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A black boy handcuffed by civil security personnel in a store in Chichester | UK News

The mother of a 15-year-old black boy detained by civil security personnel while buying shampoo in Chichester said he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed after joking about being followed.

Former Downing Street aide Kirsty Buchanan has called for a national review of the use of private security staff, saying her child had been targeted because of her race and the behavior of security guards was dangerous.

Speaking to the Guardian, Buchanan said his son did not shoplift in the Superdrug and was confronted by “aggressive” security staff, known as rangers.

“They grabbed his arm, threw him on the ground, sat on it and tied his hands with plastic handcuffs,” she said.

Superdrug alleged that “female staff were also assaulted” during the incident. But Buchanan stressed that his son was not arrested for assaulting a store worker and at the time of the alleged incident was incapacitated on the ground.

“[The rangers] raised his arms and my son was screaming that it hurt, ”she said. “A friend then came to his aid and tried to pull the rangers away from my child who was clearly distressed and in pain.”

Sussex Police say a 15-year-old boy from Worthing and a 16-year-old boy from Chichester arrested by police on suspicion of assault have been released on bail.

Buchanan, a former lobby reporter and adviser to Theresa May, whose father was a former police commissioner, also called for an investigation into Sussex Police’s handling of the incident.

“When Sussex Police arrived it was my son and the other boy who came to his aid who were arrested as my son had been the victim of an unprovoked assault,” she said.

She added that Sussex Police had a policy of not detaining minors but did not know his whereabouts for an hour and a half after learning of the incident. She said her son was not questioned by police until 11 p.m. Wednesday and released on bail at 1:15 a.m. Thursday.

A 15-second video of the incident, taken at a branch of Superdrug in Chichester and posted by Buchanan on Twitter, appears to show the boy being restrained and handcuffed.

Buchanan tweeted“This is my 15 year old black son who was followed while buying shampoo by two city workers called Rangers.

“He was assaulted by them and then seated and handcuffed by them. When @sussex_police arrived guess who they arrested? »

Civil security personnel known as ‘rangers’ are employed by the Chichester Business Improvement District, which works in partnership with the City Council. A spokesman for Chichester District Council said on Wednesday that no district council staff were involved in the incident.

They said he was not involved and had no control over the process of vetting guards employed by Chichester BID. Asked if he was concerned about the incident, the spokesperson said he was awaiting the outcome of the police investigation, adding: “Keeping our area, residents and visitors safe is a top priority for us.”

Buchanan, who said she was in communication with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, said her children were routinely stopped and searched and subjected to racist abuse and the incident was the “straw that made overflowing the vase”.

Speaking to the Guardian, she said: ‘I congratulate my children when they don’t face these types of incidents. I don’t have a diary, but the fact remains that my son is three times more likely to be stopped and searched than his white friends, and he is stopped regularly.

She added that she was calling for a national review of the role of private security guards because what happened to her son – whom she described as a ‘normal, pleasant, charming and cheeky 15-year-old kid’ – was dangerous. “Yes, what happened is heartbreaking, heartbreaking and appalling – it’s also very dangerous,” she said.

“I want to know from Chichester BID what due diligence is carried out before rangers are hired, what training they receive and what their mission is. These private security companies operate on the country’s high streets and a full review of their role in protecting the public is urgently needed. »

Sussex Police said officers were called to the store following reports of an altercation and found the detained 15-year-old in handcuffs, who was later arrested on suspicion of assault.

They said: “There is no law in the UK that prevents civilians from wearing handcuffs. Anyone who wears handcuffs should be aware that their use may constitute a crime unless they can prove that their use was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.

A second teenager has been arrested on suspicion of assault, possession of cannabis and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior to cause harassment, alarm or distress, they said. The two teenagers have been released on bail “with strict conditions” until June 24. “A full and thorough investigation is underway to establish the exact circumstances of what happened,” the statement said.

Chitchester BID said it was cooperating with the police alongside its security provider Blayde Security, and took the matter “very seriously”, adding: “We want to reassure traders, residents and visitors that we are committed to provide a safe and secure environment for all.”

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Superdrug said the incident happened “between Chichester BID Rangers and a group of young men they were guarding”. They said: “Unfortunately the female staff were also assaulted. This is now a police matter and we are offering our full assistance to Sussex Police.

“Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers, we have a zero tolerance policy for violence and aggression. The store remains closed due to the damage caused.

Superdrug later added: “We cannot comment on the actions of individuals not trained or employed by Superdrug. But we have a zero-tolerance stance on violence and aggression and actively encourage civility and kindness in our stores. For example, our ‘Be Kind Shop Kind’ campaign was launched in 2020 to remind people of the importance of respect in retail, through a range of in-store materials. We cannot provide any further comment at this stage as this is a police matter, and we are offering our full assistance to Sussex Police.


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