A walk around the perimeter of the Olympic site on Saturday revealed the enormous changes that have taken place in East London in preparation for the 2012 Games. It also revealed the unwelcome actions of security personnel employed by G4S on behalf of the London Olmpics.
There were four photo journalists and a video journalist in our group that attempted the walk. Halfway on the journey, near the vehicle entrance to Westfield, where the footpath and cycle suddenly ends without any indication of where one should safely traverse the roads, a security guard began shouting at us as we tried to find a safe way around the site. The guard strode towards us, hand outstretched, attempting to prohibit any photography by anyone of us. We were all carrying cameras, so any attempt to stop photographs or video was be a futile and useless task.
We were all stood on public land, where apparently G4S and private security have no legal rights to interfere with anybody.
After a heated discussion, the area we were discouraged from photographing, the booths and vehicle entrance to a shopping centre (where one assumes and hopes any sensitive material is hidden from public view), became the setting for lengthy discussions over our legal standpoint and the inevitable arrival of the police. During the discussions, we learned that guards actively deter people from taking photographs, despite the fact that they have no legal power to do so. The police, as is now more frequently the case, acted with politeness, civility and professionalism and affirmed our position as law abiding citizens who were entitled to take photographs from public land.