Security guard AIBU(9 Posts)
This happened a few days ago, but I'm wondering if I should contact the chain concerned.
I was walking in to a major supermarket and as I approached the door two people (separate, not together) walked out and the alarm went off. One of the people was a smart white thirty something woman and the other was a bit of a scruffy Somali or Yemeni looking guy. The alarm went off, and it looked to me like it went off for the woman, but the security guard went straight to the man and stopped him. I was a bit at this but assumed maybe he was known to them or had been acting suspiciously rather than it being a race thing. Anyway, he appeared to be cooperating and I continued into the shop.
A couple of minutes later and there was suddenly a huge row. The security guard had this foreign guy in a really tight nelson type hold and was pushing him through the shop. The guard was obviously hurting him, and the "shoplifter" was shouting 'Give me back my money' and struggling. As they got further up the shop the security guard started to lose his grip so gave him a kind of knee in his back which made him collapse really hard on to his knees on a hard surface so the guard could push him down almost completely to the ground and get him back into a hold. I moved away, but a few minutes later saw him going into the back cooperatively.
Anyway, it was all really unpleasant - and I've been wondering since how much force security guards are legally allowed to use. It seemed like an assault to me. WIBU to contact their head office to bring it up? Or would it be worth complaining to the police about it? I did really wonder if the security guard had done it because he thought he would get away with it because of the type of person he was eg foreign, obviously a recent migrant and very poor looking. I can't stop thinking about it and wondering whether or not the guard was entitled to use that type of force when he doesn't have any real official authority like the police.
Is there really such a thing as a citizens arrest and would he be covered by that?
Reminds me of the Jimmy Mubenga G4S story. I'd have been tempted to intervene, even by shouting, to bring attention to the situation. Security guards aren't the police. Are they even allowed to physically restrain people? If this was a big store, there'll be CCTV anyway. Even if someone had shoplifted, surely they don't deserve a kicking? A police caution or whatever the appropriate, legal punishment is, sure, but not some jumped up security guard taking the law into their own hands and abusing them for kicks.
I had two premature newborns with me so was too afraid to get involved. I really didn't know if they had a right to be doing it anyway. I wouldn't exactly call it a kicking either, it was very heavy handed restraint. There will be CCTV, but what if the chain don't care? They're hardly going to admit they're liable for something so dodgy of their own free will - which is why I thought of the police, but as it didn't actually happen to me I don't know if they'd take a complaint seriously.
Gosh Bill -That incident is appalling and yes I would report to the supermarket and let them deal with it.
DEFINITELY write in and demand an explanation.
I once saw a black woman give a talk about things like this. She said that if you're white, you walk through the world differently and you should use your white privilege to question racism or possible racism when you see it.
I don't know for certain that it was racism though. I don't know if they found something on him. I don't know if they stopped him rather than the woman because they already had reason to suspect him.
This is why I need to know if security guards are entitled to use that sort of force - because they can deny it was racially motivated - but they can't deny the violence took place. It's whether or not they could argue it was acceptable that bothers me.
But yes, I think writing to say how concerned I was at the heavy handedness is a good place to start.
I was under the impression security guards can't use force at all. They are store employees, so they've no more right than a cashier to assault someone.
I'd have reported it to the police there and then, to be honest. Regardless of what if anything the man had done, that sounds like assault, and you don't have to be the one being assaulted to report it...
I don't know the rules but I would imagine that they have the same powers as every citizen does. Citizens arrest and reasonable force. If you think unreasonable force was used then go to the police.
Please report it! They probably have CCTV.
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