Mall cops in Norwich, England get police powers

In England, the police are allowed to give "policing powers" to private individuals. The private security guards in a shopping mall (called "The Mall") in Norwich now have police powers. These civilian security guards can now "issue on-the-spot fines, give lawful orders and check normally confidential police records."

Until now the powers have generally been used by security firms covering special events or by local authority staff such as housing officers. This will be the first time they have been used as part of routine patrols...

Paul Allen, chairman of Norwich magistrates, has referred the matter to the national Magistrates Association. Yesterday he said: "We have expressed concern in the past that unaccountable civilians have been given the power to act as judge and jury in issuing fixed penalty notices.

Mall security staff will get police powers in Norwich (Thanks, Gill!)



  1. How wonderful, several different tiers of police, none of whom quite knows the law, each of whom has a notion that you’re suspicious and sees you as a wallet with legs.

    Entirely unlike the third world.

  2. Yeah I feel great about this, living in Norwich and all. I never felt the mall is bad enough to need these sorts of powers. The council needs to sort out the drunks on the riverside rather than some mum who dropped a crisp packet.

  3. This one’s easy: shop somewhere else. Paul Blart with actual police powers should scare consumers into voting this down with their dollars.

  4. The Castle Mall has been on the long, slow spiral toward oblivion from the first day it opened; I’m sure this will help — obviously the reason people are going to Norwich’s other mall, Chapelfield, is because their opportunities for being creatively misarrested there are so limited.

  5. Yeah right. Because the police (particularly in the UK) seem to be very accountable for their actions…

    More likely the police union is getting up in arms as non-unionized folks are getting in on their action.

  6. Blimey, not only is this scary, it’s peculiar. The management state it’s to deal with antisocial behaviour and all that, but I’ve never seen any problems there anyway. The only danger you’re likely to encounter in Castle Mall is the occasional grumpy pensioner who’s had enough of the frankly outrageous queues in the Post Office. As for the claim that none of these ‘accredited’ security staff have ever issued a fine, well why give them the power to do something you have no intention for them to use anyway? Ridiculous.

  7. On-the-spot fines? Payable immediately, in cash? I know parts of the world where police do such things; it’s effectively armed robbery under color of authority.

    Given a choice between shopping at a mall where I can be legally mugged by mall security and shopping anywhere else, I know what I’d do. If I owned a business in this mall, I’d be horrified.

    What’s the business model for this? Kickbacks from mall security to mall management?

    1. Nope.

      You’re given an on the spot ticket. You can pay by phone or by post, or contest it.

      I got one a couple of years ago (from proper police) for not wearing a seat belt.

  8. One of my best friends was a ‘mall cop’ at Lakewood Center. The Lakewood police department used to leave one of their old police cars in the parking lot to make it look like the police were actually there doing something. So my friend used to go sit in the Lakewood police car and hot box it pretty much on a daily basis. Yes, smoke weed in the police car.

    I seriously have to laugh that ‘mall cops’ are going to get police powers.

    Dude, seriously?

    Funny ass shit.

  9. The UK: who’s remaining purpose is to serving as a warning to other nations how fast your country can slide into a police state.

    But yeah, what someone else said: vote with your dollars.

  10. As a university student of UEA, Norwich, I find this outrageous. Those fluorescent coat wearing officials I saw last week must have been them.

  11. I know my alma mater’s campus police were very grumpy about being given full police powers because it increased their liabilities. Might be worth investigating whether the mallcops have bitten off more than they really wanted…

  12. I live in Norwich and to be honest I’m not surprised by the story but I am a little bit surprised to see it in Boing Boing. The security staff in the miserable Castle Mall have stopped me on a good few occasions for taking photographs and once because I looked “shifty”.

    Now to find they could fine me for looking shifty is, frankly, worrying but not surprising. This mall is dying ever since a brand new one moved in just down the road and I say good riddance. It’s rubbish anyway.

  13. I can’t say there’s actually a single shop in there I would want to go in anymore. This just makes me even less likely to go there.

  14. The other Mall in Norwich (Chapelfield) has today announced exactly the same scheme! Several nightclub bouncers have also been given similar powers….

  15. I’m not sure what’s more horrifying. That it’s happened in my home town or that this is the first I have heard about it. I honestly despair.

  16. Yep, as a local I’ll not be visiting again. But most folk think it’ll never happen to them – so I would imagine that this will be universal in UK pretty soon.

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