shiny boundary [deleted] 7:02am, 5 May 2006
Following the experiences of people here and people I know personally, whilst taking photos at Canary Wharf, I contacted the management at Canary Wharf about this, and received the following reply which may be of interest to people here:

"I am responsible for security on the Canary Wharf Estate and am extremely concerned at your suggestions of 'hassle' and 'assault'. You are correct in your assumption that the Estate is private property, to which members of the public are generally permitted access. There are numerous signs throughout the complex, advising of the fact that the Estate is private property and not a public right of way. That said, Canary Wharf Group welcomes visitors, whether they be workers, shoppers, tourists or photographers, but obviously retains the right, under civil law, to question and, if necessary, eject, individuals suspected of criminal, anti-social or prohibited activity.

Photography is not banned on the Estate and therefore there are no signs advising of its prohibition. However, professional photography is only permitted with our permission and when granted, a permit is issued. Amateur photography is welcomed but, in the light of the current extremely high threat from terrorism, photographers may be questioned by security staff. Once satisfied with their legitimacy, security personnel will permit the photography to continue and I am very disappointed at your comments about the threats to confiscate the memory card or delete the photos.

Whilst I have, in the past, received a small number of queries regarding the questioning of visitors to the Estate by security personnel, this is the first time that I have heard of threats. If you can give me specific occurrences, I will investigate.

The Metropolitan Police are fully aware of our activities, aimed at combating the threat from terrorism and, provided that my staff are polite and provide an explanation for their actions, are comfortable with our approach.

I acknowledge that photographers are more likely to be challenged at Canary Wharf than in many other areas of London, if only because there are private security personnel on the Estate. I have to find the balance between providing a welcoming environment and also ensuring safety and security and it is extremely difficult to satisfy everybody.

Please be assured that there is no intention to hassle or assault and I regret if you or your acquaintances feel that to be the case."

I have asked for more clarification, particularly on how his staff define "professional photography". Any further responses shall be posted back.
bbodien 15 years ago
Excellent work, it would appear that the guards themselves are going a bit rogue then.

I was told that I couldn't use a tripod by two guards when I went there late last year. There ought to be a better way of distinguishing between professional and amateur shooters though. Is a person's word that they're just a hobbyist enough?
photosam 15 years ago
Could you ask if there's some way to apply for a permit to use a tripod? A photo-pass or similar would be very useful.

Thanks for doing this.
LoopZilla Posted 15 years ago. Edited by LoopZilla (member) 14 years ago
The Metropolitan Police are fully aware of our activities, aimed at combating the threat from terrorism and, provided that my staff are polite and provide an explanation for their actions, are comfortable with our approach.

Moot point. I have been questioned by both the Police (at Westferry, next to Limehouse Police Station, taking a night shot in fog of the main towers) and the Canary Wharf security staff (on several occasions). I was told by CW security staff that there is no photography allowed at No 1 Canada Square (in the foyer).
Destinys Agent Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Destinys Agent (member) 13 years ago
I was challenged by security last year while I set up my tripod and shot The Reuters Jumbotron (Large TV Screen) and Reuters Head Office (30 South Colonnade)

The security guard told me I couldn't shoot Canary Wharf without a permit. I explained that I wasn't actually shooting the tower, rather the Reuters screen and building. He stopped hastling me after a few minutes.

How does one get a permit exactly?
bbodien 14 years ago
You can contact the canary wharf estate office directly, who should be able to sort you out with a permit.

You will have to specify your equipment, and the date/times/areas you will be shooting.
chalkie 14 years ago
It's not just security at Canary Wharf that are problematic, but the Met Police. I was detained and questioned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act by a PCSO outside Canary Wharf tube last year. My flatmate is also in the Met and he told me PCSO's were not allowed to do this unless they were directly supervised, which was not the case in this instance. As he (the PCSO) acted illegally and had I had ill-intent and/or commited an attrocity I would've got away with it on a technicality. Once I learned this I wrote to the IPCC and the local Borough Commander to complain, but neither have had the courtesy to reply. Maybe it's time to have a chat with my MP ;o)

On a similar tack, the Citypoint building is also a place they don't like you pointing a camera, which is ironic as the landlord/owners are a major patron of the arts in the area! I was severely intimidated by 2 sets of security there one Sunday last year. A point to note here, especially with places like Citypoint, is that security guards from offices in a complex made up of a number of companies have no say unless they can prove they are actually acting on behalf of the landlord, so if you do get challenged it's worth establishing who they actually represent .
leica0000 14 years ago
Might be worth sending a link to this thread to Amateur Photographer, as they've been campaigning for photographers' rights quite a lot.
Danny McL Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Danny McL (member) 14 years ago
Similar problems in the City...

