There is an ever present risk that bullies and abusers are attracted to the Police profession because of the opportunity it offers to exercise power over others – but that problem is frankly several times worse in the far less regulated and scrutinised environment of the ‘security industry’ about which I have blogged before, and many of whose employees seem to display nothing short of ‘Wild West’ standards of morality, behaviour and (lack of) impulse control.
Yet another example of this, is a case I have recently concluded on behalf of a client who I will identify for the purposes of this blog as “Martin”.
In September 2018 Martin had been drinking in a pub in central Liverpool before heading to Liverpool Central Station to catch the train home.
Whilst he was waiting on the platform, Martin was approached by a female member of Merseyrail Staff who asked if he was okay and questioned if he had been drinking. Martin replied that he had had a few pints but that he was fine – but the female member of staff asserted that in her opinion he was not fit to travel.
Martin disagreed with this and was told that he would have to take it up with the staff member’s supervisor. Accordingly, Martin went up the escalator to the station concourse where he spoke to a male member of staff identified as the station manager.
Martin made polite representations as to why he should be allowed to travel, notwithstanding the fact that he had been drinking. The manager seemed sympathetic but ultimately said that he agreed with his colleague’s assessment and that he was refusing Martin permission to travel.
At all times Martin had remained polite and well mannered throughout his dealings with the Merseyrail Staff, and despite his inebriation did not lose his temper.
However, at this point four security guards employed by Carlisle Support Services Group Limited approached and laid hands upon Martin.
The four men physically escorted Martin from the station premises and whilst outside, in protest and what he felt to be their unnecessarily aggressive action, Martin swore at the men calling them “fucking bullies”.
In response to these words the Carlisle Group employees launched a vicious attack upon Martin; the first, who I will identify as Mr S, grabbed the back of Martin’s neck and slammed him face first into a wall. The security staff then forced Martin backwards and downwards to the ground and in the process of so doing fractured his right ankle so badly that it was later to require the insertion of metalwork to fix.
Two of the security staff – Mr S and Mr M – then pinned Martin to the ground and called for onlookers to “Get the Police”.
Martin was then held down on the ground for four long minutes, during which time Mr M applied pressure to Martin’s head and knelt on one of his hands. Mr S lay across Martin’s legs, maintaining a lock on his other hand. In fear, pain and distress Martin yelled out loudly, begging to be released. Fortunately, British Transport Police Officers arrived relatively quickly on the scene and Mr S and Mr M were persuaded to let go of Martin.
It was immediately obvious that Martin’s ankle had been broken and an ambulance was called to take him to the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Mr M then told a series of brazen lies to the Police – variously alleging that Martin had made threats, had assaulted him by grabbing his testicles and had run into the wall.
Thankfully however, CCTV had captured the true events and three of the security guards were subsequently prosecuted, with Mr S and Mr M ultimately pleading guilty to affray and receiving suspended prison sentences.
Martin had suffered a trimalleolar fracture of his right ankle together with damage to his medial ligament, as well as understandable psychological harm, and on his behalf I brought Court proceedings against Carlisle Support Services winning him damages of £42,500.
Too many security staff, it seems to me, are itching for the slightest excuse to flex their muscles, power-fantasies or whatever other urge drives them – often relying on the presumption that their ‘big brother – little brother’ relationship with the Police will protect them; thankfully here it did not, owing no doubt to the unimpeachable testimony of CCTV.
However, brutal assaults like this by security ‘gangs’ putting members of the public at risk of severe internal injuries – and even real risk of asphyxiation, in a manner similar to the murder of George Floyd – are all too common.
If you or anyone you know has suffered excessive violence at the hands of security guards who enjoy their job too much – please contact me for expert advice and assistance; together we can hold them to account.