Rights when accused of shoplifting?

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IChooseThisName
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I was thinking about it as an interesting point, since, today, as I was going to the cashier to pay for some items, I was confronted by a worker and asked to present the content of my pockets - my first reaction was obviously anger, but since I actually knew I was innocent and was short for time, I complied and that was that.

HOWEVER, I don't find myself being comfortable with shops reserving the right to essentially search people, and hence was wondering if anyone had an insight into what anyone potentially accused of shoplifting actually has a right to. I believe I did have a right to refuse showing my pockets (as it was my word against the employee's), but they can then of course call the police, and here it gets murky as, surely, I could just walk out [while they call the police] otherwise they're basically assaulting me if they try to stop me?

Most of this is hypothetical as most people would be content enough, I suppose, with showing that they are innocent by providing their bag/showing their pockets or so on, but I find this quite disgusting personally, and I was not even provided an apology for the inconvenience which just makes me more angry, especially considering as their 'consolidation' was stating that I'd be surprised at how many people my age do shoplift, which is an awful case of stereotyping.

Any advice?
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Hopple
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This was from a BBC show a while back, so I'm not clear on he finer details, but they can detain you until the cops arrive so it would be best to just comply (and maybe make a scene on your way out ). It isn't nice, but it's necessary for shops to be able to protect themselves against theft - you can't expect every shop to have CCTV of everything, or for it even to be immediately accessible.
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Darth Stewie
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Any citizen can perform a citizens arrest however that is a mighty troublesome action so for instance a security guard will simply "request" that you come with them usually in a way where if the words were read back in court it would seem like a question but their manner when saying it (moving close and between you and the door) makes it seem more like a demand. If they do perform a citizens arrest on you and it is then discovered you did nothing wrong then you can take them to court however usually an out of court settlement is agreed upon unless they could prove they had considerable evidence that you were up to no good. Never underestimate the perception of power and intimidation, the amount of times the police simply ask to do something and people just agree is staggering.

If they tried to perform a citizens arrest on you and get physical then technically you could perform a citizens arrest on them (especially if you know you have done nothing wrong) for assault and providing you can overpower them it would be completely legal.
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_anyawalsh
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Most would comply to show their innocent
but there's meant to be six steps to approach a thief (not not many actually go by them)
Usually people get approached if they've been acting really suspiciously, took something off the shelf and didn't appear to put it back/but it, looks like they've concealed an item..
I've heard the store are not meant to go off customers telling the shop about a potential thief but shops often do
If the employee hasn't seen you take anything then they don't actually have the right to search you if you refuse (and nor do the police I've been told)
But if you had've refused in that instance they'd probably have called the police after you walked out to stop you and ask to search you which would've been more embarrassing/time consuming
Did they say why they suspected you?


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Party55511
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They do not have any right to search you, only the police do. They can however detain you until the police arrive if they feel a law has been broken.
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marcusfox
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(Original post by _anyawalsh)
If the employee hasn't seen you take anything then they don't actually have the right to search you if you refuse (and nor do the police I've been told)
But if you had've refused in that instance they'd probably have called the police after you walked out to stop you and ask to search you which would've been more embarrassing/time consuming
Did they say why they suspected you?
All in all, thats a bit of a contradiction, isn't it?

All the police need to search you is reasonable suspicion. Which includes a store detective saying they saw you nick something.

They don't ask to search you, they TELL you you will be searched.
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peter12345
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Pretty sure that they are not allowed to detain you and they are most certainly not allowed to search you.
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cl_steele
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(Original post by Darth Stewie)
Any citizen can perform a citizens arrest however that is a mighty troublesome action so for instance a security guard will simply "request" that you come with them usually in a way where if the words were read back in court it would seem like a question but their manner when saying it (moving close and between you and the door) makes it seem more like a demand. If they do perform a citizens arrest on you and it is then discovered you did nothing wrong then you can take them to court however usually an out of court settlement is agreed upon unless they could prove they had considerable evidence that you were up to no good. Never underestimate the perception of power and intimidation, the amount of times the police simply ask to do something and people just agree is staggering.

