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Stealing a tissue from Sainsburys?


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Hi im new but have a query......

My partner was shopping in Sainsburys with my two year old son, who had a runny nose, so on seeing an ALREADY OPENED packet of tissues, he took one tissue and wiped my sons nose. On getting to the till and paying for his shopping he was verbally attacked by the security guard, who demanded he pay for the tissue! When he refused to, the security guard grabbed my partners arm, (and may I just say my partner is disabled and suffers from a serious illness) as if he were a thief or something....in front of my two year old son! When my partner shook the guards arm off of him, he then ‘fell down’ and claimed that my partner had assaulted him! And called the police, who, after looking at CCTV, decided that my partner did not assault the guard. And let him go.

 

My partner is now experiencing pain where the guard grabbed him and my son has been extremely distressed since this incident. Can we take this further? Do security guards have the right to detain you / grab you for an incident like this? For using a tissue???? What are my partners legal rights? Can someone advise me as I am fuming that this happened!!!!!

 

Ashelle

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Its a bit over the top for a tissue (The way the guard reacted), however its still technically whilst in the smallest possible way theft. Refusing to pay iirc the guard can use reasonable force if the offender tries to leave without the situation being dealt with by a PC.

 

I would personally write a complaint to the Sainsbury's manager, and if you have suffered any injury go and see a doctor so the injury is on record.

Ex-Retail Manager who is happy to offer helpful advise in many consumer problems based on my retail experience. Any advise I do offer is my opinion and how I understand the law.

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I cant comment on the situation with regards whether excessive force was used, but security guards do have the right to detain. Also, the size of the item or circumstances alter the fact that this is technically theft. Your husband was wrong to refuse to pay. That said, it does not excuse injury sustained.

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Whether it is for a tissue or not is irrelevant, the answer is no, they have no right to grab anyone like this (as in grabbing without first asking your partner to follow, and /or guiding him gently out of the queue for example).

 

If your partner is indeed having pain which can be traced to the incident, you need to get it documented and confirmed by a doctor. Then you have different options, but I would suggest complaining to Sainsbury's in the first instance. You could also complain to the police, but if they have already seen the CCTV and haven't done anything or advised your partner he should press for assault charges, I can't help feeling they wouldn't necessarily be interested.

 

As for your son, he's 2. He'll get over it very quickly if you and your partner don't keep talking about it and making it into something huge. If you do have a valid claim about your partner's pain, I strongly suggest you don't mention it in front of him and allow him to forget the incident altogether, it would be more beneficial to him in the long run. ;-)

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Whether it is for a tissue or not is irrelevant, the answer is no, they have no right to grab anyone like this.

 

 

I totally disagree Bookie - they have a right to detain without causing injury, and I would debate that this is injury - sounds like bruising.

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Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Under the law as it stands a person is entitled to use reasonable force in self-defence, to protect another person or property, to prevent crime or to assist in the lawful arrest of a criminal.

 

What constitutes `reasonable force’ will depend upon the circumstances of each case and is a matter for the courts to decide. The courts have held that if a person does only what he honestly and instinctively thought necessary to defend himself or prevent a crime, then that would be potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken.

 

In the case of a disabled man (whether visibly so or not) and his 2 year old with a runny nose waiting at the tills, I fail to see that any of the above applies. :-?

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Actually moreover, they do not have to "not cause injury" they just have to use "reasonable force" if they have reason to suspect that property has been/is being stolen. They do not have the right to search, but they DO have the right to detain using reasonable force.

 

We cannot comment whether this was reasonable force, as we do not know whether the OPs husband was struggling, being physical etc. What I would say(being a cynic) is that I doubt the guard will have grabbed them without ANY reason, so I suspect the husband went to leave the store. In this case grabbing to detain is wholly appropriate.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Bookie - reasonable force as I said cannot properly be commented on, and if the person was moving to leave the property, before AND during being grabbed, I would envisage that grabbing someone(potentially hard enough to cause under the skin bruising, if the person being grabbed was still attempting to leave the store after being grabbed) is wholly in line with reasonable force.

