Crime checks for snappers

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VISITORS taking pictures of the Xscape building could have to ask permission from a manager, sign a disclaimer, produce a public liability insurance document, undergo a criminal records check and pay a fee.

That is according to the complex’s new photographic policy.

It applies to all manner of cameras, including mobile phones, and has been implemented for reasons of ‘security, data protection, customer safety and brand protection’.

The policy, which refers to pictures taken within the building or on surrounding land owned by the Xscape, was published following an incident involving Xscape door staff and an amateur photographer.

Simon St Clare had been taking pictures of the building on Monday, February 7 when he was approached by two security guards who asked him to stop and called police.

Mr St Clare, 36, from Bletchley, who was released without charge, said: “I was treated like a criminal, as if I had stolen from the shops.”

The photographer said he believed he was on private ground and refused to leave. But Xscape insist he was on its land.

But Xscape spokesman Steven Gordon-Wilson said the guards had followed protocol, but added that the incident highlight the fact the facility doesn’t publish a photographic policy,.

The policy, dated February 14, was posted online shortly afterwards.

Mr St Clare said the new rules would mean any pictures taken would be the copyright of Xscape, meaning it could publish them whenever it wanted.

Mr Gordon-Wilson added: “In line with all commercial shopping centres and venues similar to Xscape, there is an in-house photographic policy, principally to protect members of the public.

“We are not able to comment any further than we already have on Mr St Clare’s experience, but repeat our regret that his experience was a negative one.”

If photographers take pictures on private property they can be asked to leave by the owners of that land, but there is no law to stop anyone taking photographs in public areas.