Elf n safety

There are times when I wonder about the point of having security guards, not the ones who patrol building sites so much as those who seem to sit in stores and not a lot else. They don’t appear to do a lot, though no doubt there’s a deterrent effect, still you do have to wonder at the likes of HMV who appear to employ security guards who aren’t allowed to catch thieves…


When security guard Charles Oloro spotted a shoplifter slipping out of his store with an armful of DVDs, he knew exactly what to do.
He gave chase through the shopping centre before catching him and marching him back to the store.
But instead of being congratulated by his bosses, the 42-year-old HMV worker was sacked for apprehending a suspect outside the shop premises.
HMV policy is for security guards to avoid all confrontations with suspects that have the potential to escalate into something more serious.
A spokesman for the chain said the rules were introduced in 2007 after a member of staff was stabbed to death in Norwich after apprehending a thief.

You’d have thought at least that a quiet word about not leaving the store could have been given with a thank you to the guy, it was Mr Oloro’s life to risk after all.

HMV customer Kieran Spears, defended Mr Oloro’s actions. ‘Charlie is a hero,’ he said.
‘He has been there as long as I remember, he’s such a nice guy and everyone knows him.
‘What is the point in having security guards if they cannot tackle thieves?’

Well quite, though sadly the compo culture introduced by the previous government have all but made sure that companies tend to err on the side of caution way too much rather than simply let people get on with their jobs. No win, no fee has a lot to answer for.

You often find in a lot of jobs that cutting corners is often turned a blind eye too by management simply because it’s the quick way to get things done, a sort of ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies situation. That’s no to say that what is done is particularly unsafe, just that it doesn’t involve reams of paperwork and a long wait for additional staff to turn up to monitor your safety.

Perhaps we should ditch the rules and go back to guidelines, stating that if you don’t follow the guidelines then what you do is at your own personal risk, it would certainly avoid people getting the sack like Mr Oloro and might save a few people who’ve died simply because health and safety regs (as applied by jobsworths) have prevented the emergency services from rescuing them.

Dropping no win no fee and returning to a culture of personal responsibility seems to me like an obvious way to go, though a lot of the regs are to do with the EU rather than UK law. Perhaps of or when we leave that benighted organisation we can start putting the health and safety industry back to its proper place.

1 comment for “Elf n safety

  1. Mudplugger
    February 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    You’re right – it’s no-win-no-fee which is the root-cause of all the OTT H&S nonsense.

    Because claimants have no downside-risk, the rapacious lawyers simply dangle carrots of compo and the case begins. The poor defendant is faced with a lose-lose choice – it costs big-time to defend it, it’s often cheaper to settle, so the claimant wins, whether or not the case was justified.

    Companies are crapping themselves, so they embark on grossly unnecessary ‘procedural H&S’, simply to cover their arses in case a claim occurs. It’s not actually about making things safer, it’s just about being seen to have the procedure in place.

    Without that no-win-no-fee inducement, 90%+ of the claims would never have started, so 90%+ of the OTT H&S would never have started either. But so long as no-win-no-fee remains (especially with the lawyers free to add their generous bills to the claim), we’ll never get back to sanity.
    Trouble is, Parliament is full of lawyers and turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

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