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Photography in the Overgate
Off to Dundee for a shopping trip today. We parked in the Overgate Centre car park; while Andrew locked up the car I looked out the side of the multistory and took a couple of photos of the roofline of the building opposite. Nothing too thrilling, but when I have a camera in my pocket, I’ll point it at things and snap away.


Ten minutes later, as we came out of a shop, I was approached by a couple of red-shirted security staff, who asked me what I’d been photographing. Being somewhat bemused by their query, I asked what the problem was, and they told me that photography is banned in the Overgate Centre, that the carpark comes under that rule too, and that I’d been invading the privacy of the people who live in the flats opposite. I’d apparently been observed on CCTV using my iPhone as a camera. I asked how I should have known that photography was banned, and was told that there were signs at the entrances to the shopping centre.

I told the red-shirts that they were being rather silly, and wandered off to see if I could find an anti-photography sign by the doors. I couldn’t find any such sign, but while I was standing outside the Overgate, I took a photo of the sign on the doors showing what was banned. At which point a red-shirt approached me and told me that I wasn’t allowed to take a photo of the Overgate Centre doors.

I told the chappie not to be silly, as I was outside the Overgate so the (mythical) rule about photography didn’t apply. I asked if he had a copy of the rules, and he told me that no, they didn’t have the rules, but if I wrote to the shopping centre they could confirm that photography was banned. He got a bit stroppy with me, so I took a photo of him and called him an oik, which was rude of me, but factually true. He then called me an oik, which I found rather amusing.

I gave up and wandered up the High Street.

Edited to add: I wrote to the Overgate, asking for a copy of their rules, and received no answer.

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He then called me an oik

Well, if they employ children then you can only expect childish behaviour.

You're probably down on somebody's database now as a potential terrorist.

It might be worth raising with Dundee City Council. While it's reasonable that you might be challenged if they genuinely thought you could be invading the privacy of their neighbours (for which they might bear some indirect responsibility), the rest is barking.

The councillors for the Overgate appear to be Elizabeth Fordyce (SNP), Ken Lynn (SNP), and Craig Melville (SNP), while the MSP is Joe Fitzpatrick (SNP).

Edited at 2011-01-29 11:29 pm (UTC)

Agreed, particularly as there aren't any clear signs telling you that you can take photos.

Thanks for the info. I’ve written to the Overgate, asking for clarification of their position on photography in the shopping centre, and asking for a copy of the rules that the security guard referred to. I’ll take it further once I get a response.

It certainly is absurd, but apparently not new: back around the time the Starbucks there first opened, the central Starbucks PR people came to take photographs of their newest outlet for obvious reasons. Their corporate photography team was accosted by red-clad oikdom, presumably concerned about poor little Starbucks having its corporate privacy violated by Starbucks.

I get the impression the redshirt gave up at "don't be silly" rather than proceeding to "which of us pays Overgate six figures in rent, and which would be easier to replace?", but either way the photographs were taken.

It all goes to confirm that good security staff are hard to find, which is presumably why the Overgate haven't managed it yet.

The real downside to the experience was Andrew feeling unhappy for the next few hours. He doesn’t react well to confrontation, and I think he was dreading returning to the Overgate to collect his car.

What rubbish! the last time I had this was outside a Tunisian govt. building not in the UK!

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