Private security at London Olympic site illegally harasses photographers shooting from public land

A few of the 10,000 G4S private security guards hired to police the London Olympics have been videoed while illegally harassing photographers who were taking pictures of the Olympic site from public land. In the video, the guards make lunges for the press-cameras, put their hands over lenses, and make inaccurate statements about whether and where images may be taken of the site. Scotland Yard had previously assured the National Union of Journalists that the private security at the Olympics had been trained on the legality of taking images from public land.

They were totally wrong.

Peter Walker writes in The Guardian:

As they walked along one pavement, near the adjoining Westfield shopping mall, a G4S guard approached the group and told them they were not allowed to film, before trying to hold his hand over Hurd's camera.

A supervisor who arrived told the group that guards had been specifically instructed to stop people filming a nearby "security screening area".

She said: "We are told that we should refrain from letting anybody film the security screening area. Obviously, we don't want that filmed."

The supervisor appeared not to know the difference between filming on public and private land, likening the rules to those against taking pictures of security checks at London's Heathrow airport.

She added: "We're all here for the protection of the Olympic park. Obviously, if you don't care about that, that's your business. We care."

Olympic park security guards forcibly stop journalists from taking photos


  1. Seems like they know they can’t stop people filming and instead try to hassle them out of the way, as they said “We have been told that we have to try to *deter* people from filming the secure area”

    1.  There’$ got to be $ome rea$on why any city, $tate, or country would $ubject them$elve$ to the organizing committee’$ whim$ to bow down before all $pon$or$.

      Why citizens themselves of said cities go along with it, I’ll never know, they get stuck with the taxes for stadiums and the link while the real money goes pretty far away.  You know, like Greece.

      1. That is the power of propaganda. The get promised shinny stuff, without being made aware of the cost. And there is a repression on people that oppose it.

        So powerful that they can fast-track building a transit line in 4 years (the Canada Line in Vancouver, which I admit if probably the only real positive thing that happened) while they are still discussion extensions of others that were not relevant….  But the price to pay is too big.

        And I don’t really know what got built in London though.

        1. We had some bloke from Vancouver over here in London telling us that once the party had started all the gainsayers would get swept up in the atmosphere of the whole thing and we would all have a spiffing time and be proved wrong. I can’t wait.

  2. If they keep this up the Olympics will have no one going to watch it.  They will be unwilling to get into like 5 hours before the event so they can make sure to have enough time to get through the gauntlet of checks making sure that no one takes a photo or records a video they haven’t paid the IOC for.

    At what point do the people finally say enough?  They are contributing money to an event that most of them will be barred from, and giving up their rights and getting what in return?  Hell for half the cost of an Olympic bid, they could run commercials around the globe showing people they aren’t a bad place to visit.

    1. And you forgot the part where the Owelympic sponsor have no financial liability into the event. If the bottom line is red, the taxpayer is on the hook. Not sponsors that we illegitimately ruled above the law by passing a bill to “protect” them. Happened in Canada, is happening in the UK too.

      Montreal took 30 years to pay for its stadium.

      Vancouver (and British Columbia) people largely on the hook for the Vancouver 2010™ event. Yet the sponsors who profited from it are not.

  3. What a bunch of brats. Just because it’s lawful to do something doesn’t mean that you should. Why would filming a security checkpoint be of use to anyone? These guards were very restrained in their actions if you ask me. I’d love to see them travel back and try that act in China 4 years ago. The same bratty “journalists” who press the limit on what their individual rights allow them to do would surely lambast others for not providing enough protection to them and their peers. 

    1.  So, your point is…

      “They should not be doing something that is legal because in China that was illegal and they are bratty enough to flex their rights”

      Makes absolutely no sense, sir.

        1. Too bad, you’ve been called on your miserable attempt to stand up to thugs who don’t even know the rules they’re supposed to be enforcing.

