Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

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Raven
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by Raven »

tony ingram wrote:Speaking as someone who worked in security for twelve years, and started out as a retail security guard, I cannot see that the guard did anything wrong here, and I'm baffled by the apparent hostility being exhibited by some posters here to a man doing the job he is paid for. Nobody likes being stopped (and yes, I have in the past been stopped by a guard myself, in a branch of Focus Do-It-All as I recall) but the fact is, people do shoplift, it costs stores millions each year, and they are entitled to take precautions.
If you've been a retail security guard, you'll know that you don't approach, detain, accuse a customer of criminal intent, without being able to establish probable cause, i.e. what I outlined above: you saw them select, conceal (or take away) and fail to pay for merchandise. There are aggressive security guards who get an adrenalin buzz from this kind of confrontation: the innocent customer is not there to provide them with this buzz, and should know his/her rights.

When did David say he was carrying a large *open* bag? He simply said he had a large bag.

"If you are wandering around a store for any length of time, carrying a large bag and showing no signs of buying anything, you are acting suspiciously." No, this is called browsing and is perfectly innocent and legal.

David said he was spoken to like a criminal; also, that he felt such a heavy hand on his shoulder he felt he was being mugged. The guard shouldn't have touched him at all. How would he know if David had recently had a shoulder operation? And presumably he'd prefer not to get the shop sued for assault.

There was clearly no probable cause to establish here, no reasonable grounds for the accusation. In these cases, the customer should be polite but assertive: demand to speak to someone in charge, demand to see the CCTV footage (of course, none exists because no crime was committed), etc. Don't be bullied.

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starscape
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by starscape »

The poster said he was approached with an excuse me, then asked if he could see in the bag. All very reasonable to me. Not detained.

There is no way that cameras can monitor every person at all times from all angles. I am quite sure there were plenty of browsers but David obviously inadvertently gave off the wrong signals to be, not accused, but suspected. He could have refused, sent for the manager, called in the police and wasted lots of everyone's time, including his own. The alternative?

A quick show of the bag. An apology then move on.

Its impossible to catch every thief redhanded. Guards have to rely on signals. If this is unacceptable, shoplifting would soar beyond the millions it already costs, meaning massive price rises. Shoplifters try to hide their thefts. There is no cost effective alternative to watching for signs (which wont just be a browsing otherwise everyone would be stopped). Time to shrug it off and stop overreacting.

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tony ingram
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by tony ingram »

matrix wrote:I think you have over reacted yourselve Tony and sound like a very sensitive ex security person.

If you read Davids post he said there was a heavy hand on his shoulder not just approached by him.

I would have thought that a big store like Tescos would have lots of cameras with a person manning that, directing the guard to someone that has actually stolen something?
No. In my experience, stores simply don't have the resources to pay someone to sit and watch cameras all day. It would cost a fortune and would not be particularly effective since in the majority of stores the cameras are by necessity cheap, low res jobs and there usually aren't enough of them anyway.

I see loads of people shopping with big bags in other shops I do so myself but have never witnessed anything like that, and I will say again what did he do wrong?
Then you've been lucky. He didn't do anything "wrong" but since it's basically impossible to say just from appearance who is or is not likely to be a thief, guards tend to look for the obvious shopflifter's 'props'; a big bulky coat is one, an open bag (particularly a large carrier) or a rucksack are others. Even a hoodie can be used to hide ones face from the cameras in order to let the thief make a run for it with a large item without being identifiable, which is why some stores have banned hoodies (I've actually witnessed someone run out of a store carrying a boxed garden strimmer-and once they're off the premises, there's not a lot you can do about it). Yes, it's perfectly possible to wander aimlessly around a store with such items and be totally innocent, but it's also perfectly possible that the person is not. And the guard is there to protect the store's stock. He therefore has to assume that anyone can be guilty.

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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by Raven »

starscape wrote:The poster said he was approached with an excuse me, then asked if he could see in the bag. All very reasonable to me.
He said:

"Having found nothing I left the store then felt a heavy (hand on my shoulder) and an "excuse me mate" (first thought I was being mugged).

He said I had a big carrier bag and didn't go to the checkout and would like to search bag, talking to me like I was a criminal."

