Tuesday, 1 September 2009

And it's about time!!

As I was reading this story I was thinking that it's about high time that this sort of event happens more often..

The crux of the story in short is that a yob and his buddy went in to a phone shop and tried to rob them using a soldering iron that one of the employees had just been using.. as the yob tried to escape employees grabbed his leg as he ran out the door, they then slammed the door shut on the same leg leaving the knob there stuck in the door furiously trying to escape. (there is a great photograph of said overweight - non-working scum stuck in the door which was taken by a member of the public).

So my thought on this is to ask why more shops don't actually take a proactive approach towads their own security?

Is it because they are just scared of repercussions? Is it because they are scared of being hurt? Or what?

I had a report of an elderly shoplifter at a local "high quality" supermarchet in one of our local towns, on arrival a couple of minutes afterwards (after detaining someone who matched the description and then was found to not actually be the right person and so was subsequently let go with apologies) I spoke with the manager..

What followed was the information that at least once a week an elderly male - probably around 70 years old, walked through the shop dressed in the same clothes.. he would select items from the shelves and then walk out of the front door (having entered through the back door of the store). No one EVER attempted to stop or challenge the male!

CCTV was seized.
CCTV from the town cameras was seized and viewed... and showed the male going to one of the banks shortly afterwards.. (thus it may have been possible to identify the male from that).
Descriptions circulated amongst my colleagues, particularly the local PCSOs who are always out in the High Street and may spot the man.

Advice was given to the shop manager as follows, if the male comes in to the store again then whoever sees him should inform the manager who can call the police, a couple of the larger lads who work up at the cash registers should then approach the male together and ask him politely if he "wouldn't mind remaining with them please..." - and of course the police would already be on the way.
Of course the caveats were given - DO NOT PUT YOURSELVES IN ANY DANGER - DO NOT BLOCK THE EXIT (thus putting the suspect in fear and making him lash out to get out of the exit) - DO NOT OFFER OR USE ANY VIOLENCE - Simply be Calm and Polite but Firm.

As you might guess I asked the manager why no one had EVER done this before.. and the reply shocked me.. they are advised 'not to' by their head office!

So less than a week later I hear on the radio that this "high quality" supermarchet has detained 1 for suspected shoplifting. But I was committed on something else so another officer from late shift was deployed and went to arrest the shoplifter.. that officer also arrested him for my shoplifting job the week previous (thus stealing my detection).. On their arrival at custody I looked in to the holding cell and was shocked to see that this elderly male was wearing the same clothes as the week before - but this wasn't as shocking as the look of complete total and utter abject "failure" on his face. He knew his game was up....

So after all of the above.. this store now challenges people it believes to be shoplifting......... So do a few others that I've dealt with recently. So thankfully we are now catching more shoplifters... and it's a shame that ALL shops don't do the same.
You do NOT have to put yourself in any danger, just simply state to the person that you want them to remain with you. Explain that the police have been called, their face is on CCTV etc, etc.. as such, there is no point running and it's easier to get dealt with straight away than to be running for a long time and looking over their shoulders.

Every person should do their part and assist in the prevention and detection of crime. It would make this country a lot nicer to live in. All too often though people just ignore everything going on around them and as such crime rates go up as police become more and more embroiled in petty things that should NEVER have reached the police (like the neighbours barbeque smoke going through someone's washing on the line - you can imagine what I said right?).

As I've said to a couple of our local herberts of late.. There is ONE of them.. 145,000 of us!


  1. "Every person should do their part..."

    Could not agree more! :-))

    At training school we were given a scenario where a shoplifter had been detained by security and it didn't seem plausible to me. Why would the shoplifter be compliant rather than running off? But mostly (in my limited experience) they have been. Most of them try it because they have got away with it so many times before.

    Shops need to be a bit more proactive!


  2. Two principles that don't seem to matter any more yet, if the fear and sanctions are there, would stop so much casual crime: 1. The odds of being caught. 2. The fear of the consequences after one is caught.

  3. I suspect that it is the insurers sending down policy under the auspiceis of 'if you react or are caught causing, or occasioning an assault against an intruder, you will not be covered, nor shall we be laible in the event of such an incident.'

    Great message sent out there then.

    Good to see you back.


  4. We're having comments around our nick that shops who make absolutely no effort to protect their own products, make some effort in terms of shoplifters, etc shouldn't be dealt with as a 'response' matter. Surely, a 'shoplifting just' doesn't require own attention immediately, or even within the 1hr timeframe for Grade 2s. I want to pro-active and let the local hoodlums know I know who they are and will be right behind them all the time. Not pitching up Barrysons taking a report of shoplifting when they've donejack all to (attempt) to prevent it, or make themselves known to the offender!