "request" that photographs not be taken, and must advertise by visable means to make that point.

Anonymous said...

Two sides to every story. Heard that a complaint was made by member of staff as she believed he was taking pictures of her as well as his daughter. Security guard intervenes, guy takes umbridge and this gets totally blown out of proportion.

JR said...

Well, I know which side of the story I believe anonymous, having been on the receiving end of similar crap from dull witted security men and extremely thick policemen.

By the way-show some balls and put your real name on here rather than hide behind anonymity!


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