Saturday, 5 November 2011

Key guidance for security personnel

Below are the guidelines issued for security guards issued by the government regarding photographers

The following key points will provide employees of BSIA member companies with important advice as to what is
to be considered reasonable and innocent behaviour in the instance of members of the public taking photographs
or filming, and what the correct course of actions is when dealing with suspicious behaviour of individuals:
• The vast majority of individuals taking photographs are doing so for entirely innocent purposes, and the fact
that an individual is taking a photograph does not in itself indicate hostile reconnaissance or other suspicious
• The size and type of cameras are not, in themselves, indications of suspicious behaviour. Large cameras,
lenses and tripods should therefore not be viewed as being more suspicious than other types of equipment.
• If an individual is in a public place photographing or filming a private building, security guards have no right to
prevent the individual from taking photographs.

• If an individual is on private property, s/he may not take photographs if such activity is expressly prohibited
or requires a permit which has not been sought or granted. In this instance, a security guard may inform the
individual of the restrictions and politely request that s/he ceases to take photographs or film. The security
guard could request that the individual leave the premises and could use reasonable force if necessary to
effect this.
• All approaches to members of the public should be made in a courteous manner.
• If an individual is behaving in a manner which a security guard believes to be suspicious, it is important that
the suspicions are resolved either through reporting the incident to the police or through polite questioning of
the individual.
• Security guards cannot delete images or seize cameras, nor can they obstruct individuals from taking
• Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places. This
includes where an individual is in a public place but taking a photograph or film of a private building.
• On private land, the public may take photographs unless this activity is expressly prohibited by the landlord or
a permit is required and has not been sought.
• Security guards should be mindful of the impact their actions have on members of the public. They should
avoid behaving in a manner that individuals may find intimidating or aggressive, or interfering with individuals’
activities without adequate reason to do so

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