A swimming gala in Wales banned any photographs being taken of children in their bathing costumes – even by their parents.
Organisers of the Welsh youth movement gala in Swansea stopped the use of all cameras at the poolside and told parents they could only take pictures of their children after they were dressed.
The move prompted the South Wales Evening Post in its leader column to argue that the organisers were taking precautions against paedophiles to extremes.
It agreed paedophiles were a serious problem, but warned against the dangers of seeing them around every corner.
“That road leads to wrongful accusations and so-called witch hunts,” it argued. “We must continue to tell our children to be alert to evil men. But we cannot take things to extremes.”
The leader questioned how banning parents from taking pictures of their children in swimming costumes was supposed to protect the children.
“Taking the argument further,” it said, “the case could be made for ensuring children are fully clothed on the beach. Perhaps it would be safer to ban them from swimming and other sporting events altogether. That would obviously be taking things too far. Yet worryingly it would be the next logical step.”
The Welsh youth movement, known as Urdd in Welsh, has put pictures of the fully clothed youngsters with their medals on its own website, but has not used their names.
Chief executive Jim O’Rourke told the Evening Post: “We have to protect children taking part in activities from the sort of people who may have an improper interest. A paedophile who was there [at the gala] could identify the name and the face of a child and could decide to target them.
“We have to reduce the opportunity for someone to relate a name to a face and identify which community a child lives in and then try to build a relationship with the child.”