On 22nd December on our way up for a few days break in Dumbarton we decided to visit the Braehead Shopping Centre. We had not been there before and unlike most people, living in the far SW of Scotland (they have yet to reach Stranraer!), they are a bit of a novelty. Although all of of Christmas shopping had been done online we thought we may just find a few stocking fillers but the main reason was to soak up the Christmas atmosphere and see the Xmas decorations-
A BIG MISTAKE!!!
We took our cameras with us as we didnt want to leave them in the car, but our intention was not to take photos. We browsed the lower floor and then the upper floor, the decorations were quite pretty in the centre hanging from the roof, so I decide to get my camera out and take a few photos. As soon as I got my DSLR out of my shoulder bag a security guard appeared from nowhere and told me I was not allowed to take photos in the centre. Although I was a little miffed by this as I saw no difference in taking pictures in a high street, I accepted that it was Centre policy and put my camera back in my bag without even pressing the shutter and thought this was the end of the matter.
Having seen most of the centre and not able to get our bearings inside we went back out into the cold to see if we could reach Ikea without changing carparks and we also wanted to see if we could see the River Clyde as the centre is alongside the river. We walked the length of the centre, outside and saw that Ikea was a bit far in the cold but we could get to the river, we took a few shots (see below) by the river near the Clydebuilt Museum, which was closed. We then turned to walk back towards the shopping centre as the light was starting to fade and it was bitterly cold.
We were then approached by the same security guard that had stopped us in the centre. He told us that we were not able to take pictures outside either, which shocked us as we werent in the carpark even. He then asked us what pictures we had taken in the shopping centre, as I hadnt taken any I offered to show him the full sequence of shots on the camera just to prove it, I also offered to delete any shots he was not happy with but he agreed they were ok and left us.
As it was so cold and we thought we had proved our innocence (of what I dont know!), we stupidly walked back through the centre to reach our car which was parked at the other end. We did not stop to look at anything or buy the items we had considered going back to buy as by now we were pretty upset and rattled by the fact that we had probably been tracked on security cameras all around and even outside the centre. As we left we turned and saw that we were actually being escorted (all be it at a distance!) by the security guard!
I have always welcomed cctv as I have got nother to hide but now I have my doubts and can see how someone can get framed. As we saw others taking photos without being approached, I feel that we were totally victimised, although why, I dont know as we never got an explanation. I do realise that security was high pre Christmas, but we are white, middle aged and middle class and while the security guard and cctv operators were obsessed with us probably someone else got away with a crime. Perhaps it was our English accents, I dont know!
We will certainly not be returning to Braehead ever, it spoilt our break and has troubled us ever since.
Here is a selection of the shots I took, I did take a few more but they were just different agles of the same view. Remember I was not meant to take these shots!