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Good morning!

 

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.

 

*Graphic Part*

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.

*/Graphic Part*

 

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 :lol:

 

Happy Early Halloween

 

Shark


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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It's all in how you define" reasonable"

 

Alarm goes off its reasonable to suspect.

However its gets sticky in what security can actually do.

They can "invite" you back, you can decline. They then should perform a citizens arrest under section 24a of pace.

They don't. Partly under instruction of the store ( bad publicity etc) but partly as people usually comply and give permission to search the bag.

What the security guard should not be doing is patting someone down.

If the alleged thief should be handed over to the police.

 

By the way its your phone setting off the alarms in the store

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Hi

Just thank your lucky stars you don't live in the USA. I have seen some videos where there are store staff checking every customers receipt before allowing them to leave the store and if you don't, they won't let you leave and will call the police who will turn out and get heavy with you.

 

 

If the security guard had tried to arrest you and detained you, he would soon be after a new job as to arrest anyone, reasonable suspicion isn't enough. They would need proof of theft and that was obviously not the case. I think that a civil claim for unlawful detention would follow on from his actions.

 

 

Yes, they can ask to see your receipt but you are well within your rights to refuse. The store could ban you from entering again but they can do that to anyone anyway. It's private land.

 

 

You are under no obligation to give your personal details to the security and if they tried to search you without permission. the faecal matter would hit the fan.

 

 

If they tried to force you to go 'round the back' you are within your rights to refuse politely. If you felt fearful for your safety, you could have called the police. It would likely end with the security guard being cuffed, not you.

 

 

Just because an alarm goes off does not mean anything. I have had library books set off the alarms but never a phone? I have also bought electrical goods where the tag has not been correctly de-activated.


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Silver, you are wrong on citizens arrest.

 

Quoted.

Also look up section 24a of pace

 

Any person can arrest a person who is in the act of committing an indictable offence or

Anyone whom he reasonably suspects to be committing such an offence, if

it is not reasonably practicable for a constable to make the arrest instead and

it is necessary to arrest the person for one of the below reasons,

 

To prevent the person in question,

 

causing physical injury to himself or any other person;

suffering physical injury;

causing loss of or damage to property; or

making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

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take everything out of your pockets/jacket phone everything then go thru the alarm see if it goes off.

 

my neighbour has a device fitted in his gut that monitors some levels of fluids everytime he goes thru an rf id sensor area it goes off

he carries a letter with him about it


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One we'll have to differ on. You are correct on your statement on reasonable suspicion. Pace states reasonable suspicion but what IS reasonable suspicion. Setting an alarm off (IMO) does not cause reasonable suspicion.

 

 

 

As for this

 

causing loss of or damage to property; or

making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

 

 

We know the police rarely attend so again (IMO) this wouldn't stand. It's more likely that the police would tell the store that they won't be attending.

 

 

 

 

In substance. PaCE does seem pretty vague on what reasonable suspicion is so a security guard would need a little bit more to affect an arrest

 

 

Bit of a amble but I'm writing as I think it.

 

 

:???::smile:


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Its well documented, in court cases, that the security alarm going off Is grounds for reasonable suspicion.

It is, after all, a device designed to stop thefts.

PACE is not Tha vague on the subject.

 

Unless a security guard ACTUALLY preforms a citizens arrest, which they very rarely do, they cannot DEMAND anything. They can ask, you can refuse. They can stop you from leaving the store ( with all reasonable suspicions) but then they MUST inform you of a citizens arrest.

BUT....

Stores like Tesco actively frown upon the security doing this for a few reasons.

Bad publicity

They do not train the staff enough on control and restraint techniques

Other health and safety issues

Opens stff up to allegations

Opens the store up to protracted legal cases

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Is it now somewhat illegal for security (or management for that matter) to talk to a customer ...........?

Edited by Andyorch
Unnecessary quote removed

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Of course not. It is perfectly reasonable to ask a person questions just as it's perfectly reasonable to refuse to talk to security. You know this and I am detecting a hint of sarcasm.

 

Many people will happily stop when an alarm goes off to prove they have paid but the RF tag hasn't been deactivated properly (I have-many times) but there is no obligation to do so and if security staff manhandle a person who refuses to comply but is perfectly innocent, security would be in trouble. A complaint would be wending its way to the store head office at the very least.

 

It is not illegal to refuse to engage.


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Of course not. It is perfectly reasonable to ask a person questions just as it's perfectly reasonable to refuse to talk to security. You know this and I am detecting a hint of sarcasm.

 

Many people will happily stop when an alarm goes off to prove they have paid but the RF tag hasn't been deactivated properly (I have-many times) but there is no obligation to do so and if security staff manhandle a person who refuses to comply but is perfectly innocent, security would be in trouble. A complaint would be wending its way to the store head office at the very least.

 

It is not illegal to refuse to engage.

 

Indeed. A lot of "professional" shoplifters do that, and most guards know theres nothing they can do about it unless they can show a history of that person lifting. Then it becomes reasonable suspicion. ASDA for example will never perform a citizens arrest unless it is extremely serious, as their staff are NOT trained in detaining. Even if you agreed to go to their office with them, theres nothing stopping you walking right out of the door.


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