Abandonment of Comon Sense

Father’s photo of daughter in shopping centre sparks security dispute

Yahoo! NewsBy Gaby Leslie | Yahoo! News – Mon, Oct 10, 2011

A man who took an adorable picture of his toddler in a Scottish shopping centre was questioned by police after the photo apparently fell foul of anti-terrorism laws.

Photo: Chris White

In the last few decades I have observed an alarming decline in common sense among those in power, especially in the public sector.  I see this a an indication of general cognitive and cultural decline.  Also, anything can be branded as “terrorist” these days, which is a dangerous invitation to abuse power by governments.

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Staff at the busy shopping centre became suspicious after they spotted Chris White taking a photo on his phone of his 4-year-old daughter enjoying some ice cream at Braehead shopping centre, near Glasgow.

According to Mr White, 45, a security guard ran over and threatened him – claiming that taking the photo of his own daughter Hazel was “illegal”.

But Mr White maintained that his young daughter, who was crying in his arms, was the only one in the photo.

Police were then called to the scene and threatened to confiscate his phone allegedly citing the Terrorism Act when Mr White – a local mental health worker – refused to delete the photos he had posted on Facebook moments before.

However, under the Terrorism Act officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film at any point during a search unless a court order has been granted.

The police allowed him to keep the images and no further action was taken.

The offended father launched a Facebook campaign to boycott the shopping centre soon after the drama unfolded on Friday at 4pm with thousands of people inundating the Facebook page with comments criticising the actions of the mall and the police.

Outraged, Mr White said last night: “I wonder how many shoplifters got away while they were dealing with my act of ‘terrorism’. Surely thousands of people have taken pictures inside shopping centres.”

Superintendent George Nedley of Strathclyde Police confirmed last week’s incident.

“My officers attended and gave advice and no further action was taken by the police officers. I can confirm we have received a complaint regarding this incident and one of my officers has spoken to Mr White regarding this.

“As a result, a full review of the circumstances surrounding the incident and the allegations made is underway.”

In response to the matter, a spokesperson for Braehead said it wanted to “maintain a safe and enjoyable environment” for shoppers.

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