Mall security guard accuses shopper of being a paedophile for photographing his own son
(Cory Doctorow) According to his blog, Kevin visited the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland with his son to spend the £10 his father gave the boy on a family visit. While there, he seated his son on a coin-operated train ride and snapped a photo of him with his cameraphone. At this point, a Bridges security guard came by and ordered him to stop taking pictures. He said that it was mall policy, and implied that Kevin was taking pictures because he was a paedophile. Kevin told him that this was ridiculous and took his son to find his wife and get out of the mall. He also took a picture of the security guard “so that if I later wanted to make a complaint to the centre I would be able to identify him.”
Outside of the mall, Kevin was stopped by a police constable who had received a complaint from mall security that a suspicious potential paedophile had been taking pictures on its premises. The PC threatened to arrest Kevin “for creating a public disturbance” and ordered him to delete the photo of his son. The PC also averred that the Bridges Shopping Centre is a hotbed of paedophile assaults.
For the record: It’s not clear to me how a fully clothed child on a mall coin-op ride is harmed by having his likeness captured by a camera, even if that camera is in the possession of a paedophile. And I’m pretty sure that taking pictures of your kids having fun on rides isn’t a warning sign of paedophilia (I’m in big trouble if it is!).