I did plainclothes security for a few years a long time ago. It was a big no no to call the cops if you hadn't maintained the 5 steps:
-See person enter the area
-See person select merchandise
-See person conceal merchandise
-Maintain 100% surveillance (if they ditch and you stop them it's a big deal, like false imprisonment big deal)
-See person exit past POS without attempting to pay
-(these differed from the requirements for fraud and price tag switching)
ETA: LP=Loss Prevention that's what it was called when I did it, now it's AP or Asset Protection
If you grab someone that ditched items and they were savvy or mad enough to get a lawyer you would most likely be fired, the store would get sued (the
basic settlement for us in these cases was pretty big), you could get sued personally. There were a few times when I saw someone actively trying to
bait me into a 'bad stop'. We had a hands on policy (if someone tried to walk away we could grab them and use force and cuff them). If you fought
with someone and they didn't end up stealing you were in BIG trouble.
As I recall, New York was especially strict about the rules for security. I don't think it's illegal for the cops to make a stop if they are acting
in good faith, but the store and the security is almost definitely liable and in a very bad position if they get the cops harassing people. If the
security was 100% (which you need to be) that someone stole, they would make the stop themselves.
Here's my best guess as to what we're going to find out soon. The LPs have been calling the cops with people they were ALMOST 100% were stealing, and
they were usually right (it's pretty obvious when you miss someone) so there was never any complaint from the people getting busted. Then they popped
the one guy and the media got involved shedding light on the situation. Now that other people are aware this isn't how it's supposed to be, we are
going to hear about a TON more cases and heads will be rolling in LP offices all over the place. Cops like LP guys and LP guys like cops, but the
cops who were saying the store contacted them were most likely unaware that the LP guys were breaking the rules (otherwise they would have had a
different excuse or claimed another customer called it in).
Why are LP guys overzealous? Because while there aren't technically quotas, there are implied quotas. There's also a competitive streak to catch the
most. It's also fun and satisfying when you get someone. I still miss it a lot. It was a great adrenaline rush.
edit on 28-10-2013 by Domo1 because: (no reason given)