Award for off-duty staff member who single-handedly stopped shoplifter

Evil prospers when good people do nothing − that’s according to one of our staff members who has been awarded after single-handedly stopping a shoplifter threatening employees with a brick at a local shop.

Despite being off duty and on his way home, Michael Hall stepped in to help after seeing shop staff being threatened.

image of Mike and award

And it’s not the first time the vigilant colleague has gone out of his way to help others. During his 35-year career with West Midlands Police, Mike has received two bravery commendations, the Chief Constable’s award for delivering a baby in the street and an Outstanding Citizens Awards for tackling knife crime.

He has now been handed a Good Citizen Award for intercepting a shoplifter at One Stop in Hales Lane, Smethwick. 

Mike, who is a supervisor on the cannabis disposal team, was out shopping when a man walked in carrying a large bag in one hand and a brick in the other.

The man proceeded to fill the bag with various items and when verbally challenged by staff, he raised the brick and made threats towards them. He then ran out of the shop, at which point Mike managed to grab the man and was injured as the shoplifter attempted to get away. 

Despite being hurt, Mike was able to single-handedly detain the man, allowing staff to contact the police who attended and arrested him. The goods were returned to the shop and no staff were injured during the incident on 8 March last year.

image of Mike

During investigations, it transpired the offender had been into the shop the previous day and had again threatened staff with a glass bottle while committing another theft offence.

Superintendent Philip Asquith, from our Sandwell Neighbourhood Policing Unit, presented Mike with the Good Citizen Award last month.

Supt Asquith said: “I believe that if Mike had not been present that day and had not been willing to take positive physical action against this man, there was a potential that members of the public would have been hurt and the offender would have continued to commit offences using violence against staff and potentially, members of the public.

“Mike should be recognised for his action and bravery in stopping this criminal, getting him brought to justice and for protecting the public."

Mike started with the force in 1986 and said he does what he does “for the good people" of the community and has been involved with local fundraisers over the years, including for a Sandwell schoolgirl who grew and sold plants to sell for cancer charity funds.

After meeting the schoolgirl and her mother during a routine patrol, Mike delivered leftover soil and small pots from seizures at various drugs busts by the cannabis disposal team, along with some extra gifts for the project back in 2019, including gardening tools and a watering can.

“You try to live by the ethos of policing, namely to prevent crime, protect the public and help those in need, but also to be involved with the community. It’s a decent way to live and a good set of principles to keep," said Mike. 

"Everybody that works for the police, it doesn’t matter what role you play, you have a duty and you’re doing it for the good people. You tend to try and do the right thing whether you’re on shift or not," he added.

“Evil prospers when good people do nothing - I find this to be true and I can’t just stand back when I know something’s wrong." 

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