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Wrongly Accused of shoplifting


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I've recently been this humiliated.

 

My wife and I were recently shopping in M&S with our 5 months old daughter, we bought 2 items, paid for them and left the store to continue our shopping at TK Maxx, after entering TKmaxx, we were surprised when 2 policemen accosted my wife and said she was was under suspicion for removing items from M&S, concealing it in the buggy and not paying for them. We were detained at a corner of the TKmaxx while our small baby was crying, we were searched but the policemen found all our receipts intact and issued us a ‘stop and search’ papers saying we were free to go.

 

It was very traumatising for us. We never believed this will ever happen to us, we were forced to lift our 5 months old baby up while her buggy was searched. I am really traumatised and unhappy. Can I bring a legal action against M and S for subjecting us to this humilating treatment? Pls note that this is not neccesarily for monetary claim - It was very humiliation and they had no basis for the suspicion.

 

UPDATED (5th October)

 

After my complaint letter to 'Stuart Rose' (CEO M&S) about our unfair treatment, I have just received a letter from saying the police acted on their own and did not respond to any call from M&S. ''therefore M&S cannot be held responsible for a police action''.

 

This is a lie because there was no way the police would have acted on his own initiative, the policeman wasn't even at the M&S store when we were shopping, so how come he knew we shoplifted at M&S.

 

anther thing is, the policeman gave us a form in which he declared that he received a call via radio from M&S saying we removed items without paying for them. So he couldn't have been acting on his own

 

What do I do? Instead of a simple sorry, they have aggravated the situation.

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their is a thread about freedom of information act and the police i will try to find it and also you need to make a formal complaint as to their stop and search tactics inside another shop,you may have a case for a wronful arrest or something but if i can find the thread it gives details of what to do good luck

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/welcome-consumer-forums/107001-how-do-i-dummies.html

 

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by patrickq1 are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional

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Guest louis wu
their is a thread about freedom of information act and the police i will try to find it and also you need to make a formal complaint as to their stop and search tactics inside another shop,you may have a case for a wronful arrest or something but if i can find the thread it gives details of what to do good luck

 

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/general-knowledge/112309-freedom-information-act-police.html

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From your description of events it would appear that even though you were innocent the police officers acted within their powers under stop and search procedures. You can be stopped and searched by a police officer if you are under suspicion of a criminal act such as theft, have a look at this which also includes details of the complaints procedure.

 

Were they plain-clothes Police officers? If so then M&S may not have had anything to do with it, police forces often send plain-clothes officers into shopping areas who operate without the knowledge of shop staff.

Lloyds TSB, Total Charges £900, Claim Filed for £1379 - Settled

 

Sainsbury's Bank Credit Card, Total Charges £90 - Settled.

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i did nt think they were allowed to stop and search in another premises that is unconected to the shop...was just a thought but if entirely innocent then it is right to demand a written apoligy and poss comp..

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/welcome-consumer-forums/107001-how-do-i-dummies.html

 

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by patrickq1 are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional

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You could write in and ask for a apology but if the police had reasonable grounds to stop you and investigate the matter then they were acting within the law. So any claim for compensation in these circumstances is a non starter.

 

There is nothing to stop the OP from writing to the police and asking for fuller details as to why she ended up being stopped and searched to establish if the officers did have reasonable grounds to take the action that they did.

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I know nothing about this sort of thing but, from what you said, it does seem like they would have a hard time establishing that they had reasonable grounds. Everyone in the shop could theoretically be under suspicion of stealing....

The views I express here are mere speculation based on my experience. I am not qualified nor insured to give legal advice and any action you take will be at your own risk.

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M & S policy as I recall, unless it's changed since I worked security for them, is that they must have several things in place before an arrest is made:

 

1. Approach

2. Selection

3. Concealment

4. Non-payment

5. Be kept in view at all times

 

The fact that it sounds like they asked the police to carry out a Section One Stop & Search means that they may have believed that they had several of those but not all, but enough, in their opinion, to ask for a Section One.

