Private security guards must not ?blanketly? target photographers and should adopt a more courteous, open and friendly approach to people taking pictures, the Home Office said today.
The Government said it has relayed photographers? concerns about ?overzealous? security personnel to the head of Project Griffin, a controversial police initiative that calls on security guards to report people suspected of taking ?hostile reconnaissance? photographs.
?They [security guards] should not be just blanketly engaging with photographers,? said Rob Hunt from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in a meeting with photography groups this afternoon.
Project Griffin was first introduced in London in April 2004 and has since been widely adopted across the UK.
It is designed to co-ordinate the resources of police, local councils and businesses and is endorsed by the Security Industry Authority, according to the Project Griffin website.
But now, the Government says the training which police give those taking part in the project is under scrutiny.
?We have been feeding in concerns from the [counter-terrorism] review,? confirmed Home Office official Rosa Beer who said that a new Project Griffin ‘training package’ will be released in the autumn.
The move follows consultation with photographers which took place in the run-up to publication of the counter-terrorism review, and proposals outlined as part of the Protection of Freedoms Bill.
In the review – published in January – the Government said it would look at the guidance available to security guards and consult with photographic bodies on how it might be improved.
Today?s meeting at the Home Office appeared to confirm that the Government plans to tackle this hotly debated issue, which photographers see as an ongoing threat to their job or pastime.
Earlier this month, photographers staged a peaceful protest in central London, complaining that they continue to fall victim to ‘insane’ security rules.
Organisations invited to take part in today?s meeting at the Home Office included Amateur Photographer (AP), the National Union of Journalists, the Royal Photographic Society, the Bureau of Freelance Photographers and photo rights campaigning website SceneThat.
Editor Damien Demolder and news editor Chris Cheesman attended from Amateur Photographer magazine.
More news from the meeting will be published in due course.