Stand your ground..

What happens when you let half a dozen photographers loose to take pics on the mean streets of London? And follow them with videographers?

There’s no chance they will be hassled by security is there? Noooo…never……….surely not…cough…


Discussion (17 Comments)

  1. Chris Blackhurst says:

    Brilliant little piece. Nice to see that all the Police Officers involved were reasonable, sensible and proportionate in their actions. Unlike the, sadly, ignorant security staff. I spy a training issue, methinks.

  2. JonathanJK says:

    This is great. Good to see this didn’t amount of Police bashing either. The only problems are those security guards who don’t understand the law.

  3. David White says:

    It was great to see the coppers being sensible, and actually knowing the law..and great to see tham being so damned polite….that is quite a shift and I hope it continues…as for the security guards, well, what can you say….they don’t have the infrastructure to tell them what’s what…and I suppose they are all scared for their jobs if they make a mistake, but still…

  4. Greger says:

    A friends suggestion, next time, have Muslims do this.

    • JonathanJK says:

      How do you know any those photographer’s weren’t Muslims btw? 😉

      If somebody was to do what you said, could they be a caricature of a real muslim?

  5. craig says:

    Not really that complicated for the security guards though is it?

    Any photos taken from a public space are permissible, any from a private space not so. They only need to know this rule and of course the boundaries of their own estate.

    Who has the responsibility for informing the security guards about the law? The building managers probably. Maybe they are not aware either?

    Well done the photographers from this film for eloquently and calmly arguing their cases. And of course the police.

  6. James Dodd says:

    “Not really that complicated for the security guards though is it?”
    not it’s not. they do as they are told or they lose their jobs. don’t shoot the messenger seems quite apt here.
    Definitely all down to the building managers. And given the number of times they the or the likes, I’m shocked no one took the time to go and speak to them?

    If this is a common occurrence the police would surely be better off writing a simple letter to repeat offending buildings or security firms outlining the law.

    I realise this will never happen as they’d see the initial costs of writing and consulting over some such documentation spiral out of control until it became a multi million pound manifesto.

  7. JKaranka says:

    It’s amazing how something that should be a rather mundane activity, like street photography, has almost turned into an instrument of rebellion over here.

  8. Lucas Jackson says:

    Kudos. The private security guys are always an issue.

  9. Thumbs up for the Police from me too.

    I had the delightful task of running a photography course involving several young people in Social Work care. We did a load of public space photography and on one occasion photographed a medical products manufacturing building, very eye-catching and photogenic.

    We did this from the public park and as we approached the entry gates where the public footpath met the entry gates to the factory the security guard steamed over towards us. My two 14 year olds ‘trouble radar’ spotted this and they went to leg it. I told them to stay put and stay quiet and listen.

    Of course we did the whole, guard saying: “what are you doing here?” Me replying politly: “minding our own business and going about it lawfully in a public place”.

    Guard persistently pushed his luck and I simply and calmly reminded him that as he was now on public property (the footpath in the park) I could call the Police and have HIM arrested for obstruction and harrassment. He backed down.

    My two young offenders were astonished and asked what had happened, as their normal eperience of being accosted by security was having their collar felt and arses kicked, so we’d an intersting discussion about public V private space, civil and legal rights and the infringements of your rights that can occur when someone in authority does not know about YOUR rights and hopes you dont either.

    I added the interesting detail that, as I understood and interpreted the relevant legislation, had the Police actually been called and they requested we identify ourselves, the fact that the two youngsters were under Social Work care and subject to the strict non-identification aspects of the Social Work Act and protection of children legislation, meant that the Police could not be informed of their names and status, given that the ‘incident’ at hand was a SW sanctioned activity, and we were well within our rights to be where we were and doing what we were doing.

    If I did id them, I’d be breaking SW legislation and possibly subject to legal action, and if the Police forced me to id them or the yougsters to id themselves, then the Police could be subject to repercussions under the relevant SW legislation.

    My two (excellent) photographers learned a lesson about rights that day, and hopefully it will stand them in good stead.

    The question they asked, and I could not answer, was “these rights are brilliant, why does nobody explain them to us in school?”

    • JonathanJK says:

      Excellent story John.

      Not to be a downer but…

      Do you think they would stay behind an hour everyday to learn about these aspects of modern life though? I suppose after this encounter they would, otherwise they wouldn’t. There are only so many hours in a school day after all.

  10. I’m not sure why you think it should be ‘extra-curricular’.

    I would contend it should be an integral part of mainstream teaching.

    Everyday life throws up many instances of (often governemnt-sanctioned) abuses of our fundamental rights.

    I’m just done with defending my partner against an illegal (but condoned by DVLA) case of persistent harrassment and extortion by bailiffs sent out by a car parking company intent on extorting the public by running a carpark with inadequate signs so you would not know there were restrictions. The first you know about it is when the red demand for huge significant sums of cash come through your letter box, followed by even more threatening letters and if you dont respond, threatening phone calls. All this enabled by the DVLA selling our personal details to these unscrupulous rogues.

    I know enough about contract law, harrassment law, and Data Protection legislation to clearly see this was completely illegal and refused to be intimidated.


    The bailiffs backed down, the site is now legally signed, and we did not have to pay over £300 to a bunch of people described buy the OFT as “running a scam”.

    The tuition of basic rights to be able to deal with such cases is not a luxury that we should tack on to normal education, rather it should be an integral part of our children’s education.

    The law is just a bunch of words, but knowing where to look for those words and understanding what they mean when you find them is every bit as important I feel as appreciating what Shakespeare contributed to english literature.

    Its ignorance of our fundamntal rights that allow them to be eroded.

    • JonathanJK says:

      I didn’t say it would be extra-curricular. I didn’t even use those words so I don’t understand the use of quotes!

      Anyway, what I meant was, adding more to the syllabus would lengthen a school day and most young people wouldn’t like that or value those lesson until they find themselves in the situation you described.

      In my previous post I was going to say, get rid of R.E. but then decided against it because that opens up another can of worms. There will be no easy answer but I am 100% behind your suggestion.

  11. Johnathan – I used ‘parentheses’ not “quotations”; simply for emphasis.

    I realise what you were saying and not quoting you.

    FWIW I agree with the suggestion that to ‘reduce’ the amount of RE offered would be a good idea.

    Can of worms? Even bigger than that!

  12. Pete McDonald says:

    Nice exercise in testing the current situation regarding street photography and civil rights. I don’t think anybody will be surprised at some (but not all!) of the reactions of private security.
    However I am pleased to see how the police performed when they were called to attend, especially as this was in City of London where for many years we had a manned cordon around a large area (yes they can still watch you pretty much everywhere there on cctv).
    It was only a year or so ago that my ENG camerawoman was prevented from recording a simple ‘piece-to-camera’ with her reporter, for a UK news channel, on the streets in the City by police who even radioed in to their station duty officer to get confirmation that we were not allowed to film in the public streets.
    Hopefully this improvement continues and private security also reign in their dogs.
    Hell, we have the Olympics here very shortly…. let’s show the world a bit of a friendly face even accepting that security is going to be ramped up big time (Athens 2004 the Americans installed portable missile batteries for the Greeks).

    A point to note. As was experienced by the team in this video, do make sure you can identify where the private property boundary is, it’s not always obvious.

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