Store Security releasing offenders

General Law Enforcement discussion which does not fit into other channels. Post your thoughts and feelings about anything you want (LE related), or just vent those fumes about whatever is on your chest.
Thefairburn
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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Thefairburn » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:50 pm

OCCOP wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:33 pm
Technically not legal. S. 494 requires a person when arrested by a citizen to be turned over to a peace officer. Phone is not acceptable, you can't turn a body over via phone...

I am not saying it hasn't been done, I know it has for at least 20 years in some places but I don't agree with it. I think for it to be truly legal it requires another actual/real change in the Law, not the police services trying to sneak (for lack of a better word) around the written law without changing the Law...

I get it, it sucks to have to waste police resources/time on this minor offence and has all sorts of Charter implications but I don't believe that it is technically legal. I've written on this topic before at length in relation to the potential problems (people charged under false identity documents, LPO mistakes in communication of information-bad CPIC results missing Wanted hits, etc.) this creates but none of them have reportedly happened and the powers that be don't care because so far it seems to work...

I don't personally like these half-assed programs (missing the actual step of making them technically legal), that were created for expediency and not made totally proper.

Its not a bad program...it meets a need but I still have problems with it not (by virtue of the formal written law found in the Criminal Code section 494) being technically legal.

As a security guard who occasionally makes s.494 arrests for theft, this would be my concern if such a program were to come up in my area (not likely due to the municipality I work in not having a high call volume, but 'what if'). If I've made an arrest, I cannot just 'undo' that and release the person, as going by how s.494 spells it out, delivery to a peace officer is mandatory.

That's kind of the same issue with just getting the merchandise back and releasing after making an arrest. If I've just told them to give the stuff back and they do it and I haven't gone hands on or anything like that, that's all well and good as far as I can see it because I haven't made an arrest at that point. But if there's resistance to that or theres another circumstance (prolific offender, high value merchandise, etc) which causes me to not just let it go (I'm not arresting someone over a toothbrush and a bag of chips, whether the client likes it or not) and make an arrest, at that point I'm essentially taking someone else's rights away and potentially using force to do it, and since I haven't had any extra powers bestowed upon me like police officers have, it isn't my place to just decide to now let that person go after I've done what, outside of a lawful arrest, would amount to forcible confinement and potentially assault. I need to deliver that person to a peace officer so they can make a determination about my arestee's actions, and mine.

This kind of program seems like a good idea and I really like the merits of it, taking a load off the police officer's shoulders in a busy area is of course a great thing. But I feel like this program is waiting for someone to go "Hey wait a minute-" and question, or worse exploit, the s.494 issues brought up here. I have seen it happen where people fake-shoplift and test continuity of LPOs for the sole purpose of being forcibly confined, looking for a quick payout from a civil suit. Would hate to see a security guard, company, store, and/or police service get jammed up in a lawsuit over something like this. Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Punisher-One » Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:35 pm

Thefairburn wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:50 pm
If I've just told them to give the stuff back and they do it and I haven't gone hands on or anything like that, that's all well and good as far as I can see it because I haven't made an arrest at that point.
What you are describing is not legal FYI, and you have in fact legally violated someone's rights.

Once you stop someone's free movement by identifying yourself as Security, you have arrested them. Full stop. Now continuing that and failing to provide them all their charter rights (counsel, caution, turn over to a Peace Officer to ensure you arrest was legal) is breaching their charter rights.

Secondly, if the person says "no I am not giving you this back" is it your intention to arrest them anyways?

If not then likely your stop was not lawful, and if yes then your actions after are not lawful.

Read up on "psychological detention" my friend. If the person you are stopping believes they must comply, which a reasonable and prudent person would with someone who identifies themselves as store security, they are legally arrested at that point and you must read them their rights to counsel and deliver them to a Peace Officer as per S.494.

You speak of "setting up LPO" later in your post and the legal liabilities of false detention. You understand the legal liability of security making false arrests clearly. The above scenario is exactly something that can get you in the same legal liability hot water if a person really knows their rights and decides to pursue it.

Again FYI and your protection.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby IndictableChaser » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:21 am

Punisher-One wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Thefairburn wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:50 pm
If I've just told them to give the stuff back and they do it and I haven't gone hands on or anything like that, that's all well and good as far as I can see it because I haven't made an arrest at that point.
What you are describing is not legal FYI, and you have in fact legally violated someone's rights.

Once you stop someone's free movement by identifying yourself as Security, you have arrested them. Full stop. Now continuing that and failing to provide them all their charter rights (counsel, caution, turn over to a Peace Officer to ensure you arrest was legal) is breaching their charter rights.

Secondly, if the person says "no I am not giving you this back" is it your intention to arrest them anyways?

If not then likely your stop was not lawful, and if yes then your actions after are not lawful.