To many people, being accused of criminal intent in public is a big deal (to do this without even seeing them take and conceal anything is against the universal principles shops apply to dealing with shoplifters) and they feel their privacy has been violated if a stranger rifles through their personal belongings. As David has said he won't go in a Tesco again, it also sounds as if the guard has lost them a customer.

"(I've actually witnessed someone run out of a store carrying a boxed garden strimmer-and once they're off the premises, there's not a lot you can do about it)."

Isn't it quite the contrary - that you can't do anything until they're off the premises, or how can you be certain they were stealing?

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tony ingram
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by tony ingram »

Raven wrote:
starscape wrote:The poster said he was approached with an excuse me, then asked if he could see in the bag. All very reasonable to me.
He said:

"Having found nothing I left the store then felt a heavy (hand on my shoulder) and an "excuse me mate" (first thought I was being mugged).

He said I had a big carrier bag and didn't go to the checkout and would like to search bag, talking to me like I was a criminal."
What exactly did the guard say? We don't know. All we have been told is that he asked to search the bag, which is perfectly reasonable in my opinion. Does that constitute "talking to someone like they were a criminal"?
To many people, being accused of criminal intent in public is a big deal and they feel their privacy has been violated if a stranger rifles through their personal belongings.
Tough, frankly. The store is entitled to protect itself. As I said, nobody has the right to assume they should be above suspicion.
As David has said he won't go in a Tesco again, it also sounds as if the guard has lost them a customer.
And that is entirely his choice.
"(I've actually witnessed someone run out of a store carrying a boxed garden strimmer-and once they're off the premises, there's not a lot you can do about it)."

Isn't it quite the contrary - that you can't do anything until they're off the premises, or how can you be certain they were stealing?
In theory, yes. But in practice, once they are off the premises only an idiot would chase after them. The guard has no jurisdiction outside the store, and anyway, you never know who the thief might have waiting in the car park. The law isn't exactly helpful to the security guard, here!

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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by NP »

DavidKW wrote:"He then was very apologetic about scaring me & expained you can't be too careful."
Well then that's OK, he apologised. Just doing his job.
Sure, I get annoyed sometimes when stopped if an alarm goes off, or worse, every time I fly I set off the metal detector and I really AM frisked. But it's part of the penalty of being able to fly.
Just as being stopped and checked for shop lifting is the penalty for mooching round a big store and eventually not buying anything.

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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by Raven »

Quite a lot of these kinds of experiences being reported online.

On a 'Mumsnet' forum, it's related how a Tesco manager explains the store policy (which is what I said):

"I had this in Tesco too. I was (pregnant) at the time and ended up in floods of tears, all my shopping bags emptied at the counter in front of a big crowd, the security manager was AWFUL to me, really rude and refused to apologise after getting it wrong. Anyway DH demanded to see the manager who confirmed that security shouldn't have stopped us; according to store policy THREE things have to be WITNESSED by staff before they can stop you:

1. You take the product off the shelf
2. You go through the checkout without paying for them
3. You attempt to leave the store without paying for them.

Unless they see you do ALL of these things they should not apprehend you. I got a written letter of apology and a huge bunch of flowers and the security manager was sent for retraining."
Last edited by Raven on 30 Jul 2013, 11:24, edited 1 time in total.

Raven
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by Raven »

tony ingram wrote:
To many people, being accused of criminal intent in public is a big deal and they feel their privacy has been violated if a stranger rifles through their personal belongings.


Tough, frankly. The store is entitled to protect itself. As I said, nobody has the right to assume they should be above suspicion.
This brings to mind Basil Fawlty's complaining that running a hotel would be so much easier if it wasn't for the bloody guests, that classic stinking British attitude towards service and customers that Cleese was parodying in the '70s, and which should now be long buried. Mind-boggling that customers should be automatically presumed potential criminals and treated as such without any reasonable grounds or being sure of the facts; a bizarre attitude to have towards the people who keep you in business.
Raven wrote: Isn't it quite the contrary - that you can't do anything until they're off the premises, or how can you be certain they were stealing?
tony ingram wrote: In theory, yes. But in practice, once they are off the premises only an idiot would chase after them. The guard has no jurisdiction outside the store, and anyway, you never know who the thief might have waiting in the car park. The law isn't exactly helpful to the security guard, here!
Nonetheless, for most big stores, I think the policy is that you approach only when they've left the shop - or are at least heading off the premises. Otherwise, the customer can still pay, and it would be hard to prove they were stealing.