No photos!
crashcalloway 14 years ago
I was in Canary Wharf yesterday (Sunday) and took many, many photo's of the buildings there. Only when I wanted to get a really close up shot of reflections in a window was I warned by a 'Security Guard' that 'they don't like pictures of the outside of the building being taken' so I said 'Ok' and went on my way. It was only because he was turning the corner and saw me at the time. I had no idea that Canary Wharf was Private Property and after speaking to a Black Cab driver friend of mine today (who was amazed that I took the pictures I did without being challanged by anyone) he said even Black Cab drivers are viewed with suspicion in Canary Wharf. He says it's the only place where he has to regularly has to show his 'ticket'.
Bryan in NYC 14 years ago
I've just spent the afternoon at Docklands taking hundreds (lit. 434) of shots, with no hassle at all. I'm using a Nikon D80, and I have a nice bag for it, so I suppose I might even 'look' a little professional (even if my shots don't ;-).

I have been hassled in the city by private security, and in Greenwich park of all places, by the police. Both times once I'd confirmed that the photos were for personal use I had no problems. In fact, in the city, the security guard gave me a 20 minute tour of the estate.

Mind you, I am an aggressive looking skin-head, so perhaps this has helped :-)
ruaridh connellan 14 years ago
i was hassled by security constantly when i was there last.
Le Shann 14 years ago
Personally I don't see how they can justify this by terrorist threats.

I mean, seriously, if you really want to take a picture, you can, and if their security is in danger because of a photograph of the outside of the building, why not ban all photography at all?

Anyway, living in CW, I have many occasions to try to take pictures, so I'll always find a way.
zippy record [deleted] 12 years ago
What I'm not sure about is under what law they are seeking to prevent you from taking photographs in any circumstance. Why are professionals not allowed to take pictures without permission?

I've been reading Beyond the Lens and as far as I can see, even though it is legally private property, it seems to me to be a public space since there is no attempt made to limit entry and there is no provision of terms and conditions on entry. From my reading I understand that the only restriction placed on public spaces is if the building is trademarked, but very few are worldwide.

Does anyone know what the legal standing of this prohibition might be? I'm writing an essay on issues related to privacy and would be interested to know. I may be contacting the AOP and Canary Wharf to find an answer and I will try and write a response if I find any further info.
bbodien 12 years ago
Because it's private land, there is no public right of way. You're only allowed to walk through it because they provide permission to do so. Obviously it would be daft for them to close it all off and impossible to control access given the flow of people in and out of the estate each business day, but that's still the legal position.

And since it's private property, their rules go. You don't have the same rights as you do on public land.
I asked a police officer if I was allowed to take pictures with my tripod, he explained to me that I was allowed to do this but just be a little careful that pedestrians don't trip up over the tripod.
I came back in the evening, set up my tripod, ready to click away, when a man in a suit approached me and asked if I had permission,
I told him that the police had given me permission, he said that the police had no rights to give me permission as this is private property.
I am now standing in the middle of Canary wharf at 8.30pm with my tripod set up but was told that if I wanted to use my tripod,
I would have to came back to between Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am - 5.30pm go to the reception and request a permission slip.
I am allowed to take pictures but if I want to use my tripod, I would need a piece of paper telling that its all good. This country has lost the plot.
Xposure100 6 years ago
Hey All

I work in canary wharf, and at lunch times I go around taking photo's around the estate, so I emailed Canary Wharf press office and they gave me the following reply:

"If your images are not being used for commercial purposes you do not need a permit.

Use of a camera and tripod is fine. Please do not photography building entrances or security arrangements.
You may want to print this email to show our security team if requested."

Hope this helps clear things up.
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