arrest and liability

Discussion in 'Security and Bouncers' started by chinto, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    In my state, any arrest by a security guard is a citizens arrest. Any US citizen has the power to arrest, but of course also has all the liability for false imprisonment and or even kidnapping if things are not done right. what are the rules in your state or country?
     
  2. wingerjim

    wingerjim Green Belt

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    Honestly I do not know how that is applicable in my state. I have heard of armed citizens holding a criminal suspect until the police are called and this is appropriate.
     
  3. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    In Michigan, as I understand it, citizens and private security guards have exactly the same arrest powers (see below):

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(z4...leg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-764-16

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(0f...leg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-764-20

    However, there is a special class of citizens known as 'Private Security Police Officers', who have additional arrest authority:

    http://www.michigan.gov/mcoles/0,4607,7-229-41626_42413---,00.html

    As to civil liability, police are generally immune, but not in all cases. Citizens and others have no such immunity.

    http://www.poam.net/legal/2011/how-does-governmental-immunity-apply-to-the-acts-of-police-officers/

     
  4. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I've been a cop, a security man before that, a bouncer before that, etc. I haven't got the slightest idea! (duh)
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Google is your friend.
     
  6. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Yes! I love Google.

    But it never really mattered when I was working. As a cop, I knew the law as it applied to my particular job. Had a citizen done a citizen's arrest when I came upon the scene, I would have referred to my supervisor. As security, I would have just held them down until the police, or a supervisor showed up. As a bouncer, I would have thrown them out - or turned them over to a bigger bouncer and said "hold this son of a ***** until I get someone".
     
  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I am glad you didn't have the issue of being on the wrong side of the law without knowing it. Sadly, many people have a great many assumptions about self-defense and the law in general that just are not true. People go to prison for it at times. No one can be expert in all areas of the law, but I feel those who work in any type of security work or choose to arm themselves really should have some idea of what they can and cannot legally do. :)
     
  8. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    interesting to hear the inpute so far. I think that I would like to hear more.
     
  9. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Having retail stores in a previous life we lost mega dollars to shoplifters. Eventually we put in thousands and thousands of dollars for CCTV and anti theft systems. Then we stopped every person who set off the alarms and if they had stolen stock, I held them, sometimes by physical restraint, until the police arrived. Whether they were charged or not was up to the police. It surprised a lot of guys when they found themselves restrained by a mild mannered shop keeper. We never had one accusation of false arrest.

    However, word went round quick. Don't pinch stuff from that a*#&h*le because he will grab you.

    People look at shoplifting as a bit of a joke but it is a huge, huge problem for retailers and if not controlled can put you out of business. The one thing I had going for me though, was the total support of the local police. They were fantastic and they always were quick to respond.
     
  10. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    good that they did respond so well, but what were the risks you were running in your state if any? is your state different then the neighboring states? what are the use of force laws and things that might have hurt you if any??
     
  11. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Probably the biggest risk would be 'unlawful arrest'. That's why we had to be absolutely sure that merchandise had indeed been stolen. Also, a lot of the stealing was done by 'druggies' looking for things they could easily sell. Not much chance of them complaining to anyone.

    At times I forcibly removed young guys who were causing disturbance but most people leave when asked. It is the 'tough' guys showing off to their friends who perhaps would be the biggest risk. It's the same story you often here. Go for the loudest and toughest guy first and the rest disappear quickly when his balloon is burst.
     
  12. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    For what it is worth, stopping someone whom you suspect, but did not witness, stealing merchandise, and holding them for the police may not have gotten you sued yet, but eventually it will.

    Many 'big box' stores have implemented policies to curtail shoplifting, but they are based on a bluff, not the law. When you leave the store, there is a person at the exit checking receipts and looking in bags. Only...they have no power to stop you if you refuse to show them your receipt or let them look in your bag. They will try, saying "Sir, sir, please, I have to look in your bag, it's store policy!" Well, I don't work for your store, so your policy does not apply to me. I do not stop, I will not stop. I will not show my receipt, I will not open my bag. I am not a criminal. If they suspect me of stealing, then they can stop me and hold me; I will not resist. But when the police arrive and determine that I have not stolen anything, I will insist that a report be taken. My first stop the next day will be my lawyer's office, and then I own your store for false arrest.

    The only exception to this that I am aware of is the 'club' stores, where you are a member of the club to join and shop there. In those stores, you agree to be searched when you become a member. Since you've already given your permission, they can demand to see your receipt and look in your bag. But not general retail stores.

    That is why most retailers who hire security staff train them in exactly what they can and cannot do. Loss prevention is no good if it results in lawsuits left, right, and center. It's better to let it go if you did not directly witness the person take and conceal the item. Tackle someone because they say "NO!" when you ask them to stop? Not unless you've got your ducks in a row.

    I'm not lawsuit happy - in fact, I've never sued anyone yet. But I'll make an exception of a store security guard lays his meathooks on me and I haven't stolen anything. That simply will NOT happen without someone writing me a VERY big check.
     
  13. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Fortunately I no longer have the problem but stealing from a shop is no different from stealing from your home. Unfortunately society doesn't necessarily agree and generally the courts are more lenient on shoplifters. As retail stores struggle to make profits in the tough economic conditions, that is starting to change. :asian:
     
  14. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I haven't seen any of the signs you mention, but I'm sure it would affect my purchasing decisions.

    Shoplifting is a crime and I don't do it. I just don't like submitting myself for search on general principles.

    Most people are generally unaware that employee theft represents similar loss ratios as shoplifting.
     
  15. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    All the big stores have these signs here so it would be hard to do your weekly shop if you set out to avoid them. :)

    As for employee theft. At one stage I got so sick of it I bought an ordinary video camera, cut a hole in the ceiling above the cash register and took the tapes home overnight. Next day the police came and took away three of our staff, another three offered their resignation on the spot. That was about half our staff gone in 24 hours. There were a lot of nervous looking people walking around for a few days which indicated we didn't catch everyone, but it did stop the losses big time. :)

    Yes, employee theft, here, is even higher that shop stealing. :asian:
     
  16. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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  17. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Lots of good information here. Also consider the 'special' circumstances of the bail bondsman... Then it really gets hairy!
     
  18. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    That pretty much covers me. "Reasonable belief". :asian:
     
  19. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    yes, but in your state what right of resistance is had by the suspect? any? also what force laws apply? what liability attaches?
     
  20. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    If you detained someone for theft, why would they have any right to resist? Force would be easy, as in "reasonable force", which obviously could be tested in court. Liability, I presume you mean "excessive force", could leave you open to civil action. Liability for wrongful detention would depend on "reasonable belief" and any other legislation that may give someone redress.
     

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