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Photographers air concerns over Olympics security

The National Union of Journalists London Photographers’ branch is to hold a meeting over concerns about excessive security measures at the Olympic Games.

The meeting entitled ‘Olympic Concerns: Preparing photographers for London 2012′ takes place on Tuesday 29 May and follows  a number of incidents involving security staff stopping journalists from taking photos outside the venue.

The branch says there has been several high profile incidents around the Olympic venues and throughout the capital in recent months with one photographer stopped from taking pictures of the Thames cable car after being told by a security guard that ‘people had been taking advantage’.

Last month, chair of the branch, Jess Hurd and four colleagues were stopped by security staff while walking around the outside of the stadium to see if their fears were justified.

Said Jess: “It’s just complete paranoia. We have an issue with security guards not knowing the law, but believing they are above the law. We have definitely seen a rise in stops in the run-up to the games.”

On its website the branch states: “As laws are increased, terrorist alerts are raised to ‘severe’ and the country comes under the biggest security operation since World War Two.

“As cases of photography restrictions have hit the news, so more cases are coming to light, from architecture students being confronted by a group of private security officers to a photojournalist being jailed for seven days, accused for breaching a protest-ban injunction while documenting construction work for Games Monitor.”

The meeting, which will include a discussion and debate with Bindmans human rights lawyer Chez Cotton, will take place at 6pm at the NUJ’s headquarters, Headland House on Gray’s Inn Road.