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What to do if Accused of Shoplifting

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  • What to do if Accused of Shoplifting

    Here's a typical scenario:
    You leave a shop and just outside you are stopped by 'Security', told that they believe you have merchandise on you that has not been paid for. You are told to accompany them to 'the office'. What do you do?
    Well, firstly don't panic.

    Next it is imperative that you make use of the protection given by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). Thus you have to establish your status under this, which means that there is only one thing to do. Ask

    "Am I under arrest?"

    This is of paramount importance.

    If they say yes, then you are entitled to immediate legal advice, and you don't have to submit to questions or be searched until this happens. Your welfare is then also passed to them, so if you are on medications they then become responsible for you to receive them at the right intervals.

    If they say no, then you are free to leave.

    There is no midway point - it's one or the other. No-mans-land does not exist where arrest is concerned. If you are arrested, then you are detained; if not, you still have your personal freedom.


    Interview Under Caution

    There is a legal form or words that must be told to you before what you say in interview can be admissible. The words should be familiar from programs like The Bill, "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

    Despite the words "... harm your defence if you do not mention ..." unless you have had legal advice, or have a lawyer present, you are advised NOT to answer any questions other than to say "I regret that I am unable to reply to you question until I have had legal advice".

    Taped or Written

    If you are being interviewed and it is being taped, pause before each reply and keep your answers as short as possible. Taped interviews can proceed at a galloping rate, so slow the pace - it gives you time to think, otherwise it is easy to end up inadvertently contradicting yourself. Quite often interviews are conducted in the interviewers home territory, at a time of their choosing, and having time to consider the structure before it starts. Thus they start from a strong power base. There is nothing to stop you making written notes of the questions and your answers - again it gives you time to think.

    If undergoing a written interview, then the opposite happens. Make your answers as full as you want, and make sure that these are written down properly, and that the writer does not precis what you are saying (it can change the meaning to more of what they want you to say). Again there is no reason why you cannot write down the questions and answers yourself for your own record.

    Many years ago I was interviewed by a real plonker of a manager who thought himself the dogs b*ll*cks. Me and my colleagues had mobile jobs and he was always trying to catch me and others out fiddling time. One day I had a call of nature so omitted part of my journey so as I would not finish late. Five days later he called me into the office, cautioned me then started to ask questions:

    Him (write question then ask) "On Wed 16th of Month, did you leave Kings Cross on the 19.14?"
    Me (write down his question) "On Wed 16th of Month, did you leave Kings Cross on the 19.14?"
    Me (write down answer then reply) "I believe I did, and if that is what my timesheet says, I'm sure it is correct"
    Him (write down my reply) "I believe I did, and if that is what my timesheet says, I'm sure it is correct"
    Him (write question then ask) "Why did you not alight at Cuffley Station?"
    Me (write down his question) "Why did you not alight at Cuffley Station?"
    Me (write down answer then reply) "I really can't recall that particular day's journey to say if I did get off or not. I can remember Tuesday 15th as there was a signal problem so there were delays. Nothing makes me remember Wednesday at all."
    Him (write down my reply) "I really can't recall that particular day's journey to say if I did get off or not. I can remember Tuesday 15th as there was a signal problem so there were delays. Nothing makes me remember Wednesday at all."
    [more questions and answers followed and it became quite farcical as my answers became more verbose with each question]

    The above went on for about 30 minutes, and he was getting redder and redder at my making duplicate notes. In the end he blew his top, told me to f*** of out of the office.

    What I did wrong was not to update my timesheet with the revised journey, but finding myself being cautioned concentrated my mind to control the interview.

    SO, in conclusion, always keep in mind who is controlling the interview.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: What to do if Accused of Shoplifting

    Originally posted by Esio Trot View Post
    Here's a typical scenario:
    You leave a shop and just outside you are stopped by 'Security', told that they believe you have merchandise on you that has not been paid for. You are told to accompany them to 'the office'. What do you do?
    Well, firstly don't panic.

