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MPotter

Doorman takes law into his own hands

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A woman (let's call her Lynda) is assaulted in a nightclub by a man twice her size (let's call him John) who is subsquently thrown out and assaulted by an overzealous doorman (let's call him Steve). Whilst you didn't witness John's alleged assault you witnessed Steve and John fighting. After breaking it up you interview both parties and John tells you that whilst he did punch Steve that was in self defence after Steve punched him. Steve has admitted to assaulting John but also tells you that he only hit John after seeing him assault Lynda although he admits that his actions took place after ejecting John from the nightclub. Neither John nor Lynda have persued complaints of assault.

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Is John drunk?

If you arrest the doorman could this lead to more problems with an understaffed nightclub? If nobody was injured and nobody has made a complaint then I think you have to be tactical and get John a taxi and speak to the head doorman to ask to put his member of staff somewhere else in the club. It was only two punches and no complaint. If they want to make a complaint later they are free to do so.

Edited by wanabe

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Strong words of advice to all involved plus club owner/head of security, send everyone separate ways. If there's no complaint, it isn't really in the public interest to be locking people up.

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You witness an affray then let them both off because it's the easy option!.

Would you be criticised?, I think you would be asked why you didn't deal with an affray that you witnessed.

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Ok, you arrest both. You're tied up for a few hours putting them through custody, as well as presumably another officer. Additionally, the nightclub is down one member of security. You have no complainant and conflicting statements - do you think CPS would press with a prosecution? Should it kick off there again, would you be criticised then?

We get criticised just for turning up. It hardly strikes me as the "easy" option. Merely the more practical one.

Edited by kit

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John is sober and in the fight with Steve admitted to punching him but claimed that his actions were self defence as Steve threw the first punch. Steve admits to assaulting John unprovoked because he was angry to see him assault Lynda. So how is the fight between the two blokes affray?

Edited by MPotter

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John is sober and in the fight with Steve admitted to punching him but claimed that his actions were self defence as Steve threw the first punch. Steve admits to assaulting John unprovoked because he was angry to see him assault Lynda. So how is the fight between the two blokes affray?

A few key points here:-

1. We can't interview people on the street at the time - hence why they come into the Police Station by arrest or appointment. We only take an initial account upon arrival. Their MG11 statement is immensely important, but that's often taken later.

2. Self defence maybe a defence in law, but that's for someone else to decide further down the line. It's not a PC's decision to make on the street when they get there, it's the decision maker or CPS' or even the Court's / jury's decision to make once we have all the evidence gathered.... we are no where near that point.

3. You need to consider what other evidence is available..... CCTV, witnesses, indeed you suggest the officers themselves have seen something happen so they have direct evidence to offer. What are all the officer's views?

4. Furthermore, it is potentially neglect of duty not for the officers not to deal with a possible crime (although arguably, they could say that speaking to both parties and investigating is enough, as long as they do something).

5. What you arrest people for isn't always what they get charged for. Ask 10 different officers what they would arrest for and you'll get 4-5 different answers. Don't worry too much about that. Again, whether people are willing to slap the cuffs on here and now will depend on a number of different factors.

6. It depends if this has been reported to the control room.... if it has, then often you're left with no choice but to arrest someone because a crime has occurred and they need reports and reports need custody numbers or suspects, etc. If they don't know about it, it's easier to sort it out informally.

7. Whilst you have said that Linda and John don't want to make complaints, you haven't said what Steve wants to do? What are his manager's views? What are the other doormen saying?

8. What are your supervisor's views?

I'd say there is not enough information here to make a conclusion yet.

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John is sober and in the fight with Steve admitted to punching him but claimed that his actions were self defence as Steve threw the first punch. Steve admits to assaulting John unprovoked because he was angry to see him assault Lynda. So how is the fight between the two blokes affray?