 

Ultimately, I apologise but I have not a massive amount of sympathy - the entire situation was brought about by the OPs husband's inappropriate and unreasonable(and in fact illegal) actions. Personally, I think he is lucky not to have been cautioned by the police for this incident.

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Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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OOooh, not so sure about that... you are judging without all the facts. How do you know that this was not a packet of tissues in fact bought elsewhere by a customer then losing them? (I lose mine all the time, spend a fortune on the buggers each year :mad:).

 

How do you know it wasn't one of those promotional stands where you can taste something and wipe your fingers on the tissue? Or even the tissues themselves? Or, or, or...

 

You don't know how that pack of tissues came to be opened, neither do I and in all probabilities, neither did OP's husband, and most certainly not the security guard either.

 

Did HE even stop to check it was one of Sainsbury's tissues rather than say Tesco's or the local Asian shop? No, he saw the action and jumped to conclusion to try and coerce Mr OP into paying for the product. He THEN grabbed Mr OP using more than reasonable force without just cause (since we haven't established a crime was in fact committed, he wasn't assisting in the arrest of a criminal), and when Mr OP DID then use reasonable force in self-defence, he pretended to fall and pretended to have been assaulted.

 

Do these actions by the security man strike you as being the actions of an honest man?

 

OK, so we have only got the version of OP herself as to what happened, and her report is second-hand itself so I doubt we will get the full picture, but we should all be wary of jumping to conclusions. ;-)

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I think it is a reasonable conclusion(although I agree that I cannot be 100% sure). I will give my reasons:

 

- The OP herself has not indicated that the tissue was anything other than a Sainsbury's tissue from a Sainsbury's pack.

- Unless Mr OP has gone to the checkout waving the tissue about, the only way the incident could hgave been known about is by observation of removal of the tissue from the pack - either via camera or first hand by the guard. Therefore it is absolutely reasonable to assume that the guard has seen a) the location of the pack of tissues and b) the brand name on them.

- Having worked in the past with the same security company they use, I know the training they go through, and I know that they are taught NOT to detain unless there is no reasonable doubt that the person has acquired the property, still has it on their person, and has been observed AT ALL TIMES since the item was picked up to ensure it has not been put back down.

 

I agree, I have made an assumption. But it is a reasonable assumption to make based upon the post.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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By the way, the security guard does not have to assist in arresting a criminal, but can detain on reasonable suspicion. There can be no question IMO that the actions would stand up as enough to give reasonable suspicion.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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By the way, the security guard does not have to assist in arresting a criminal, but can detain on reasonable suspicion. There can be no question IMO that the actions would stand up as enough to give reasonable suspicion.
I'm sorry, but can you post the legal basis for this? As far as I am aware, only the police has the power to use reasonable suspicions as grounds to detain, stop and search etc... NOT civilians, and certainly not security guards.

 

Also as far as I am aware, the grounds for using reasonable force are as already described above: self-defence, to protect another person or property, to prevent crime or to assist in the lawful arrest of a criminal.

 

In fact, as I recall, the Police Reform Bill had to be amended specifically so that the CPOs could get the power to detain people suspected of theft, injury or criminal damage, so I'd be very surprised if such rights were conferred upon us mere "simple" civilians.

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It is to do with the prevent crime area - but you cannot expect(and the law doesnt) that a security guard can be judge and jury. Therefore they can detain if they have a reason to suspect that they are committing a crime.

 

Your post Bookie would imply that the security guard needs to effectively hold a court session to judge the suspect's guilt prior to detaining - clearly not the case.

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Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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OK, quick look on Sainsburys website. Own brand mansize tissues work out at 0.89pence per tissue. The box was already opened by someone else. The OP was not responsible for opening the box, therefore not liable to pay for a whole box. Exactly how do you propose that the OP pay 0.89p to Sainsbury?

