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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Photographers Manhandled by Intu Derby Security

Intu Derby security guards Darran and Stuart.
Recent video footage shows a pair of amateur photographers being manhandled and detained by security staff at Intu Derby.

Here at the TV Licensing Blog we are enthusiastic proponents of the public's right to film, which is why we are deviating from normal service to highlight this story. We also have a particular interest in this case, because one of the photographers was none other than our good friend and noble colleague Matt Williams.

Matt has not yet publicly shared his full video, but has kindly given us a preview and allowed us to republish some stills from it. Stay tuned to his channel for when the full version finally goes live, as we're sure it will attract widespread media interest.

Having carefully studied the 36-minute video, we are quite satisfied that both photographers acted in a calm and law-abiding manner throughout. We are also quite satisfied that at the time of the incident there was no visible indication that photography was prohibited at Intu Derby although, for understandable reasons, that might not be the same situation now.

The Wilderslowe Tower at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.
On the morning of Monday, 8th June 2015 Matt and his friend Steffan were taking photographs and video footage from Intu Derby's public roof-top car park. The car park provided the ideal vantage point to view the soon-to-be demolished Wilderslowe Tower, which stands in the grounds of Derbyshire Royal Infirmary only a few hundred yards to the south. Audio footage recorded at the time confirms Matt's interest in the Wilderslowe Tower and the changing shape of Derby's skyline.

Matt has a general interest in the old Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, as he has previously undertaken several "urban exploration" visits to the abandoned site. During one such visit he found confidential patient medical records strewn across the floor, which was subsequently reported by the local media.

A security guard noticed the pair filming over the barrier at the edge of the car park and approached to ask what they were doing. The guard, displaying the name Darran on his badge, asked Matt and Steffan to stop filming and present their ID. Matt and Steffan carried about their business, seemingly unperturbed by the security man's presence.

Security guard Darren challenges Matt and Steffan about taking photographs from Intu Derby's roof-top car park.
Matt, being a bit of a joker, unsuccessfully tried his Jedi mind tricks on guard Darran, as shown in a preview video currently available on his YouTube channel. The security man, who had just been speaking on his radio, asked if he could view the photos they had taken. He astutely deduced "you obviously like taking photos, with all that equipment you've got". The pair then edged towards the level 7 stairwell, with guard Darran following them downstairs to the level 2 shopping centre. Having descended several flights of stairs Matt and Steffan sat down for a few moments, which allowed their pursuers to catch their breath. Fortuitously, given the events about to unfold, they had decided to keep their cameras rolling.

Intu Derby security guard Mark.
A minute or so later shaven-headed security guard Mark strolled across and informed the pair that "the police are coming to check you out". Steffan could be heard asking why, to which the guard Mark replied something about the car park and "we don't know who you are". A few more seconds later Matt got to his feet and started to walk towards the exit, at which point guard Mark grabbed him by the arm.

Matt was understandably aggrieved at being manhandled, but somehow managed to maintain his composure. "Woah, woah, woah - you have no powers to detain me and you have no right to touch me", he protested to guard Mark. In the background guard Darran wrongly replied that his follicly-challenged colleague did have the right to detain Matt and Steffan. He could also be heard telling Matt "you're not leaving the centre".

Security guard Stuart forcefully grabs Matt by the arm and leads him to a staff-only area.
It was at the point that grey-bearded guard Stuart strolled onto the scene. He reiterated that Matt and Stefan would not be leaving and were being detained until the police arrived. Matt made a second attempt to walk away, at which point Stuart forcibly grabbed his arm and frogmarched him behind a staff-only door.

Matt told guard Stuart to "get off me" and warned "you are going to see some serious bother for this", but at all times he remained calm and civil. In the enclosed staff-only area guard Stuart was seen to push Matt against the wall and reiterated that was being detained until the police arrived. A few moments later Matt again tried to leave, but was grabbed and pushed back inside the room by guard Stuart.

Security guard Stuart pushes Matt back against a wall.
Moments later Matt was escorted back through the public shopping centre towards a second staff-only area where Steffan was being held by three guards (guard Mark, guard Darran, plus another). Matt asked guard Stuart "have I committed any crimes?", to which he replied "we'll see when the police get here". Guard Stuart then falsely claimed that "there's big signs on the door when you come in here (saying) no photography, no cameras". Both photographers again stressed their desire to leave the shopping centre, which was refused by the four guards now present.

After what must have been an uncomfortable 5 or 6 minutes the police eventually arrived and quickly established that Matt and Steffan had been photographing the old Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site from the shopping centre's roof-top car park. 

Police officers arrive at Intu Derby to speak to Matt and Steffan.
The male officer took Matt's details and his female colleague dealt with Steffan. After a few checks the police were satisfied that no criminal offences had been committed and explained that Intu had decided to ban Matt and Steffan from its premises for a period of 2 years. It was at this point that Matt attempted to report guard Stuart for assault, but the male police officer didn't seem interested in taking his complaint.

The pair were then escorted out of the shopping centre by guard Mark and went straight to St Mary's Wharf police station to report guard Stuart's behaviour and provide copies of their video evidence. The police have also requested Intu Derby's own CCTV footage and are currently investigating Matt's complaint.