You witness a fight between 2 people in a public place, they swap punches and as far is I'm aware there is no minimum amount of punches needed to be an affray. The fact that both are sober has no bearing on the offence. The fact that one of them is a bouncer has no bearing on the offence, so you arrest for affray. The fact that the club will be a bouncer down is not a Police problem either. And as already mentioned to not do anything other than send one of the suspects off in a taxi is an easy way to get yourself in a disciplinary situation.

The crime report for not arresting or dealing in another way would also make some interesting reading from the grumpy Sgt in the crime desk.

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7. Steve doesn't want to persue a complaint against John in relation to the fact he punched him.

Edited by MPotter

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3. Both parties initial accounts are correct with the exception of the fact that officers did not witness John assaulting Lynda.

6. Yes.

8. Steve definitely needs arresting as his presence in the area will only lead to ASB/crime.

Edited by MPotter

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3. Both parties initial accounts are correct with the exception of the fact that officers did not witness John assaulting Lynda.

6. Yes.

8. Steve definitely needs arresting as his presence in the area will only lead to ASB/crime.

Does 8 mean that the supervisor wants Steve lifting? Or is it just a passing comment? I don't believe that Steve's ongoing presence "will only lead to ASB/crime". What's Steve's current demeanor? Is he still wound up and if I leave him there, am I concerned that he'll punch someone else? What's the licencee's thoughts?

Steve has punched someone in anger and not in self defence. Fast or slow time, he's likely to have troubles retaining his SIA licence. There are other things to consider regardless of if John or Lynda have made an allegation. Arrest isn't a punishment. Steve may well be best served to get his account of the situation down that night and have it all dealt with there and then.

There's a lot of wrong answers, but no one right answer I'd say.

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8. Steve definitely needs arresting as his presence in the area will only lead to ASB/crime.

You seriously can't arrest someone because they "need arresting" or because their "presence will lead to ASB/crime"..... That's a sure way to lose your job and get into serious trouble. Detention would be refused if you said that to a custody sergeant.

You need an offence and you need realistic grounds to justify that arrest from ID COP PLAN (except in a few specific circumstances).

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Does 8 mean that the supervisor wants Steve lifting? Or is it just a passing comment? I don't believe that Steve's ongoing presence "will only lead to ASB/crime". What's Steve's current demeanor? Is he still wound up and if I leave him there, am I concerned that he'll punch someone else? What's the licencee's thoughts?

Steve has punched someone in anger and not in self defence. Fast or slow time, he's likely to have troubles retaining his SIA licence. There are other things to consider regardless of if John or Lynda have made an allegation. Arrest isn't a punishment. Steve may well be best served to get his account of the situation down that night and have it all dealt with there and then.

There's a lot of wrong answers, but no one right answer I'd say.

The supervisor sure does and that's just one reason he needs arresting, another being that he's already assaulted John and arrest may be neccessary to prevent harm to others. He is still wound up with John but due to the lack of evidence arresting him for assaulting Lynda may be inappropiate although a section 35 would be appropiate. The licencee thinks you should turn a blind eye as John hasn't made a formal complaint nor have any bystanders. Besides John has assaulted Lynda in the presence of both Steve, the licencee and numerous bystanders so as they put it "He brought it on himself".

Edited by MPotter

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The supervisor sure does and that's just one reason he needs arresting, another being that he's already assaulted John and arrest may be neccessary to prevent harm to others. He is still wound up with John but due to the lack of evidence arresting him for assaulting Lynda may be inappropiate although a section 35 would be appropiate. The licencee thinks you should turn a blind eye as John hasn't made a formal complaint nor have any bystanders. Besides John has assaulted Lynda in the presence of both Steve, the licencee and numerous bystanders so as they put it "He brought it on himself".

The supervisor's view isn't a reason he needs arresting. They can have some input into if the allegation of the crime is reported or investigated, but they don't decide who gets arrested or not.

I wouldn't be using 35 on this. I don't think I've ever used that. Don't even think I'd know how to.....

We don't approve and cannot endorse poetic justice, as nice as it might be sometimes. We are here to enforce the law, regardless of whether or not people deserved what they got or not.

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