A Bill of Rights for Free Photography in the City

Photographers in the City of London face constant hassle from private security guards (see a film and blogpost on this here).

The Manifesto Club’s Peter Lloyd approached City authorities, asking whether they planned to do anything about these over-officious private security guards.

With the help of councilman Alex Deane, the City has responded by issuing a booklet for private security guards about the regulation of photography.

This booklet emphasises that security personnel ‘do not have the right to stop individuals photographing or filming in a public place’.

It also states that security personnel should ‘refrain from acting in an intimidating manner'; that members of the public do not need a permit to take photographs in a public place; and that security personnel should only take action if they ‘genuinely believe’ that somebody’s behaviour is suspicious, and that then they should call the police rather stop photography themselves.

This document is a significant victory for the right to take photographs in a public space. People taking photographs in the City may want to carry around this de facto ‘bill of rights’, to present if challenged.

We hope other local authorities will follow suit in issuing such level-headed recommendations to private security staff.