        2. And here I was going to give your comment a thumbs up and laud your absurd parody of an authoritarian shill. There goes Poe’s Law for you.

    2. RTFA.
      The security drones decided they WERE doing something and offer no proof.
      They then misquote the law, and attempt to manhandle others property while they are on public property.

      Here is a wacky idea for you…  Why would filming a security checkpoint be dangerous?  People are going to walk through it and see it first hand.  If your security is so poorly designed that a photograph of the checkpoint renders is useless, its time to get new security staff.

      A PRIVATE security team should NEVER think they are above the law.  The fact that you support this type of action is amazing.

      Stupid uppity people exercising their legal rights, how dare they.

      1. Here’s a better question. What purpose does filming the checkpoint serve? If the security officers that are employed to protect the grounds feel it may be a threat then why do it? 

        I didn’t necessarily say that I “support” the guards. I merely pointed out how ridiculous the actions of the camera persons were. 

        The fact that you have a Guy Fawkes image representing you does not bode well to your objective opinion of this matter. V for Vendetta was a great film huh.. 

        1. It serves no purpose. But then, walking in the park serves no purpose either. Nor does spotting trains, being a fan of watching aircraft, listening to the police band or any of a million other activities.

          Point is, there doesn’t need to be a purpose behind doing something that’s legal, that’s sort of how residual freedoms work. Anything that isn’t fobidden is permitted. End of. You don’t have to justify it.

          The fact that these chumps don’t like people exercising their rights means approximately bugger all. Their feelings don’t matter and nor does their opinion because their power to do anything about it ends at the border of the private property they guard.

          And on the flip side of the argument, what purpose does lying about the law, their own powers, and the legal issues regarding photographing the area serve beyond making them all look like halfwits with no clue as to the job they’re meant to be doing?

        2. Please point out where, other than in the fevered imaginations of the security drones, where they were actually filming the checkpoint.

          The ridiculous actions were those of the guards who are not officers of the law, and have no power on the public property where they decided to flex their muscle.

          Your focusing on 1 tiny thing to make this all alright, but you have no proof.  Maybe they were taking photos of this giant boondoggle that is going to end up costing everyone tons more money.

          You see my avatar and decide you know the who, what,  and how I am, your primed for a job in security.  Unable to actually think in terms without making connections that might only exist in your own mind.

          Maybe I support blowing up Catholics… had you considered that? 
          Didn’t think so. (In my defense they called me names first.)
          Please point out on the doll where I ever claimed I was objective.
          Please point out the thousands of times peoples rights have been trampled on by overzealous rent-a-cops drunk on their own power.

          So I might not be objective, but it is hard to maintain ones objectivity when the rule of law is being trampled.  When corporations have more rights than people.  When a rent-a-cop decides they get to make the call as to what rights people might be allowed to have.

          While you didn’t directly support the guards you went out of your way to cast the photographers and the people videoing the guards lying about the law as the ones in the wrong.

    3. Michael, you are a dictator in the making. Seriously. People fought for their rights, and still have too. This guard would be restrained if they didn’t misquote the law to justify their unlawful actions of harassing people.

  4. They were trespassing and disturbing the peace and deliberately engineered this ‘confrontation’. I’ve asked the Guardian several times to correct their malicious and dishonest reporting but they have refused.

    I wonder why?

  5. As long as citizen will let Governments put this kind of practice upon them, it will happen. After all, it is the citizen, and not the sponsor that are held financially liable of the Owelympics.

  6. I was disappointed the video ended so early.  I would’ve liked to see the police response after collecting information.

  7. Why would filming a security checkpoint be of use to anyone?
    It’s of bugger all use to terrorists, that’s for sure, so the constant attempts to stop photography are a sign of paranoia.

     I’d love to see them travel back and try that act in China 4 years ago.
    When did China become an example to follow?

  8. I’m surprised there aren’t taser-lenses for cameras that shock anyone stupid enough to put their hands over it.

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