 

With regards to patrickq1's comment, sorry but security from ANY shop can stop any shoplifter if they enter another shop so long as they've had all five of the above. For example I once had one in M & S Cheltenham where the offender lifted a couple of polo shirts and then made his way to HMV. Keeping the offender in plain view at all times I asked for backup over the radio (he was a big bloke), then approached him in HMV where the arrest was made. Result was a successful prosecution.

 

I would raise it with the Police Complaints Commission first for more info and then go back to M&S once you receive that from the PCC.

DCA's - they have the same power as an infinite number of untrained chimps working on a script for Hamlet, but the chimps would probably at least get it right :D

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dont get me wrong i am not critisising the police but i was of the beleive they had to act on reasonable grounds,i understand your s & s tactics but surely they should have led them to an office somewhere and did it without any shame to the customer as it sounds like an extremely bad mistake and i always thought stop and search was for known villans and not ordinary members of the public..but i supose they have a hard enough job to do but i would personally make a complaint to the complaints authority

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/welcome-consumer-forums/107001-how-do-i-dummies.html

 

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by patrickq1 are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional

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If you think stop and search powers are limited to known villains then you clearly aren't black/asian/living in London/participating in peaceful demonstrations near sensitive sites etc. This site - Stop and Search outlines what most people need to know.

 

A police officer can act on suspicion rather than the more stringent "reasonable grounds" that a store detective would need to detain and search a suspect. Broadly speaking a search by a police officer can take place anywhere regardless of where an offense is suspected to have been committed.

Lloyds TSB, Total Charges £900, Claim Filed for £1379 - Settled

 

Sainsbury's Bank Credit Card, Total Charges £90 - Settled.

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A police officer can act on suspicion rather than the more stringent "reasonable grounds" that a store detective would need to detain and search a suspect.

 

A "store detective" has no more right to detain and search than an ordinary citizen.

 

i.e. "Citizens' arrest - which means detain until the Police arrive and no powers of search whatsoever. That cannot force you to return to the store concerned.

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Thanks Pat, I should be more careful with my wording. I had a consensual search in mind when I wrote that, it was late :(

Lloyds TSB, Total Charges £900, Claim Filed for £1379 - Settled

 

Sainsbury's Bank Credit Card, Total Charges £90 - Settled.

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its a very controversal subject and i certainly would nt like to be draged into the rights and wrongs of this its sad that it has to happen and the police are normally piggy in the middle its far too simple to say it should nt happen and as for race this is also a sad fact that s&s happens but i for one would feel shamed but would also expect an apoligy in case of mistake...sorry i wont be commenting any further on this matter as it is far too sensitive and as we all know feeling can run pretty high..good luck

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/welcome-consumer-forums/107001-how-do-i-dummies.html

 

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by patrickq1 are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional

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A "store detective" has no more right to detain and search than an ordinary citizen.

 

i.e. "Citizens' arrest - which means detain until the Police arrive and no powers of search whatsoever. That cannot force you to return to the store concerned.

 

I always understood that you had the right to ask a suspect if they were carrying anythign which you believe they might use to cause you or others harm, ie "sharps" and to remove them if they do, in the interests of self-preservation if nothing else :)

 

I might be wrong on that one, but that's what I always did with anyone I apprehended and in 90% of cases they obliged. The 10% of course were the ones who got "sat on", usually on the tarmac, paving slabs, from where they kicked off. Always liked those ones.

DCA's - they have the same power as an infinite number of untrained chimps working on a script for Hamlet, but the chimps would probably at least get it right :D

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Just a thought you could contact m&s and ask for a copy of any cctv footage that lead them into believing you were acting suspiciously and any accompanying transcripts that they passed on to the police i understand that they would be legally obliged to do this...

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I always understood that you had the right to ask a suspect if they were carrying anythign which you believe they might use to cause you or others harm, ie "sharps" and to remove them if they do, in the interests of self-preservation if nothing else :)

 

 

 

This would only matter to a police officer; as only a police officer can legally carry out a search.

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Surely not if you have already seen them with a blade removing tags?

DCA's - they have the same power as an infinite number of untrained chimps working on a script for Hamlet, but the chimps would probably at least get it right :D

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Surely not if you have already seen them with a blade removing tags?