Read up on "psychological detention" my friend. If the person you are stopping believes they must comply, which a reasonable and prudent person would with someone who identifies themselves as store security, they are legally arrested at that point and you must read them their rights to counsel and deliver them to a Peace Officer as per S.494.

You speak of "setting up LPO" later in your post and the legal liabilities of false detention. You understand the legal liability of security making false arrests clearly. The above scenario is exactly something that can get you in the same legal liability hot water if a person really knows their rights and decides to pursue it.

Again FYI and your protection.
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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby CopyCatPolice » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:54 pm

IndictableChaser wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:21 am
Punisher-One wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:35 pm
Thefairburn wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:50 pm
If I've just told them to give the stuff back and they do it and I haven't gone hands on or anything like that, that's all well and good as far as I can see it because I haven't made an arrest at that point.
What you are describing is not legal FYI, and you have in fact legally violated someone's rights.

Once you stop someone's free movement by identifying yourself as Security, you have arrested them. Full stop. Now continuing that and failing to provide them all their charter rights (counsel, caution, turn over to a Peace Officer to ensure you arrest was legal) is breaching their charter rights.

Secondly, if the person says "no I am not giving you this back" is it your intention to arrest them anyways?

If not then likely your stop was not lawful, and if yes then your actions after are not lawful.

Read up on "psychological detention" my friend. If the person you are stopping believes they must comply, which a reasonable and prudent person would with someone who identifies themselves as store security, they are legally arrested at that point and you must read them their rights to counsel and deliver them to a Peace Officer as per S.494.

You speak of "setting up LPO" later in your post and the legal liabilities of false detention. You understand the legal liability of security making false arrests clearly. The above scenario is exactly something that can get you in the same legal liability hot water if a person really knows their rights and decides to pursue it.

Again FYI and your protection.
Cough consensual conversation Cough
I'd be inclined to agree with IC on this one Punisher. I've seen some pretty ridiculous psychological detention decisions in my jurisdiction and I think even they would not be willing to rule that identifying as Store Security and requesting merchandise be returned constitutes detention/arrest

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Punisher-One » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:00 pm

CopyCatPolice wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:54 pm
I'd be inclined to agree with IC on this one Punisher. I've seen some pretty ridiculous psychological detention decisions in my jurisdiction and I think even they would not be willing to rule that identifying as Store Security and requesting merchandise be returned constitutes detention/arrest
If the person says "no thanks, I have not stolen anything, have a nice day" and walks away, are they free to go?

Why is a Store Security person asking for an item back as opposed to following all the steps for a lawful arrest?

Keeping in mind they can not use "reasonable grounds" like a PC.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Pete Broccolo » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:36 am

Punisher-One wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:00 pm
CopyCatPolice wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:54 pm
I'd be inclined to agree with IC on this one Punisher. I've seen some pretty ridiculous psychological detention decisions in my jurisdiction and I think even they would not be willing to rule that identifying as Store Security and requesting merchandise be returned constitutes detention/arrest
If the person says "no thanks, I have not stolen anything, have a nice day" and walks away, are they free to go?

Why is a Store Security person asking for an item back as opposed to following all the steps for a lawful arrest?

Keeping in mind they can not use "reasonable grounds" like a PC.
I would say it comes down to the store's corporate policy on covering liability for injuries and damage caused during an arrest versus simply the deterrence factor of uniformed security.

Even if you work for contract security (cough, gag, G4S, gag, cough), and the store your employer is contracted to DOES want you to arrest, how much will your employer cover you for?!

THEN it comes down to response-time and / or focus / interest of the Police Service for the jurisdiction regarding them attending to say the magic words, use the magic tools, and spirit the "client(s)" away to Candyland.
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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Bairdo » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:01 pm

Punisher-One wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:00 pm
If the person says "no thanks, I have not stolen anything, have a nice day" and walks away, are they free to go?
Yep, sure are - unless the security guard has decided otherwise - and then it is more likely to have become an arrest or detention. Simply identifying themselves as a security guard does not automatically make it a detention/arrest and trigger the other stuff you listed.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Punisher-One » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:18 pm

Bairdo wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:01 pm
Punisher-One wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:00 pm
If the person says "no thanks, I have not stolen anything, have a nice day" and walks away, are they free to go?
Yep, sure are - unless the security guard has decided otherwise - and then it is more likely to have become an arrest or detention. Simply identifying themselves as a security guard does not automatically make it a detention/arrest and trigger the other stuff you listed.
You are right, simply identifying oneself as security isn't necessarily a detention. However identifying yourself, stopping someone's free movement using the authority of "store security", and then demanding a allegedly stolen product back in my opinion would. A reasonable person would think they have to stop, thus they are detained.

