This is going to be a different sort of post than what is usually in this sub-forum as no shop lifting took place. However later in the post there is some content relating to a medical condition which might put people off eating so please don't read if you've just eaten, are eating or just about to...
Yesterday I went to do a network cable installation for a friend and needed to get the train home. I was thinking the train refreshments trolley was likely going to be a no-show so decided to nip into Tesco for a sandwich and coffee.
As I entered the store the Tag Alarm sounded, this is something that happens to me frequently so I didn't react. I selected my sandwich, some Pringles and a Costa Latte. Walked to the till, Clubcard Accepted and payment made. The till offered me a receipt and for some reason one of my voices (I have Schizophrenia) told me to press Yes. For sandwiches I don't normally bother as it's a waste of paper.
Went to the exit and a security guard offered a farewell, I responded in kind and exited the store, again the alarm sounded. I proceeded to use the Cash Point right outside and as I was doing so the security guard approached me about the alarm.
They asked to see my receipt which I turned over without argument and to search my backpack which I declined for good reason. I also explained the alarm sounded when I walked in to which they responded "I didn't hear it because I was on my break" They asked me to return inside to which I also declined. I explained I had a train to catch, it was the last service of the day, so missing it simply wasn't happening.
At this point I was just about to bid them farewell and walk away. I hadn't stolen anything, CCTV would prove that. The security guard hadn't completed a SCONE assessment by their own admission. I think I would've been well within my rights to walk away and on a bad physical health and/or bad mental health sort of day I probably would've done.
However at this point I didn't really want to give them the impression I had stolen something so I opened a slight part of my backpack to show the sandwich and pringles. They handed me back my receipt and "hope you will be a little more cooperative in future as I'm just a person doing my job" and then wished me a safe journey.
The main reason for this post was to better understand ones permissible actions in situations where they are 'apprehended' or 'approached' by security but have committed no act of theft or any act of crime at all for that matter... I have some understanding on this from pursuing my hobby/somewhat obsession of the Railway and taking photos/videos in public of trains etc. However I'm not sure how things like PACE or Stop and Search work in cases like this.
An obvious question that some might now be thinking is "Why don't you just allow the search and be on your way" and that is a very valid point which I will declare in some anonymity on an internet forum but would want to hide from random people I don't know in public.
I have incontinence and as such I carry a small washbag in my backpack that contains spare underwear, continence pads, wet wipes etc. It also contains a dirty bag for soiled underwear which on the visit in question was filled... Just imagine if someone had opened that on the shop floor how I or indeed anyone else would feel/react? Not to mention the health risk involved...
I had surgery for the same condition that has left permanent nerve damage at one of the incision sites which makes any touch or brush of this area extremely painful. So being patted down wouldn't be a fantastic part of the day.
Inside my backpack I also had some "tools of the trade" including some screwdrivers, drill bits, screw bits, RJ45 Crimpers, IDT Punchdown and a pair of very sharp cable cutters. These were all inside another separate zippable pouch thing for reasons which should be obvious. I must stress this isn't something I usually carry around just to go to the shop. Since I had to go into hospital some years ago that kit very rarely if ever leaves the house. But I had it with me today because I terminated 2 CAT6 Network Cable Socket runs.
They say a workman knows his tools... I know those cable cutters well enough from bitter personal experience to know that if you accidentally catch your finger or the bit between your thumb and index finger inside you're going to have a very bad day.
So another reason why I declined the search as I don't really want someone to rummage around inside my backpack, get some very nasty surprises.
This leads me to the conclusion of what a person can expect in such a confrontation and more importantly things they may or may not be entitled to ask for or do.
In a situation where you know that SCONE could NOT have been satisfied, and the only thing that drew the attention of security was an Alarm, would you be within your rights to politely decline further scrutiny and walk away if challenged? Especially if you had fully exited the store in question and had NOT stolen any goods or all goods were paid for?
Or would you likely be detained and taken to a dark shady room out the back?
Lets assume you are detained and taken out the back. Again this is purely for someone who has NOT stolen goods. What should one expect and what are they obliged to do?
Do you have to give your name and address and under which legal grounds would this be? (So I can read up further on this area of law)
I'm guessing anything in this room would take place under PACE so would one be within their rights to make a "no comment without legal counsel" response? Or does it not work like this?
How do security personnel adjust to people with disabilities and/or mental health conditions?
Is one at this point allowed to decline bag and person searches, specifically on medical ground. Although in a private room the embarrassment factor is lessened, it's still there and I'm made very much aware of that if you catch my drift...
Also if the till offers a receipt but you declined to accept it (Like I do because I don't like wasting paper just for a £1.50 sandwich) how can you explain the goods are paid for but you didn't take a receipt? I assume the Till Server would still have it in their logs?
Thanks for bearing with me in this long post. Something about me sets these alarms off on a regular basis, I have been trying to work out what exactly causes it when I go to my local Tesco by taking and leaving different possessions. I'm beginning to wonder if it's something in relation to the surgery I had... This all started not long after...
Today is the most amount of scrutiny I've faced and I know one day I'll come across "That Guy" who sets out from home and just wants to ruin your day. So I'm just looking for reassurance of what is the done and not done things because I'm well aware this will happen to me eventually.
Having to deal with a mental health condition like Psychosis and a condition like Incontinence is not an easy task. I'm not looking for any sympathy and to be blunt I don't want any. I do ask for a tiny bit of understanding though whenever I go out. But sadly I've noticed with everything else I'm leaving the house less and less and avoiding contact with just about anyone anywhere. So I think if I knew what to do assuming a false accusation I might feel better about going out again.
Happy to take questions and / or constructive criticism.
As for being uncooperative last night... I got my Karma... Train DID have a refreshments trolley and a lovely 87 minute delay
Happy Early Halloween