While some security guards might like to think they have the same powers as the police, in reality, that isn’t the case. That said, security guards do hold a certain level of authority in some circumstances, and undoubtedly play a significant role in helping to protect the public, individuals and even buildings from the threat of attack.
To know what a security guard does have the power to do, read on:
While it’s worth noting that some individual state laws vary, the following actions are ones that most security guards are permitted (and often required) to carry out:
With responsibilities having been delegated to them, security guards help protect both the location in question, and any on-site personnel. They are permitted to request that people refrain from loitering there, that they leave a premises if their behavior isn’t desirable or they don’t have permission to be there, and can even detail an individual if they have probable cause to suspect that a crime may have been committed.
In the case of a retail security guard, for example, they may have spotted someone shoplifting within the premises, and detain them until the police arrive.
As mentioned above, if a security guard suspects an individual (or individuals) of carrying out an offence on or around the property they’ve been employed to protect, they can detain them in a reasonable manner. They may use handcuffs, if necessary, initiate a pat-down to determine if they are carrying a weapon, and stop the person from leaving the scene until law enforcement arrives.
In some states, a security guard may even be permitted to detain a person in any public area if they believe a crime has been committed, and hold them until law enforcement arrive. However, additional training may be required in order for a security guard to carry this out legally.
Make a citizen’s arrest
If a crime has been witnessed, and to ensure public safety, a security guard can arrest a person using the same rights that we are all entitled to. The security guard who has made the arrest must call the police as soon as they can, and if the person they’ve detained is carrying a weapon, the guard is within their rights to do so.
Use reasonable force
While a security guard is permitted to use force against a person to ensure the safety of others and of property, they must do so with reasonable force, and it must be justified. Just as a police officer would be expected to use non-violent methods to resolve an issue first, they may resort to a certain level of force if those methods have proved unsuccessful.
Below are some actions security guards are not permitted to carry out:
Detain people for an unlimited amount of time
While they can detain an individual for a certain degree of time, such as for how long it takes the police to arrive, they can’t hold them indefinitely.
Use unreasonable force
Using unreasonable force to detain someone or remove them from the premises can include applying pain, choking, discrimination and improper use of handcuffs, among others. While a security guard does not have the same powers as the police, they do still play an incredibly important role in protecting people and property, and if you think you’re suited to a career in security, reach out to a local training facility today, and start learning the skills required to professionally protect.