Also why would store security be stopping someone to demand an item back, as opposed to legally conducting an arrest anyway? Likely because they don't have the 'found committing' portion to legally arrest at that time. They lost one of the steps along the way and aren't quite sure the person still has the stolen merchandise. Thus they are looking to confirm they have it still by "asking for it back" so they don't make a false arrest - which isn't strictly legal and which has civil and criminal liability if the person stopped has a lawyer.

If the intent is to arrest the person if they say "no thanks I have not stolen anything" then simply stopping them with that intent is legally an arrest anyways. If the store security has all the grounds needed to legally arrest then do so, if not then don't approach the person.

All to say - is this really worth it for a shoplifter and a close to minimum wage job? The company isn't going to back you up these days. Not worth it IMHO.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby York » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:47 pm

Also why would store security be stopping someone to demand an item back, as opposed to legally conducting an arrest anyway?
Less paperwork and hassle :D

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Punisher-One » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:55 pm

I like this discussion. Lots of info.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Fonthill » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:34 am

Punisher-One wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:18 pm
Bairdo wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:01 pm
Punisher-One wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:00 pm
If the person says "no thanks, I have not stolen anything, have a nice day" and walks away, are they free to go?
Yep, sure are - unless the security guard has decided otherwise - and then it is more likely to have become an arrest or detention. Simply identifying themselves as a security guard does not automatically make it a detention/arrest and trigger the other stuff you listed.
You are right, simply identifying oneself as security isn't necessarily a detention. However identifying yourself, stopping someone's free movement using the authority of "store security", and then demanding a allegedly stolen product back in my opinion would. A reasonable person would think they have to stop, thus they are detained.

Also why would store security be stopping someone to demand an item back, as opposed to legally conducting an arrest anyway? Likely because they don't have the 'found committing' portion to legally arrest at that time. They lost one of the steps along the way and aren't quite sure the person still has the stolen merchandise. Thus they are looking to confirm they have it still by "asking for it back" so they don't make a false arrest - which isn't strictly legal and which has civil and criminal liability if the person stopped has a lawyer.

If the intent is to arrest the person if they say "no thanks I have not stolen anything" then simply stopping them with that intent is legally an arrest anyways. If the store security has all the grounds needed to legally arrest then do so, if not then don't approach the person.

All to say - is this really worth it for a shoplifter and a close to minimum wage job? The company isn't going to back you up these days. Not worth it IMHO.
The best ones are the security at Walmart. They are stationed at the front and the beepers goes off Can I see you bag. NO. Piss off lol
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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Thefairburn » Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:36 am

Punisher-One wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:00 pm
CopyCatPolice wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:54 pm
I'd be inclined to agree with IC on this one Punisher. I've seen some pretty ridiculous psychological detention decisions in my jurisdiction and I think even they would not be willing to rule that identifying as Store Security and requesting merchandise be returned constitutes detention/arrest
If the person says "no thanks, I have not stolen anything, have a nice day" and walks away, are they free to go?

Why is a Store Security person asking for an item back as opposed to following all the steps for a lawful arrest?

Keeping in mind they can not use "reasonable grounds" like a PC.
Well my first try at this reply didn't post, so here we go again.

You are absolutely correct that security cannot act on reasonable grounds, as per s.494 we, as with any normal citizen which we are, can only arrest for offenses we are directly witnessing, with absolutely no doubt. Theres also the 'fresh pursuit' section but that's kind of separate to what we're discussing here.

The idea of challenging someone to attempt to recover product without making an arrest exists for a couple reasons, mainly to minimize loss for the client as is our goal. A guard might work for a company and/or client that discourages them from making arrests. A guard may have the legal grounds to make a s.494 arrest, but would receive reprimand from their employer for doing so, so they may elect to attempt to recover product from the SOC instead. I do not agree with this practice and I fortunately work for a company and client that will back up guards conducting lawful arrests for valid reasons, however that is not typically the case in the private security industry. Companies and clients want maximum results with minimum risk, hence just trying to get product back without arresting someone for it.

So personally the reason I and my colleagues will challenge someone without making an arrest is because we don't have the grounds to make an arrest, and (as far as I knew prior to reading your reply) engaging in dialogue with someone who may have committed theft is legally acceptable. It is simply another tool to use as opposed to saying "sorry client, nothing I can do." Its one of those children's gold starts that says "you tried". This will often be a situation where we've received a call regarding a theft and show up as the person is leaving or at some point after they've selected and concealed product, so we are unable to make an arrest as we haven't really witnessed an offense take place with our own 2 eyes.