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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by DavidKW »

I have since made a verbal complaint on the same afternoon to Tesco; mananger was quite shocked.

Have since left my phone number; might get vaouchers, but I feel better for speaking out.

When I told my manager at my work on Monday he advised me not to hold my breath as Tesco close ranks a lot. He then told me of how 7 years ago his wife went to return an item, and sat her then toddler younger daughter on the counter temporarily. The assistant refuse to refund & objected to the toddler sitting there; she then spoke up for her rights, the assistant accused her of being aggressive (when she's always anything but) and his wife was marched off by a security guard with her 2 young girls in tow.

My manager & his family now boycott their Tesco even though it is the most local shop to their house.

I've hard one or two sories on other supermarkets too, but Tesco do have a more negative reputation at this time.

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tony ingram
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by tony ingram »

DavidKW wrote:I have since made a verbal complaint on the same afternoon to Tesco; mananger was quite shocked.

Have since left my phone number; might get vaouchers, but I feel better for speaking out.
Congratulations. Most supermarkets use contract security guards from outside companies who have pretty much no job security, rather than employing their own, so your overreaction to a man doing his job may well have cost him it. But hey, as long as you get vouchers...

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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by DavidKW »

I'll just point out:

I had to be persuaded to complain and did so to as they say get it out my system (and as I don't want to set foot in a Tesco again I wouldn't perticulary want vouchers).

I can fully understand what security folk do and appreciate you can't be too careful.

The guy who searched me was an employee of their supermarket in full uniform.

It's more about the way he went about it - when I complained I said he was a young bloke who sounds like he needs a lot more training. (authority gone to head/trying too hard to impress perhaps).

DavidKW
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by DavidKW »

It's just scary/humiliating when it happens.

All this has reminded me of BArt Conrad - Store Detective in an early Viz Comic (in funnier days).

I don't think the word frisked was quite relevant; I did get my pockets searched once and had to justify bringing my Walkman in my jacket into the ground, but I was an away fan at a local highly charged football derby in 1997.

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

As a lot of you good people clearly know where the Law stands on this, you will doubtless know that the security staff will try and weasel your name and addrress out of you before the Police arrive:


----this is so they can send you threatening letters demanding money from them for stealing from their shop [often sent through a bully-boy cowboy solicitor seperate company.]

'Civil Court Prosecution,' seperate from the Police pressing charges.


You are not obliged to give the store staff your name or address , even if you are a thief.


Just sayin'.....,.,

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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by Raven »

DavidKW wrote:I have since made a verbal complaint on the same afternoon to Tesco; mananger was quite shocked.
You did absolutely the right thing there, David. The reason the manager was shocked was obviously because the guard's behaviour was totally out of order.

Someone reported on a forum I read this week that the guards at their local Tesco have started doing random bag checks on customers! Of course, they have absolutely no right to search anybody's bag at any time, and I wonder if their manager knows about that.
Last edited by Raven on 31 Jul 2013, 23:25, edited 1 time in total.

Raven
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Re: Ever Been Frisked By A Security Guard?

Post by Raven »

tony ingram wrote: Congratulations. Most supermarkets use contract security guards from outside companies who have pretty much no job security, rather than employing their own, so your overreaction to a man doing his job ...
Doing his job wrongly.

This kind of thing is a potential public relations disaster. If one customer, randomly - and wrongly - accused of criminal intent refuses to ever shop there again, that could be upwards of £2,000 a year in revenue the shop has lost, maybe much more; add all the family and friends told about the incident, and the reporting online in this interconnected era...

This kind of misbehaviour from guards seemingly unable to comprehend the store's rules that you must be certain before approaching and accusing a customer of stealing, can cause incalculable bad publicity for the shop. The sooner this type of unprofessional, overzealous security guard is weeded out, the better, for both the shop and the public's sake.

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