I HAVE a son who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. This causes many difficulties, including problems with confidence and social settings. His love of photography has helped him rise above this to some extent and he’s becoming quite skilled at his craft.
Last week at Golden Square Shopping Centre, a security jobsworth aggressively confronted him for taking a photograph in the Square and followed him to the Alice in Wonderland statue. He asked my son to move on, but as he explained he was meeting someone there the ‘heavy’ said ‘We’ve got you on CCTV and the police are on the way because you do not have permission to take pictures here – this is private property’.
He also threatened to escort him off the premises and displayed body language that suggested he was very prepared to get violent. Fortunately as always, my wife (his mother) was not too far away as she planned to meet him as usual at Alice, and managed to intervene although the security guy did follow them out as far as the passageway alongside the Blue Bell Pub as they walked away.
She later managed to get back into Golden Square to obtain a complaint form from the information desk near M&S, but judging by the response she got, I won’t hold my breath.
For many people like my son the world is very often black and white and rules, regulations and a sense of order are very important, so any signs advising ‘no photography’ would have been strictly adhered to. Furthermore, any threats of the police and ‘being watched’ can have an adverse effect (and it has) and be extremely detrimental and very frightening.
Putting ‘no photography’ signs up will show Golden Square for what it is, and then this ‘tough guy’ security man can spend more of his time looking out for criminal activity instead of harassing the public. I don’t even know if this is the law not to take pictures in Golden Square and to be honest I don’t think most people are aware of it.
If you’re going to have, and indeed actively enforce silly laws like this, at least get some signs up. I will have to look at the legalities to see if this behaviour is acceptable without displaying relative signs.
So remember, the law-abiding people of Warrington: If you’re out at Christmas and you want a nice photo of your kids at the grotto with Santa – watch out – the police may be called and you could be escorted from the premises.
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