The whole interaction can be thought of as a 'bluff'. The idea being to tell the person that we have them on CCTV camera, and that if they are uncooperative and flee the area it looks more suspicious on them. I am essentially bluffing and hoping that they dont have a knowledge of where our cameras are. I am attempting to convince them that it is in their best interest to cooperate with what I'm asking, not telling or trying to imply to them that they are not free to leave. Hence bringing up points like incriminating themselves by leaving the area and, if it happens to be someone I know of who has conditions/undertakings like no tools, no alcohol/drugs, not allowed to be on property or in this municipality, etc etc, reminding them how much they might want to avoid being jammed up by the local constabulary for breach (and before you say "if you know they're breaching conditions you should call it in" we have tried doing so and been all but directly told that breach calls are of no interest to the police service our site falls in). And, being that it is a bluff, ultimately if the person decides to tell me to kick rocks, I'm not taking any further action.

I appreciate your advice and I will definitely be looking in to psychological arrest case law. I am familiar with the concept, however I thought it would more apply to me actually telling someone they are not free to leave or physically restricting them in some form (blocking a door/hallway, etc) though I suppose that would run dangerously close to confinement- both of which are practices I and the colleagues who have their wits about them would never engage in without the grounds to carry out an arrest, at which point the person would generally be expressly informed of our intent to arrest them.

So to clarify, if we don't have grounds to make an arrest, we won't be doing ANYTHING beyond engaging in that convincing dialogue and asking for the product back and if they call our bluff and leave, so be it. We tried, and that's all we can do without the grounds for arrest being satisfied.

Again I appreciate the discussion and am eager to hear any advice/opinions they anyone may have regarding this concept!
Last edited by Thefairburn on Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Store Security releasing offenders

Postby Thefairburn » Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:59 am

Fonthill wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:34 am
Punisher-One wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:18 pm
Bairdo wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:01 pm


Yep, sure are - unless the security guard has decided otherwise - and then it is more likely to have become an arrest or detention. Simply identifying themselves as a security guard does not automatically make it a detention/arrest and trigger the other stuff you listed.
You are right, simply identifying oneself as security isn't necessarily a detention. However identifying yourself, stopping someone's free movement using the authority of "store security", and then demanding a allegedly stolen product back in my opinion would. A reasonable person would think they have to stop, thus they are detained.

Also why would store security be stopping someone to demand an item back, as opposed to legally conducting an arrest anyway? Likely because they don't have the 'found committing' portion to legally arrest at that time. They lost one of the steps along the way and aren't quite sure the person still has the stolen merchandise. Thus they are looking to confirm they have it still by "asking for it back" so they don't make a false arrest - which isn't strictly legal and which has civil and criminal liability if the person stopped has a lawyer.

If the intent is to arrest the person if they say "no thanks I have not stolen anything" then simply stopping them with that intent is legally an arrest anyways. If the store security has all the grounds needed to legally arrest then do so, if not then don't approach the person.

All to say - is this really worth it for a shoplifter and a close to minimum wage job? The company isn't going to back you up these days. Not worth it IMHO.
The best ones are the security at Walmart. They are stationed at the front and the beepers goes off Can I see you bag. NO. Piss off lol

Punisher, you're pretty much bang on with the logic behind asking someone for product back as opposed to arresting them for theft here. It is essentially an attempt to get at least some sort of positive resolution for the client in that at least they got their stuff back. We cant arrest them because as you touched on, we have to have found the person committing the offense and, say we show up to xyz retail store and a manager says "that guy put a bunch of stuff in his backpack", we haven't witnessed a thing. And since most retail employees arent comfortable with starting that arrest process themselves since they witnessed the offense, or perhaps they too do not have all the necessary steps to initiate an arrest, this is really our only recourse beyond saying "sorry can't help you."



Your comment also brings up the issue of intent. I can see what you're saying that if a guard's intent was to solicit a confession of an offense to validate their arrest, this could indeed be a no-no. I can't speak to the motives of every security guard but when I do this type of confronting, I don't particularly care about seeing them charged or anything (considering theyll get a PTA and be back stealing the next day anyways), I just want the stuff back. Does that impact whether having the sort of dialogue described in my previous comment affect things? Now we're getting into whether a false arrest would be strict or absolute liability, and how to prove the mens rea for it. I get the feeling this could be a very deep rabbit hole indeed.


Fonthill- My site does contain a Walmart, who conveniently contracts their own security guards to stand by those anti theft buzzers and ask people for receipts. I have had to explain to several of them that have confronted people on account of the buzzer going off that the device, which is 1) easily defeated, and 2) produces a lot of false triggers, does not stand-in for witnessing selection/concealment/attempt to leave w/o payment, etc. When it comes to arresting for theft. Unfortunately some of them have not heeded to this advice, to the tune of locking the doors on people, blocking then from exiting, pushing/shoving, and tripping/leg-sweeping them while chasing them out of the store. Fortunately things seem to have calmed down now, but needless to say we have expressed our concerns to Walmart regarding their choice of contracted security guards lol.


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