the forum

19 March, 2010

Q What am I meant to do with a shoplifter while Iím waiting for police to turn up? What rights do they have???A I know someone who tried to restrain a shoplifter once. They were bitten, punched and verbally abused and when they released the woman she smashed a number of bottles on her way out. Moral: if youíre going to apprehend a shoplifter, do so calmly and only attempt to retrieve the stolen goods.

JK, London??A Let the person go. It just isnít worth the aggravation of apprehending them. Inevitably you will have to use some element of force which could leave you wide open to a charge of assault. Make sure you have a good CCTV system and let the police see the footage when they arrive. It may be that the shoplifter is a known criminal and if so they could end up in court.

Neil, Wiltshire??A You could be waiting several hours for the police Ė if they turn up at all. Is it worth the hassle of?trying to hold someone that long? I donít think the shoplifter has any rights beyond the usual not to be apprehended against their will. You could make a bad situation a lot worse.

Nick, London??Q Can I stop someone from taking pictures inside my shop? Or even outside???A Youíre allowed to ask someone to refrain from photographing the inside of your shop. Outside the shop, people are free to do as they please with their camera or phone, although the Counter-terrorism Act does give police the right to stop people taking photos if there is a perceived security risk. Although I doubt you are one.

Michael, Staffordshire??Q If a member of staff asks to be paid in Champagne, is there a legal way of doing this??AS, London??Q Is it a legal requirement for my shop to have a fire alarm??Billie, Kent

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Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle Ė which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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