Male coming home from work stopped by PCSO's under 'section 60'. Complaint made and partly upheld.
I was working self-employed in Mapperley Park, Nottingham. I do landscape gardening but I work on the joinery side of things so this time I was making a bespoke fence for a client. I’d finished work and the client who I was working for was having a bit of a clear out, he told me he was throwing out his records and asked me if I wanted any. I had a good look through his record collection and found quite a few that I really wanted to have. I took those, left work, and was walking down the road when I was spotted by a couple of PCSO’s They were Police Community Support Officers ( that was written on my stop and search sheet). They saw me, I was on the other side of the road, and they crossed over. It has to be noted that it was quite obvious that I’d been working. My trousers were covered in mud, I was wearing work clothes, I had a bag on my back which actually was full of tools but they never asked me anything about that, just specifically the records I was holding. I had a drill, in fact a crowbar (which is quite amusing) and another few bits and bobs which I use for work and needed to take back from work. In fact a friend of mine was working down the road in a garden and I was going to his van and I was going to get a lift back with him.
So they stopped me and asked me about the records. I pointed out that secondhand records aren't the first things that a thief in Mapperley Park is going to be stealing from a house. So why were they stopping and asking me for my name and address and asking where had I got them from? They asked me for my name and address which I refused to give and I asked them which law gave them the right to ask me for this. After some confusion they came up with Section 60 which is what the police and use (if given by a judge I think) for an area to stop and search people for weapons and if somebody is concealing their identity they could ask to remove covering around the face. It’s a police power not a PCSO power, they’d got it wrong basically. There’s a 2002 act that covers all the powers that PCSO’s can use, which is a different act entirely.
So they stopped me, asked me for my name and address, which I refused and they said they were going to detain me until the police came because I was refusing to give my name and address. It is within their powers in Nottingham to do that. I’d imagine they’d have to have reasonable suspicion to do that, a bunch of secondhand records that obviously haven't been stolen from a house by somebody whose story obviously collates with what they are saying because they are covered in mud because they’ve been working on a garden doesn’t really give them reason to demand my name and address. So I said lets go up to the guys house where I have been working and he can correlate my story, which we did. They came with me, and the guy correlated my story told them I’d been working there said he’d given me the records. Afterwards they still demanded my name and address which was way beyond their powers and duty to do so. I hadn’t broken into a house in Mapperley Park. I hadn’t committed a crime.
They went way beyond what their powers should be in that case. So I still refused and they said they were going to detain me and keep me there until the police came. On what grounds! They didn’t have any grounds. Why did they? Perhaps they were on a power trip, just the fact that somebody had denied them? Maybe because I didn’t want to give them my details? I thought it was an intrusion of my civil liberties. Maybe they thought I was hiding something? Or I had a criminal record? Maybe they thought I was wanted by the police? Even so, they’d questioned me about me being a potential criminal and it was obvious that I was not, then why should they have carried on with the line of questioning? That’s what really annoyed me.
But I was looking after this dog at the time, when they said they were going to detain me until the police came. So I had to give in and give my name and address, I’d have been leaving the dog home alone and I could have been detained for anything up to 8 hours so I did give them my name and address in the end. Simply because I didn’t know if I could get someone to go and look after the dog.
I put in a complaint afterwards which was in part upheld. The complaints department said they agreed they were being over zealous after I’d proved to them that the owner of the house where I’d been working at had given me the records and I had been working there.