Retailers are 'easy target' for boosting arrest rates

09 March, 2007

I wholeheartedly agree with Threshers manager Tony Rice (OLN, Feb 23) .

My business has had two recent examples of "parents" accompanied by children selecting alcoholic beverages for their children's consumption at "sleepovers".

Staff asked politely to make sure that the alcohol was not for the minor's consumption and were told it was for home consumption at a party. As a responsible retailer, and knowing that the alcohol was for a minor who was with a parent choosing the drink they wanted, we refused the sale and ha d to face the abusive language that follow ed.

The very same night we asked a young male customer for ID only to discover that he was at the premises several hours before in his police uniform . What if he had witnessed this situation?

With regard to Mr Rice's forthcoming court appearance for trying to regain the property stolen by a drunken "chav", I this week spent 16 hours under arrest for defending myself in a similar situation . But my main gripe is that the officer commented that I boosted his arrest rate figures and that I was worth a £50 bonus to him plus an extra three hours' overtime!

My point is that not only are we being persecuted as retailers, we are in danger of being used to boost police officers' arrest rates and pay packets . We are an all-too-easy target for law breakers and supposedly law enforcers.

My defensive action almost cost me a criminal record for common assault - however, the "chav" apologised for his behaviour and got a caution for ABH, and I a caution for common assault.

Obviously, I have raised a complaint about this with the IPCC demanding an apology, that the caution be dropped from my file and that the officer be reprimanded.

Community policing relations have been severely damaged by the lack of support given to my business, which is a small village community store.

Matthew Wetton

Angel Stores


Chelmsford, Essex

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