If they tried to perform a citizens arrest on you and get physical then technically you could perform a citizens arrest on them (especially if you know you have done nothing wrong) for assault and providing you can overpower them it would be completely legal.
Great thing about that us though technically they only have to lay a finger on you and theyre guilty of assault
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IChooseThisName
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(Original post by Darth Stewie)
Any citizen can perform a citizens arrest however that is a mighty troublesome action so for instance a security guard will simply "request" that you come with them usually in a way where if the words were read back in court it would seem like a question but their manner when saying it (moving close and between you and the door) makes it seem more like a demand. If they do perform a citizens arrest on you and it is then discovered you did nothing wrong then you can take them to court however usually an out of court settlement is agreed upon unless they could prove they had considerable evidence that you were up to no good. Never underestimate the perception of power and intimidation, the amount of times the police simply ask to do something and people just agree is staggering.

If they tried to perform a citizens arrest on you and get physical then technically you could perform a citizens arrest on them (especially if you know you have done nothing wrong) for assault and providing you can overpower them it would be completely legal.
I think you mean I have a right to defend myself if they try to do a citizen's arrest on me and claim self defence in court, which I agree.

(Original post by _anyawalsh)
Most would comply to show their innocent
but there's meant to be six steps to approach a thief (not not many actually go by them)
Usually people get approached if they've been acting really suspiciously, took something off the shelf and didn't appear to put it back/but it, looks like they've concealed an item..
I've heard the store are not meant to go off customers telling the shop about a potential thief but shops often do
If the employee hasn't seen you take anything then they don't actually have the right to search you if you refuse (and nor do the police I've been told)
But if you had've refused in that instance they'd probably have called the police after you walked out to stop you and ask to search you which would've been more embarrassing/time consuming
Did they say why they suspected you?


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That's the disgusting thing; I even noticed the employee stacking shelve's about 3 metres while choosing items and I'm pretty sure she DID NOT maintain visual contact of me for the entire duration (which would mean even if she saw me take something, I have legal deniability as I could have returned it anywhere in the store along the way) and I believe one thing that has to be accounted for is the fact that the employee/store owner has to be sure

Also, upon reading about it, I was even asked this BEFORE paying for my goods, which means there is even a way even if I was shop lifting to get away as I could have simply pulled the item out and said I was carrying it in my pocket. Just generally disappointed with the way it was handled.

(Original post by Party55511)
They do not have any right to search you, only the police do. They can however detain you until the police arrive if they feel a law has been broken.
I'm not so sure about this - they have a legal right to detain me on the word of an employee, without ANY other proof at all?
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Darth Stewie
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(Original post by cl_steele)
Great thing about that us though technically they only have to lay a finger on you and theyre guilty of assault
Plus you can sue for mental distress.

His finger was all over me
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marcusfox
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(Original post by IChooseThisName)
I was thinking about it as an interesting point, since, today, as I was going to the cashier to pay for some items, I was confronted by a worker and asked to present the content of my pockets - my first reaction was obviously anger, but since I actually knew I was innocent and was short for time, I complied and that was that.
There is no compulsion on your part to allow this. You don't have to allow any member of staff or security to search you.

(Original post by IChooseThisName)
HOWEVER, I don't find myself being comfortable with shops reserving the right to essentially search people, and hence was wondering if anyone had an insight into what anyone potentially accused of shoplifting actually has a right to. I believe I did have a right to refuse showing my pockets (as it was my word against the employee's), but they can then of course call the police, and here it gets murky as, surely, I could just walk out [while they call the police] otherwise they're basically assaulting me if they try to stop me?
You can refuse, and then the ball is in their court. They can either restrain you, or let you go until the police arrive. However, because if they restrain you and you are later found to not have stolen anything, that is an assault, and it would be very easy to sue, so they will only do this if they are 100% sure.

That is why store security will sometimes try it on, but unless they have cast iron proof - i.e. CCTV or you are being restrained by the guy who did actually see you with his own eyes, they won't push it if you refuse.

Note that a simple anti-theft alarm sounding is not grounds to restrain/search you. They can write as many signs reserving all the rights they like, it has no basis in law whatsoever.

(Original post by IChooseThisName)
Most of this is hypothetical as most people would be content enough, I suppose, with showing that they are innocent by providing their bag/showing their pockets or so on, but I find this quite disgusting personally, and I was not even provided an apology for the inconvenience which just makes me more angry, especially considering as their 'consolidation' was stating that I'd be surprised at how many people my age do shoplift, which is an awful case of stereotyping.