 

You can observe all you like. You can detain them under the auspices of "Citizens Arrest". You can only detain pending the arrival of a Police Officer; you cannot insist on any return to a particular premises or part of premises. You have no right to search anybody or their possessions without their express permission - you must await the arrival of a Police Officer to carry out a search if permission is refused.

 

This is going to cause problems in areas where the Police have now said that they will not be attending for low-level shop-lifting. However, this is not a licence for private individuals, store detectives or security guards to breach the law. You may make a search a condition of entry.

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And 'Citizens arrest' has no legal difference to the arrest that police officers do. Police can arrest on suspicion, and you need 'reasonable grounds'. SOCPA - Serious & Organised Crime & Police Act.

 

Security can use reasonable force to detain you - Criminal Law Act 1967 Section 3.

 

as Pat says above, unless there is a sign on the front door of the shopping centre / store stating there is a right of search as a condition of entrey (and to be fair, I have only seen these on a few shopping centres), then there is no right of search. Alas, when I arrest and the person is being awkward - i will simply say where the item is, and what it is.

 

I am a reasonable person, and if the shoplifter is reasonable with me, then I am to them. If they want to play silly beggers, and fight or run, then I will lawfully restrain them until arrival of the police. If it means handcuffing them, then so be it. (Handcuffing is also done using Criminal Law Act 1967, Section 3, and training complies with ACPO guidelines).

 

I second the poster who said about police operating without store staff knowing - I have several times had police in stores I have worked in, who dont even tell security staff they are operating, let alone the store staff.

All opinions & information are the personal view of the poster, and are not that of any organisation, company or employer. Any information disclosed by the poster is for personal use only. Permission to process this data under the Data Protection act is NOT GIVEN to any company, only personal readers.

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If the the police had behaved reasonably, even though they were wrong, you don't have any cause of action, I wouldn't have thought.

 

It could be worth finding out why they believed it was reasonable to stop you though. If it was because of duff information given to them from someone else, such as store staff, then you may have a shot at a defamation action against whomever supplied that information.

 

P.

Northern Rock; S.A.R sent 11/8/06 - Delivered. Recieved details of 6 yrs charges on 8th. Wrote back asking whether or not they hold information going back further than that.

MBNA; S.A.R sent 11/8/06 - Delivered 14/8/06

Barclays; S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) request sent 11/8/06 - Del 14/8/06

Diners Club; S.A.R sent 11/8/06 - Delivered 14/8/06. Recieved form to fill and return with fee on 17/8/06. Sent form back, delivered 4/9/06.

Intelligent Finance; Prelim letter emailed 16/08/06, claiming £318. Email recieved from "Anne-Marie" 17/8/06 saying my email has been passed to Customer Relations dept. Fob-off letter received 23/8/06, letter sent in return same day - Delivered 24/8/6 Recieved letter offer 25% settelement - refused - LBA sent. MCOL on 10th revcieved notification that they intend to defend on 13th. 06/9/2006 WON!!!!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

After my complaint letter to 'Stuart Rose' (CEO M&S) about our unfair treatment, I have just received a letter from saying the police acted on their own and did not respond to any call from M&S. ''therefore M&S cannot be held responsible for a police action''.

 

This is a lie because there was no way the police would have acted on his own initiative, the policeman wasn't even at the M&S store when we were shopping, so how come he knew we shoplifted at M&S.

 

anther thing is, the policeman gave us a form in which he declared that he received a call via radio from M&S saying we removed items without paying for them. So he couldn't have been acting on his own

 

What do I do? Instead of a simple sorry, they have aggravated the situation.

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Yinkanno

 

I have posted on the other thread you made somewhere else, and i also see that you a have already been shown my freedom of Info thread.

 

Yes, Thanks PKea

 

I've posted the 'police form' on the other forum.

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This would only matter to a police officer; as only a police officer can legally carry out a search.
actually anyone can search anyone else if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person being searched is carrying something that may be used to harm themselves or others. It is the ONLY reason that a person may be searched by a member of the public (which is what security people are)

 

In the circumstances that you describe where you were searched by police officers (plainclothed or uniformed), they decision to search is always theirs and even if M&S had pointed you out to the old bill, its the officers decision to search not M&S and therefore they have no liability whatsoever.

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