Widely reported in national media is another incident of a fatality involving a security officer and a suspected shoplifter.
The BBC reports:
‘a security guard was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after an alleged shoplifter was tackled to the ground and bled to death when bottles he was carrying smashed’.
People in the security industry on all social media channels have been giving their opinions on the subject. However, most of these so-called professionals and security ‘experts’ are totally wrong when it comes to use of force. Therefore, please enjoy this post on use of force in security by Tatry Group.
Security staff should not leave the premises
Unlike other providers, Tatry Group has the view that leaving the premises to engage in the pursuit of a shoplifter is gross misconduct. This is because by leaving the premises, they are entering an uncontrolled environment which greatly increases the risks – to themselves, the shoplifter and the company. The pursuit will increase stress on the cardiovascular system, and, if followed by a lengthy struggle, can and has led to deaths in the past.
Best practice is not to arrest
Many security staff are not properly trained on arresting in the absents of police. Best practice, therefore, is to ensure security staff do not make arrests – unless, of course, the security supplier takes the time to ensure proper training; which is highly unlikely. If done incorrectly, it may be considered unlawful and a breach of the suspect’s rights.
In most cases, reputational damage will be costlier than whatever would have been stolen. Generally due to lack of facilities, restraint situations can quickly become viral on social media.
Flawed key performance indicators
Many retailers request in house or contract security suppliers to subscribe to their key performance indicators which worrying create arrest targets. This creates pressure to meet those targets against the best interests of security or the public. In addition, this encourages reactions to situations rather than proactive deterrence.
Good security is proactive not reactive
Of course, there must be contingency plans and procedures for security personnel to respond effectively to incidents. However, at first instance, security personnel should be a proactive deterrent. There are many studies which prove this theory but it is ignored by management with little expertise in risk management.
Most retail security personnel work alone due budgets, to poor security strategies and unprofessional security contractors just doing the bare minimum that is asked of them. Security personnel working alone are lone workers, regardless of whether they have sales assistants around them – there is legislation protecting them that needs to be adhered to.
No to ‘no touch policies’
Some people suggest that a ‘no touch’ policy would have avoided such incidents. This can lead to criminal and civil litigation for the policy makers. As a policy, this is in breach of the Criminal Law Act 1967 which states that people have a right to use reasonable force in certain situations, and a breach of the common law right to self-defence.
Root cause – organisational risk management
This is an organisational risk management problem. If we take any similar case and perform both a root cause analysis, we can see that, as usual, the causes are poor management, poor understanding of security and risk management, poor training and, lastly, some poor individuals either losing their lives or losing their future for minimum wage. Mistakes made by staff are reflections of mistakes made by management.
Contact us today for a free no obligation meeting to discuss how we can add value to your organisation with our range of security consultancy and manned guarding services.
BBC link: Here is a link for a BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-38932180
Tatry Group Ltd
23 First Avenue, Building B Milton Keynes, MK1 1DX
0800 411 86 71