Signs on the external doors of Intu Derby made no mention of photography being prohibited.
We have serious concerns about the manner in which Intu Derby's security staff handled this incident. Whilst it may, in certain limited circumstances, be acceptable for private security to detain a person they reasonably suspect of committing a criminal offence, it is not legally acceptable to manhandle members of the public simply for taking photographs or video footage. Such actions, in our opinion, were a gross overreaction, clear abuse of authority and unlawful assault.

Given the amount of photography equipment Matt and Steffan were carrying, there can be little doubt about the innocuous purpose of their visit to Intu Derby that morning. There is no suggestion whatsoever that the pair were acting suspiciously or committed any criminal offences during their visit. They were simply pointing their cameras at the Wilderslowe Tower and clicking away.

Matt and Steffan are to be commended for the passive manner in which they interacted with the aggressive Intu Derby security staff. At no point did either of them raise their voices, use any sort of abusive language or threatening behaviour. If anything both remained very calm and polite considering the circumstances.

We actively encourage anyone with a camera to make a point of taking photos and video footage in Intu shopping centres around the UK.


Anonymous said...

I am fairly sure Matt has the proper advice he needs,
but for interested people http://www.inbrief.co.uk/employees/being-a-security-guard.htm makes interesting reading.

I'd say the security staff are going to have a few difficulties.

Also the male policeman refusing to take a complaint is grounds for making a complaint eg discreditable conduct, dereliction of duty for ignoring an actual assault.

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon.
I'm confident you're right that the security staff in this case will be facing difficulties over this matter.
I fully expect Intu to try to deflect the incoming fire, but they're going to be struggling - the full 36 minute video is exactly as described.

Mustapha Pee said...

Have Intu given Matt notice of banning in writing? If nto, no legal standing

Admin said...

Yes, both of them received a written notice.
They were handed it as they were finally escorted out of the centre.

Anonymous said...

This should be pushed to the bitter end.

The security guards should be prosecuted for assault and their employer sued.

If the Police won't do their job, then formal complaints should be made against them. Mention Misfeasance in Public Office.

Anonymous said...

If the Police refuse to take a complaint and ignore assault then that is Misconduct in a Public Office, which carries severe consequences for those in a public office.

Anonymous said...

the sia train people to be like robots but they also train you not to grab and corner a person!

this is illegal and breaches the human rights etc. and opens the door for a lot of action for which the security guard is not covered.

THE SIA are like the NHS bully boys.

Anonymous said...

Kidnap in England and Wales. A definition.

Kidnapping is an offence under the common law of England and Wales.

In R v D,[1] Lord Brandon said:

First, the nature of the offence is an attack on, and infringement of, the personal liberty of an individual. Secondly, the offence contains four ingredients as follows: (1) the taking or carrying away of one person by another; (2) by force or fraud; (3) without the consent of the person so taken or carried away; and (4) without lawful excuse.[2]

Admin said...

I can add that Intu has been in touch with Matt and indicated a desire to discuss his complaint.
Matt has indicated his desire to pursue the matter with police and courts.

Matt Williams said...

Intu Properties plc have confirmed those involved have been suspended until the results of the investigation are known.

Admin said...

Thanks for the update Matt.
I'm sure intu would be of the opinion that suspension in no way confirms/acknowledges any wrongdoing on the part of its staff, but it does suggest they are taking matters seriously and considering your complaint carefully. The police are still doing the same.
Our readers heard it here first!

Anonymous said...

"Mark grabbed him by the arm"

That is assault

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading after you called the security guard "pear-shaped". Did his body shape influence this? What if he was black or disabled or whatever feature our media deems suitably demeaning at the time? I was showing great interest in this case until you made me feel inferior because of my size. YES I'm fat and pear-shaped, get over it. I still know right from wrong and, you've just lost a moral supporter.
Yours faithfully,

Anonymous said...

What's the latest on this?

Admin said...

Will try to get an update from Matt, but as I understand it the police were dragging their feet as much as possible.

Steffan Page said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Admin said...

Many thanks for the update Steffan. I was in touch with Matt a few days ago and he indicated that the decision was imminent.
Shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Derbyshire Police are back-scuttling Intu, just as they'd do with TV Licensing.

Anonymous said...

The Detective Chief Inspector has NOT made the final decision on this matter. Steff you've posted something that isn't true.

Big Jim Slade said...

Looks like Matt's got a fan!

It relates to the Sainsbury's incident, but has some good answers regarding what the "authorities" can and can't do about people filming.

Big Jim Slade said...

Sorry forgot the link:


FOI request to Staffordshire Police from 16th March 2016, with response on 7th April. "PCSO Powers. re: Photography/videography"

Anonymous said...

There are signs up. There orange, and fitted to the walls on either side of each of the entrance doors, there not on the front door stickers. They've been up for a few years, presumably for security and because of the children's attractions in the centre.
On the one hand the security were not very effective, but the camera users could have been helpful too. I'm curious how people would feel if they'd been taking photos in the bathroom for example, something the security guards couldn't know.

Admin said...

People would rightly be outraged if they were taking photos in the public toilets, but they weren't doing that.
They were quite clearly and openly taking photographs from the car park across to the old DRI site. Nothing more sinister than that.
Did you know Intu offered a compensation payment and lifted the ban from the centre?