From time to time, people raise the matter of what they are allowed to photograph or what they are forbidden from photographing. We have posted on this topic previously but thought it worth mentioning again. In a nutshell, you are allowed to photograph what and who you like, if you are in a public place. No-one has the right, and that includes a police officer, to confiscate your camera; ask you to stop taking photographs; or delete any photos from your memory card. The only exception would be if a person was suspected of terrorist activities and even then, further confirmation would be needed before any action could be taken.
The question here to ask is, what constitutes a public place? For example a shopping centre, whilst a public place in terms of usage, is actually privately owned so does not constitute a public place. Some places, such as The Trafford Centre have in the past welcomed photographers but may require advanced notice if SLR’s and tripods are being used in groups.
Otherwise it is generally a question of being courteous and thoughtful. There might be a very good reason why a parent may not wish their child to be photographed, even indirectly. I have worked in a school with pupils ranging from Reception Class up to Further Education level and know that for some children in care, it is a sensitive issue if their natural parents have no contact with the child.
So consideration is the key – and sometimes just a friendly word of explanation, but otherwise you have your rights. Take a look at this paper created by the Metropolitan Police: http://content.met.police.uk/Site/photographyadvice