 

Totally ridiculous overreaction by the security guard.

 

Would be fun to watch Sainsburys try and prosecute.

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Sorry but theft is an distinct offence. The value of the theft is irrelevant.

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By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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It is to do with the prevent crime area - but you cannot expect(and the law doesnt) that a security guard can be judge and jury. Therefore they can detain if they have a reason to suspect that they are committing a crime.

 

Your post Bookie would imply that the security guard needs to effectively hold a court session to judge the suspect's guilt prior to detaining - clearly not the case.

Not at all... In this case, the alleged crime would already have been committed, so prevention of crime doesn't apply. I'm still not convinced that there is any ground at all for the security guard to detain at all, not just this one but all of them and it makes me wonder whether this couldn't be a whole big can of worms that needs looking into.

 

Can someone point out to anything anywhere in law which says that security guards have any powers at all to detain apart from the ones I have quoted?

 

Sorry to OP for hijack, by the way. We're getting away from her particular case to the general here, sorry. :-)

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its a tuppence happney tissue for goodness sakes, and a two yr old child, i suspect if the little one involved was having a nose bleed in the store, a member of staff wouldnt have hesitated but to open a packet/box of tissues and give one to the little one :mad:

 

honey x

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I'd personally have either given them 1p for the tissue or returned it to them.

 

As daft as it sounds surely the more sensible approach would have been to either buy a pack of tissues given they were in a supermarket which clearly sells tissues or to hotfoot it into the bogs and use the bog roll or hand towels!

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Not at all... In this case, the alleged crime would already have been committed, so prevention of crime doesn't apply. I'm still not convinced that there is any ground at all for the security guard to detain at all, not just this one but all of them and it makes me wonder whether this couldn't be a whole big can of worms that needs looking into.

 

Can someone point out to anything anywhere in law which says that security guards have any powers at all to detain apart from the ones I have quoted?

 

Sorry to OP for hijack, by the way. We're getting away from her particular case to the general here, sorry. :-)

 

They have the same powers of citizens arrest as any other citizen. Justified in this case IMO.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Whether you believe it to be justified is neither here nor there, frankly.

 

It would be interesting to know whether the police actually arrested Mr OP, since reading between the lines, I'd say not... If they didn't, then it would very much turn the tables against the security guard, since if he was executing a citizen's arrest, he should have handed the person to the police as soon as reasonably possible... It would also appear that the guard only initiated the calling the police after being allegedly pushed to the ground, which would seem to indicate he had no intention to do so otherwise... again very much a problem for him as relating to his right to stop and detain Mr OP.

 

Maybe we'll find out, maybe we won't... I certainly don't think it is as black and white as might appear. :-|

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If the police did not arrest, that is a matter for the police - it doesnt impact one jot as to whether Mr OP was handed over or not, he could have been handed over and then not arrested. This does not mean, at all, that any kind of citizens arrest was not justified.

 

In any event Bookie, I'm going to leave it and agree to disagree - apart from anything else, my viewpoint clearly doesnt help the OP, so having made my point of view very clear, will leave it to get back on track :)

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Hi

 

I work in the security industry and have done for around 5 years now.

 

Security are strongly advised not to handle anyone at all due to the possibility that things can go wrong as to the OP. Also security have no "extra powers" to detain than anyone else and anyone detain is classed as a citizens arrest.

 

I have always been informed (by SIA both Security and Door Supervisor licenses) that the only reason to detain/arrest someone is "If the police have been called and are en route". This is because you cannot un arrest someone, and if the police are not informed/en route you are left with the detainee and nothing you can do with them.

You should never detain without arrest and that if you do there is a strong probability that you could be "done" for assult.

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Since the incident took place at the tills, can somebody please point out what indictable crime has been committed here that could possibly occasion the need for a security guard to make a citizen's arrest?

 

The 'suspect' had not left the premises.

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