In an act of citizen bravery, National Business Review owner, Todd Scott, came to the attention of local police when he detained a verbally abusive shoplifter at a downtown Auckland supermarket. Scott, acting on instinct, tackled the rowdy thief to the ground after he attempted to abscond with several boxes of alcohol without paying.
The businessman managed to hold onto the thief for around 10 minutes while the supermarket staff alerted the police. However, Scott was taken aback when he was instructed by the attending officers to release his captive or face being arrested himself. Despite Scott’s courageous intervention, law enforcement officials have strongly advised against such action, suggesting that citizens should first dial 111 in similar future instances.
Inspector Dave Christoffersen, Auckland City area prevention manager, acknowledged Scott’s courage in stepping in to help. Still, he pointed out that it would have been safer to alert the police first and then maintain a safe distance, giving an accurate description of the perpetrator and any potential vehicle involved. The Inspector also emphasized that while there are a few situations specified under the Crimes Act where a civilian could legally detain another person, his advice, due to the unpredictable nature of these incidents, is always to contact law enforcement first.
Scott found himself in the impromptu role of a crime fighter while shopping at Countdown Metro on Lower Albert Street. He recalled stumbling upon a confrontational and heavily intoxicated individual who was verbally abusing the supermarket staff before attempting to leave without paying for several boxes of alcohol. Despite this atypical intervention, he was surprised when the supermarket manager informed him that the police were unable to attend the scene and urged him to release the shoplifter to avoid a potential arrest.
Continuing to make waves, Scott openly challenged the responding officers to arrest him if he had violated any law. He was astounded at the caveat: he could face assault charges if the shoplifter decided to take legal action.
According to Inspector Christoffersen, the police force prioritizes the safety of everyone involved in such situations. He recommends that citizens report any crime instead of taking matters into their own hands, potentially risking their safety and wellbeing.
While Scott was addressing the supermarket management about the prior incident, another brazen shoplifter was spotted exiting the store with several boxes of unpaid alcoholic beverages.
Paul Goldsmith, the National Party’s justice spokesperson, voiced his concerns over the rising angst among the public. He worried about an evolving trend where citizens might take law enforcement into their own hands if they lose faith in the existing justice system.
Scott Pritchard, a prominent businessman, seconded Scott’s sentiments by calling for increased police visibility in downtown Auckland. After the closure of the downtown police station in 2013, Pritchard believes a new station, or some form of a law enforcement presence, would instill a sense of safety amongst the inner-city populace, thereby curbing the escalating retail crime rates.