Parents should expect to be quizzed when taking photographs of their own children at a Sunderland shopping centre.
Bosses at the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland have not ruled out questioning anyone seen taking pictures of children following a row that broke out when a security guard reportedly banned a father from taking pictures of his own son, telling the man he could have been a paedophile.
Kevin Geraghty-Shewan had taken a photo of his four-year-old son playing on a train ride.
The incident sparked further questioning of Kevin by a police officer who arrived at the scene shortly afterwards.
Kevin told Sky News last week: ?I took a picture on my phone and suddenly this security guard came up and told me it wasn?t allowed because I could be a paedophile? I told him Ben was my own son. But he said I couldn’t prove it. He said there is a real problem with paedophiles and that if I didn’t like it, he’d call the manager.’
Kevin added: ‘A few minutes later a policeman walked in and approached me so they must have been tracking me on CCTV.?
Kevin said the police officer then asked him to delete his pictures and demanded his name and address.
However, by law, police do not have the right to delete someone?s pictures without a court order.
The centre’s bosses today admitted that there are no signs warning visitors that photography will be monitored, and there are no plans to introduce any.
A spokeswoman for the centre?s owner, Land Securities, denied that the guard had mentioned the word ?paedophile?, claiming the father had merely become angry following a ?polite? conversation.
She told Amateur Photographer (AP) that the guard had ?fulfilled his duties as instructed? and would not need to be retrained in the way he approaches future visitors.
?The situation was dealt with correctly,? she added.
In a statement, issued last week, Land Securities said: ?We take the safety at all our shopping centres very seriously. We do ask our security guards across the estate to be diligent in implementing our security measures which includes monitoring photography in our centres.
?Unfortunately on this occasion what should have been a simple polite conversation led to a misunderstanding and we apologies for any offence caused. It is always our aim to implement our security procedures with the minimum of fuss and disruption to our shoppers.?