Any advice?
If asked if they can look in your bag or to turn out your pockets, simply say 'no' and leave the store.
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Darth Stewie
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(Original post by IChooseThisName)
I think you mean I have a right to defend myself if they try to do a citizen's arrest on me and claim self defence in court, which I agree.
No, well yes you can defend yourself but you can actually perform a citizens arrest on someone attempting to perform a citizens arrest on you then call the police and have them arrested and possibly charged for assault if it is determined that the initial attempt at a citizens arrest was without good cause or suspicion.
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IChooseThisName
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(Original post by Darth Stewie)
No, well yes you can defend yourself but you can actually perform a citizens arrest on someone attempting to perform a citizens arrest on you then call the police and have them arrested and possibly charged for assault if it is determined that the initial attempt at a citizens arrest was without good cause or suspicion.
What if someone else performs a citizen's arrest on me attempting to do a citizen's arrest on someone who attempted to do citizen's arrest on me in the first place?
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IChooseThisName
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(Original post by marcusfox)
There is no compulsion on your part to allow this. You don't have to allow any member of staff or security to search you.



You can refuse, and then the ball is in their court. They can either restrain you, or let you go until the police arrive. However, because if they restrain you and you are later found to not have stolen anything, that is an assault, and it would be very easy to sue, so they will only do this if they are 100% sure.

That is why store security will sometimes try it on, but unless they have cast iron proof - i.e. CCTV or you are being restrained by the guy who did actually see you with his own eyes, they won't push it if you refuse.

Note that a simple anti-theft alarm sounding is not grounds to restrain/search you. They can write as many signs reserving all the rights they like, it has no basis in law whatsoever.



If asked if they can look in your bag or to turn out your pockets, simply say 'no' and leave the store.
That's what I'm not sure about. Of course I could have refused to show my pockets, or cooperate, that I understand for sure, but if they call the police then am I not legally bound to wait until the policy 'clear' me?

Or could one just say no, pay, and walk out and be legally in the right?
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Party55511
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(Original post by IChooseThisName)
I'm not so sure about this - they have a legal right to detain me on the word of an employee, without ANY other proof at all?
Well it's already kind of been covered but yes the employee who believes he saw you can detain you and call others to his aid if need be. But if it turns you were innocent you could sue. This is why they normally only detain if they are 100% sure.
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Darth Stewie
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(Original post by IChooseThisName)
What if someone else performs a citizen's arrest on me attempting to do a citizen's arrest on someone who attempted to do citizen's arrest on me in the first place?
Then you could perform a citizens arrest on him in counter to the citizens arrest he is attempting to perform on you in retaliation to the citizens arrest you performed on the guy who attempted to perform a citizens arrest on you for shop lifting!

Or you could just move to Florida and shoot them both :lockstock:
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IChooseThisName
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(Original post by Party55511)
Well it's already kind of been covered but yes the employee who believes he saw you can detain you and call others to his aid if need be. But if it turns you were innocent you could sue. This is why they normally only detain if they are 100% sure.
I see; fair enough. Just seems very difficult if you consider it from the shop's point of view, as an employee could very easily mistake someone actually shoplifting and be 100% sure and suddenly they're in court getting sued.
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Party55511
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(Original post by IChooseThisName)
I see; fair enough. Just seems very difficult if you consider it from the shop's point of view, as an employee could very easily mistake someone actually shoplifting and be 100% sure and suddenly they're in court getting sued.
Which is why we don't normally bother. I'm not putting myself in a position of getting sued over stuff that's worth very little. The only time we've ever detained someone was when multiple staff saw them and we had it on cctv.
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IChooseThisName
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(Original post by Party55511)
Which is why we don't normally bother. I'm not putting myself in a position of getting sued over stuff that's worth very little. The only time we've ever detained someone was when multiple staff saw them and we had it on cctv.
Yeah, I agree, and hence why I was also so angry; I also took a lot of the items to pay for them, so why would I then proceed to shop lift after paying for most things (the shop doesn't sell anything of high value except alcohol which wouldn't fit in my pocket anyway).

It was also mainly the way it was handled. No apology, no reason given, nothing. I was of a mind to just leave the items there and walk the extra 15 minutes to the nearest Tesco.
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xboxaddict
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I'm pretty sure they can't confront you about shoplifting until you have left the shop, so if this ever happens again don't walk out because if you do then they can call the police


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