The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Terrorism Law: Man confronted in shopping centre for photographing daughter

A man and his four-year-old daughter were enjoying a day out in Glasgow's Braehead shopping centre when he was stopped by security guards and later questioned by police for taking photos of his daughter eating an ice cream.

Chris White, 45, was told to delete the photo he had taken of Hazel, because it was "illegal". Later, Strathcylde Police Officers allegedly cited the Terrorism Act while questioning him.

Mr White was informed that there were "clear signs" in the shopping centre forbidding photography, but he claimed not to have seen them.

He said: "[The police officer] then said that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act he was quite within his rights to confiscate my mobile phone without any explanation for taking photos within a public shopping centre, which seems an abuse of the act. He then said on this occasion he would allow me to keep the photos, but he wanted to take my full details."

The incident prompted Mr White to set up a Facebook page called 'Boycott Braehead' in which he called for shopping centres to change their photograph policies.

By the next morning, the page had been 'liked' by more than 21,000 people. Mr White's story was covered in national newspapers and he was interviewed by the BBC. In response, Braehead shopping centre issued an apology.

It read: "I am writing to formally apologise for the distress that we may have caused you and your family when you visited Braehead last Friday.

"As you may be aware, in light of your complaint and the public debate surrounding the incident, we have decided to change our photography policy to allow family and friends to take photos in the mall."

Since then, Capital Shopping Centres, who own Braehead, have changed their policy that also applies to the Trafford Centre near Manchester, Lakeside in Essex, the Metrocentre in Gateshead and also centres in Cardiff, Newcastle, Norwich and Nottingham.

They said: "CSC can confirm that we will be changing the photography policy at our 11 directly owned centres and that at the other three centres, which we own in partnership with other companies, we will be discussing with our partners the policy change and recommending that it be adopted."

Chris White wrote on his Facebook page: "Hopefully we can now move forward with a common sense approach into a situation that allows families to enjoy precious moments with their children, but at the same time ensure that such public places are areas where we can feel safe and protected."

Related links:

Read more on the story (BBC)
Read 'Terrorism and the law' (FindLaw)
Find local specialist solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)