    Next it is imperative that you make use of the protection given by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). Thus you have to establish your status under this, which means that there is only one thing to do. Ask

    "Am I under arrest?"

    This is of paramount importance.

    If they say yes, then you are entitled to immediate legal advice, and you don't have to submit to questions or be searched until this happens. Your welfare is then also passed to them, so if you are on medications they then become responsible for you to receive them at the right intervals.

    If they say no, then you are free to leave.

    There is no midway point - it's one or the other. No-mans-land does not exist where arrest is concerned. If you are arrested, then you are detained; if not, you still have your personal freedom.


    Interview Under Caution

    There is a legal form or words that must be told to you before what you say in interview can be admissible. The words should be familiar from programs like The Bill, "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

    Despite the words "... harm your defence if you do not mention ..." unless you have had legal advice, or have a lawyer present, you are advised NOT to answer any questions other than to say "I regret that I am unable to reply to you question until I have had legal advice".

    Taped or Written

    If you are being interviewed and it is being taped, pause before each reply and keep your answers as short as possible. Taped interviews can proceed at a galloping rate, so slow the pace - it gives you time to think, otherwise it is easy to end up inadvertently contradicting yourself. Quite often interviews are conducted in the interviewers home territory, at a time of their choosing, and having time to consider the structure before it starts. Thus they start from a strong power base. There is nothing to stop you making written notes of the questions and your answers - again it gives you time to think.

    If undergoing a written interview, then the opposite happens. Make your answers as full as you want, and make sure that these are written down properly, and that the writer does not precis what you are saying (it can change the meaning to more of what they want you to say). Again there is no reason why you cannot write down the questions and answers yourself for your own record.

    Many years ago I was interviewed by a real plonker of a manager who thought himself the dogs b*ll*cks. Me and my colleagues had mobile jobs and he was always trying to catch me and others out fiddling time. One day I had a call of nature so omitted part of my journey so as I would not finish late. Five days later he called me into the office, cautioned me then started to ask questions:

    Him (write question then ask) "On Wed 16th of Month, did you leave Kings Cross on the 19.14?"
    Me (write down his question) "On Wed 16th of Month, did you leave Kings Cross on the 19.14?"
    Me (write down answer then reply) "I believe I did, and if that is what my timesheet says, I'm sure it is correct"
    Him (write down my reply) "I believe I did, and if that is what my timesheet says, I'm sure it is correct"
    Him (write question then ask) "Why did you not alight at Cuffley Station?"
    Me (write down his question) "Why did you not alight at Cuffley Station?"
    Me (write down answer then reply) "I really can't recall that particular day's journey to say if I did get off or not. I can remember Tuesday 15th as there was a signal problem so there were delays. Nothing makes me remember Wednesday at all."
    Him (write down my reply) "I really can't recall that particular day's journey to say if I did get off or not. I can remember Tuesday 15th as there was a signal problem so there were delays. Nothing makes me remember Wednesday at all."
    [more questions and answers followed and it became quite farcical as my answers became more verbose with each question]

    The above went on for about 30 minutes, and he was getting redder and redder at my making duplicate notes. In the end he blew his top, told me to f*** of out of the office.

    What I did wrong was not to update my timesheet with the revised journey, but finding myself being cautioned concentrated my mind to control the interview.

    SO, in conclusion, always keep in mind who is controlling the interview.

    EXCELLENT POST IMO!!
    Not that it is much in itself
    sparkie

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What to do if Accused of Shoplifting

      Esio, surely though if a security person of a store believes that you have shoplifted and you ask them if you are under arrest surely the answer would always be yes?

      That being the case would they have to call the police in to continue the interview under caution and then the person concerned would then be entitled to have legal advice - who would supply that legal advice? When would the search commence before the police arrive or after?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What to do if Accused of Shoplifting

        they rely on fear and also peoples' ignorance of their rights.
        good post mate, very interesting.

        Comment

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