What is Wrongful Arrest?
Wrongful arrest is when a person is detained and wrongfully convicted without proper legal authority. Wrongful arrest can occur when a retail employee or shop owner holds a customer against their will because they believe that the customer committed a crime in their store such as shoplifting or the retailer calls the police and has the police arrest the individual without any evidence, just the word of the retail owner or employee.
What does Wrongful Arrest Insurance cover provide for?
Covers your legal liability for defamation in respect of the wrongful arrest of a customer or where a retailer may have challenged a customer over an alleged shop lifting incident in the wrong – this may result in a legal action against them for wrongful arrest.
Should I as a Retailer have cover for Wrongful Arrest?
As a retailer/shopkeeper and dealing with people on a daily basis you have an obligation to take
reasonable care in your approach to members of the public and not to accuse anyone in the wrong or
detain persons inappropriately for a period of time. Fashion shops, high theft risk (theft attractive)
retailers like music stores, car accessories stores, food / convenience stores, off licences, fashion,
jewellery etc. particularly where there may be a security guard presence…or a tendency to challenge
suspected shoplifters….in areas of high footfall or even high crime, you should ensure that your Retailers or Shop insurance policy extends to cover such incidents.
Example of False/Wrongful Arrest:
A private security guard can commit the crime of false arrest if he restrains someone else, without their consent and without lawful authority. For example, a shopper is walking out of a store when a security guard approaches. The guard tells the shopper that he/she has to go back into the store, even though the guard didn’t see the shopper exit with unpaid merchandise, nor did anyone else. If the guard uses force, or otherwise restricts the shopper without his/her consent and without a lawful reason, the guard commits false imprisonment.
Remember: If you are involved in the Retail industry you should ensure that your business (Shop or Retailers) insurance extends to include Wrongful Arrest or Wrongful Detention Cover…..many policies do not or have only a token cover limit.