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Photography and security guards

Olympics 2012 organisers have been forced to spell out their policy for treating photographers at the east London construction site after an amateur claimed security guards tried to stop him taking pictures there. Dr Patrick Green told us two security guards tried to prevent him taking pictures at the northern end of the 2012 Olympic site on Sunday 10 June.

Dr Green insisted that he was standing in a public area at all times and was first challenged while capturing shots of the building work on the former Eton Manor sports ground. The 45-year-old said he was taking the pictures as part of a personal photography project to record the site before building work begins.

Dr Green told us: 'A security guard came out of the security cabin and called out “that isn't allowed”. I called back that photography wasn't illegal and he couldn't stop me taking pictures. The guard appeared agitated and just repeated that photography wasn't allowed. As he was behind a fence I just ignored him.'

Dr Green then tried to take photos of preparation work at the Lea Valley Cycle Circuit where, he said, security guards told him they'd already had 'a lot of trouble dealing with reporters'. One of the guards told Dr Green that he believed he was taking a photo of him. Dr Green replied that he had actually been taking pictures of the buildings behind.

Dr Green - who lives in the capital - said the security guard warned him that police regularly patrol the area and would take down his details if he continued taking shots. . He repeated that police were liable to take my name and address and just added that he was trying to 'educate me'. After that the conversation ended and I continued taking pictures,' said Dr Green who told us that no police officers appeared on the scene.

Commenting on the incident a spokesperson for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said: 'There are absolutely no restrictions on people in public places. If they are in a public place then we've got absolutely no authority to stop them.' He added: 'We have made it clear to our contractors on site that people in public places have every right to take photos.'

From: London Olympics photo storm, Amatuer Photographer, Wednesday 13th June 2007, Chris Cheesman

Source: Amatuer Photographer

Martin Slavin writes;

Olympic site security guards have a well established reputation for exceeding their limited powers. They have no greater powers of arrest than you or I have. They can only call the police if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that you are committing a criminal offence.

"When the police stop and search you they must:

  • Show you some proof that they are a police officer, if they are not in uniform:
  • Give their name and the police station they are from:
  • Tell you what they are searching for and why they believe you may have the item in your posession; and
  • Inform you that you are entitled to a copy of the search record.

The police must complete the search record when when they do the search, unless this is really difficult. They may ask you for your name and address to include in the record but you don’t have to tell them. If they make a record they must give you a copy straight away."

From the booklet: ‘Dealing with the Police, your legal rights. Community Legal Service’. Stop and Search

They have extended powers under recent Terrorism legislation

"At present, under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, officers already have the power to stop and search people or vehicles in an area seen as being at risk from terrorism, even if they are not suspected of any breach of the law."

this requires an authorisation

"where the specified area or place is the whole or part of the metropolitan police district, by a police officer for the district who is of at least the rank of commander of the metropolitan police"

See more at: Searches under terrorism act (2000) Sections 43 and 44

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