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to have reported this man

(17 Posts)
Saker Fri 17-May-13 18:28:35

Just dropped DS1 at dance class. Outside is a small playground with railings round it and a few children playing on the roundabout. There is a man standing outside the railings filming them. I couldn't see him brilliantly because I was in the driving seat of the car and had my back to him, but I didn't see him talking or interacting with them at all and they didn't seem to be taking any notice of him. I watched him for a minute and he seemed to be moving away then he came back again. Anyway, I thought it was probably nothing and drove off. I drove round the corner and started to worry that he could be up to no good, so I pulled over and contacted the police on 101. They are going to check it out, but now I am feeling guilty that I could be getting some perfectly innocent father or grandfather just filming his kids into trouble/ embarassment. Should I have approached him myself first and asked what he was doing? Do you think I overreacted?

MortifiedAdams Fri 17-May-13 18:32:27

If he was a parent/grandparent surely he would be in the playground? You did the right thing. It might be nothing. Or you might hear on the news in a week that a child has been abducted from that playground.

Not everyone is a paedophile or a murderer but if in doubt, get it checked out.

Saker Fri 17-May-13 18:35:14

Thanks, it was the standing outside of the railings that made me suspicious. Plus the kids were on the older side - 8-10 - by which time most parents wouldn't be filming them messing about on the roundabout.

towicymru Fri 17-May-13 18:44:37

You did the fit thing reporting - if it is innocent, no harm done!

I will say though that a few years ago my Dad went back to the town In Ireland that he is from for the first time in years and decided to take photos of the school he used to go to to show the grandchildren (until one of his relatives pointed out that it could look suspicious!!). My Dad would rather have been questioned by the police than someone not report something 'suspicious' and a child go missing.

Wouldntyouliketoknow Fri 17-May-13 19:13:32

Yup, I think you're right - if he knew one of the children presumably he would be in the playground interacting with them.

Probably good you didn't speak to him as it might've scared him off before the police could come.

MrsDWinchester Fri 17-May-13 19:16:21

You definitely did the right thing. If you hadn't phoned the police then you would have driven yourself mad worrying about it.

MrsDWinchester Fri 17-May-13 19:22:08

Meant to add, if this man was there for a valid reason then he wouldn't have a problem explaining himself to the police. Any decent family member would understand how important safety is.

However, he sounds very dodgy to me from what you have described. In this day and age you can't be too careful.

Sheshelob Fri 17-May-13 19:23:43

Why didn't you go and ask him what he was doing?

MrsDWinchester Fri 17-May-13 19:34:29

I think Saker did the right thing by not asking the man what he was doing. If he had been up to no good then her approaching him would have scared him away.

This way the police would be able to go and check up on the situation. If you have a feeling that something isn't right then it's good to act on that.

Sheshelob Fri 17-May-13 19:37:45

I dunno. I would have approached him. There is no saying the police would actually turn up. At least he would have been confronted and if innocent, it would have been nipped in the bud.

miffybun73 Fri 17-May-13 19:40:15

YANBU, filming through the railings - just weird sad

rainbowslollipops Fri 17-May-13 20:42:08

you say you feel guilty about maybe getting some innocent father into trouble, look at the flip side, you could also be helping to stop a paedophile.

buswanker Fri 17-May-13 20:46:10

To tell the police and post on here I would think you didn't have a silly moment and report him, you had a gut feeling, a bad one.
You did the right thing.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 17-May-13 20:53:33

Years ago, a work colleague of mine told me about being in Lakeside, with his DD (who was then about 4.) She wanted some toy or other in the toyshop, and he refused to buy it for her on the grounds that it wasn't her birthday and this was somethign quite elaborate and expensive. The DD had a massive tanty, to the point that he picked her up and carried her out of the shop, and she began to scream, 'I hate you, put me down, I want my mummy!' At which point a woman came up and asked him what he was doing with 'that child', and called a security guard over. The colleague luckily had family photos in his wallet was able to demonstrate that he was in fact the DD's father.

The point is, he said, he didn't mind in the least, because if someone had been abducting his DD he would like to think that people would have intervened.

Saker Fri 17-May-13 22:01:15

Thanks for the support. An update: the police phoned me back - they did go and neither the man or the children were there any longer. They were very nice though and said it was good I had reported it and they were going over there to look at the CCTV footage tomorrow.
I had to pick Ds1 up later and I got out and had a look at the playground. The place where the man was standing was actually some considerable distance from the roundabout so it certainly was an odd place to film from. Anyway the police said they would let me know if anything came of it, but from the position of the CCTV (pointing at the ground) when I picked DS1 up, I doubt they will see much!

Saker Fri 17-May-13 22:04:44

SGB - your story reminds me of the scene in Outnumbered where the father has to carry tantruming Ben out of a shop and he is screaming "stranger danger" and everyone is looking at them while the father is desperately trying to explain he is his parent.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 21-May-13 11:21:30

It's possible that the man was doing something like shooting 'generic' pictures of children playing for a brochure or storybook and was standing far enough back to make sure he didn't get an identifiable shot of an individual child. Though if he was, he's a rank amateur; professional photographers who wanted pictures like that would be dripping with ID and CRB checks and would be running round the playground asking permission from all the parents, even if they didn't go so far as to book a load of child models and stage the shoot.

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