Publisher’s Heroic Citizen Arrest Acknowledged But Police Urge Caution


The bravery of Todd Scott, an Auckland news publisher, who intervened to perform a citizen’s arrest on a thief has been acknowledged by the police. However, authorities have reiterated that it is safer to dial 111 during such confrontations.

Scott, owner of the National Business Review, found himself in the hot seat when a man began to assault store employees and attempted to leave a downtown supermarket without paying last Wednesday. Driven by instinct, Scott restrained the alleged thief.

Despite subduing the offender for ten minutes while staff alerted authorities, Scott was taken aback when advised to release the suspect or potentially face his own arrest. This guidance was reiterated by the police, suggesting that the ideal course of action in future would be to call the authorities.

Inspector Dave Christoffersen, Auckland City area prevention manager, applauded Scott’s courage, but cautioned that observing the individual and furnishing a description or vehicle identification would have been a safer route to follow, advising the public to wait for police dispatch.

Scott was at Countdown Metro, on Lower Albert St, when he encountered an aggressive and inebriated individual attempting to escape with crates of alcohol. He was taken aback by the incident and did not perceive his actions as erroneous. The store’s security personnel stood in solidarity with him during the incident.

However, police guidance relayed to Scott via the store manager suggested releasing the offender, surprising Scott. Subsequently, the police advised that they could not attend the scene and that a citizen’s arrest could not be enacted. Furthermore, Scott was informed that he, too, might face arrest.

Scott invited the arresting officer to proceed if he’d violated any laws. In response, the officer alluded to potential assault charges, predicated on the suspected thief pressing charges.

The prime focus is ensuring everyone’s safety, said Christoffersen. He further emphasised reporting all unlawful activities to the police, refraining from vigilante actions that might imperil oneself.

While engaging with management and security, Scott noticed a second person absconding with three unpaid crates of alcohol.

National party spokesperson for justice, Paul Goldsmith, underscored the need for a more effective approach in dealing with such incidents. He noted the danger in citizens taking matters into their own hands and lamented the ineffective response to retail theft, attributing it to an existing “culture of excuses.”

Scott Pritchard, a leading businessman, has echoed the call for an elevated police presence to tackle the escalating crime rate in downtown Auckland. A police station or public police presence, Pritchard argued, would be immensely beneficial in offering peace of mind to the city’s 45,000 residents.


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