Shop centre guard suspended after homeless people soaked with cold water

A security worker has been suspended after allegedly throwing a bucket of cold water over homeless people sleeping near a shopping centre.

The incident is said to have taken place on Sunday night in a doorway at the Castle Mall centre in Norwich as temperatures dropped below freezing.

Voluntary group The People's Picnic posted on Facebook to say that several people had been seeking refuge from the cold.

The post said: "Not only did he leave them in soaking wet clothes, freezing and exposed to harsh declining temperatures, but also drenched their sleeping bags which were the only other means of keeping them warm. Performing such an act of hostility with intent to harm is classified as an assault and the incident needs to be thoroughly investigated. Behaviours and attitudes like this cannot become a societal norm.

"We are shocked and disgusted by the type of behaviour shown."

Amanda Phillips, centre manager at Castle Mall, said an investigation had been carried out involving security supplier Interserve.

She added: "We have found that an incident did occur on Sunday evening, and one of Interserve's employees in the security team has been suspended on the grounds of gross misconduct and is no longer working at Castle Mall.

"Everyone in the management team at Castle Mall is very upset that members of the public have not been treated as they should be by someone working on behalf of Castle Mall.

"We apologise unreservedly to the individuals affected.

"We all sympathise with the plight of the homeless and the isolated behaviour of one individual should not reflect in any way on the rest of the team."

She said procedures would be reviewed to prevent future incidents.

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