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MPotter

Spitting in shopping centre

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MPotter

You are called by the duty manager of a shopping centre who reports that someone has spat on the floor of a shopping centre and the person is still present. Given that it is private property are there any offences there? What do you do?

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PCW

Our standard disclaimer: This forum is not intended as a legal advice drop-in centre. PoliceSpecials.com disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, reliability, operability or availability of information or material on this site, including - but not limited to - the documents available in the 'Reference Library' and 'Downloads' areas.Please note that comments and advice given here with the best of intentions by the host, moderators or other users of the forum may not be correct, and that any advice given, in particular advice on the law and its application, is no substitute for personal legal advice from a solicitor.

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Indiana Jones

Good grief.

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Sapor62

We could argue all day about whether an offence has been committed there's plenty of variables which I won't go into.

Bottom line - is it in the public interest? It's going to be more cost effective and less of a strain on police resources if you just get a cleaner to clean up the spit and tell the customer to not return to the shop.

Obviously if someone were to spit on the floor in front of me then I would be having stern words because I think spitting in general is disgusting anyway, but I wouldn't expect to be called to such a scenario and I suspect the call taker would tell the caller police won't attend anyway or it would be a slow time response as there's much more pressing matters to attend to.

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PCW

The shopping centre, why is it private? are the public allowed access to shop, are they allowed to access the premises on payment or otherwise? why do police have to attend in your opinion? I return to question to you @MPotter what should police do, especially as police aim to be victim lead

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Sapor62

I think there's a common misconception between what is "Privately owned" and by what is "Private property"

My local supermarket is quite clearly a public space, however, it is Privately Owned. That won't stop me arresting a shoplifter, however.

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Rocket

I'd say it's the duty managers problem to deal with himself and stop wasting police time.

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MPotter
3 hours ago, PCW said:

The shopping centre, why is it private? are the public allowed access to shop, are they allowed to access the premises on payment or otherwise? why do police have to attend in your opinion? I return to question to you @MPotter what should police do, especially as police aim to be victim lead

I meant a publicly accessible shopping centre owned by a private company.

In my personal opinion Sapor62 has hit that nail on the head.

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george b
4 hours ago, Sapor62 said:

I think there's a common misconception between what is "Privately owned" and by what is "Private property"

My local supermarket is quite clearly a public space, however, it is Privately Owned. That won't stop me arresting a shoplifter, however.

the definition of public place can change between legislation. But that largely irrelevant. As no offence has been committed by the spitter

Edited by george b

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Sapor62
4 minutes ago, george b said:

the definition of public place can change between legislation. But that largely irrelevant. As no offence has been committed by the spitter

Well not necessarily, spitting could be considered an offence contrary to S5 Public Order Act if you were really that way inclined, also depending on council bye-laws it could be an offence in itself, some councils do issue fines for spitting.

Could even potentially be criminal damage, just like you would arrest for criminal damage if someone urinated in the back of a police van? 

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george b
1 hour ago, Sapor62 said:

Well not necessarily, spitting could be considered an offence contrary to S5 Public Order Act if you were really that way inclined, also depending on council bye-laws it could be an offence in itself, some councils do issue fines for spitting.

Could even potentially be criminal damage, just like you would arrest for criminal damage if someone urinated in the back of a police van? 

considered by whom, not a court I would hope, people might find spitting distasteful even disgusting, but nether of those are included in the criteria of po5 . It's the same with crim damage, a van will be taken out of service to be cleaned , equaling a loss of amenity, two square inches of floor hardly counts as a loss of use. Council bylaws won't apply to private property, and nether in case you were considering it would the littering law if the place has a roof

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Sapor62

I certainly wouldn't arrest for spitting but to have a full debate we need to consider all options, I'm not saying I agree with it being s5 or criminal damage but could someone be caused harassment alarm or distress by spitting? Possibly.

Also, it will cost the company to pay a cleaner to come and clean up the spit so there's a loss there...

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george b
33 minutes ago, Sapor62 said:

I certainly wouldn't arrest for spitting but to have a full debate we need to consider all options, I'm not saying I agree with it being s5 or criminal damage but could someone be caused harassment alarm or distress by spitting? Possibly.

Also, it will cost the company to pay a cleaner to come and clean up the spit so there's a loss there...

being spat at quite possibly, but a person of reasonable fitness isn't going to be harressed or alarmed and certainly not distressed by the sight of someone spitting. It not the cost of cleaning that's the issue with crim damage, though that will be neglagble, as they have cleaners wandering around with buckets, who are already being paid, it the loss of use and its seems unnecessary to shut down an entire walkway to drag a mop over a bit of spital? The whole senario is a bit far fetched to be honest , round here security would escort him out, I cant think anyone would call the police over such a triffeling matter, that's if anyone took the slightest notice in the first place. Walking round the vomiting drunks takes most of your attention

Edited by george b
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Sapor62

I completely agree that it's a ridiculous idea to think someone would call police over something so trivial, however, I've seen my fair share of strange happenings. 

I'd also say it is entirely possible to close a whole walkway to mop up a tiny section, my first ever job after leaving school was in McDonalds and when we would clean the floor you'd close the whole walkway and then proceed to mop one square metre of floor at a time, allowing each square metre to dry before cleaning the next...

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george b
1 minute ago, Sapor62 said:

I completely agree that it's a ridiculous idea to think someone would call police over something so trivial, however, I've seen my fair share of strange happenings. 

I'd also say it is entirely possible to close a whole walkway to mop up a tiny section, my first ever job after leaving school was in McDonalds and when we would clean the floor you'd close the whole walkway and then proceed to mop one square metre of floor at a time, allowing each square metre to dry before cleaning the next...

well yes entirely possible, but not at all likely that they are going to shut off the access to Argos for three quarters of an hour over a bit of spit, they wouldn't do so over a dropped ice cream,so it couldn't be judged to be necessary

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