How To Become A Security Guard

Can Security Guard Detain You

Businesses and organizations hire security guards for two major reasons: to deter risks such as theft and vandalism, and to deal with these issues if they occur. However, what are security guards authorized to do under the law? Because they are hired to deal with crime, it is commonly assumed that they have the same or equivalent rights and authorities as police officers.

Security guards, on the other hand, have no more legal rights or power than members of the general public (you can also refuse to speak to a guard if you did not want to). This also raises other problems about what a security guard is permitted to do in the face of customers or possible dangers.

Is It Possible For A Security Guard To Arrest Or Detain You?

Security guards, like any other member of the public, are permitted to make a citizen's arrest if they have reasonable suspicions of the person they intend to arrest. According to the Section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, there are specific circumstances that must be met in order for the citizen's arrest to be valid.

If the following conditions are met, a legal citizen's arrest can be carried out:

  • they are witnesses to a crime or have valid reasons to believe that someone has committed one
  • they encounter or have substantial reasons to believe that someone is committing a crime
  • to keep a person from hurting themselves or others physically
  • to keep a person from causing damage to the property or a loss to the company/organization
  • they believe it would be impractical for a police constable to make the arrest instead of them at that time
  • to prevent a person from running away before a police officer comes to take control for them

When Making A Citizen's Arrest, What Should I Do?

It's tough to know if you've made the right decision, therefore the first step is to make sure your suspicions of a criminal behaviour are based on logical reasons. The following checklist can be used as a guide while making this decision:

1) Have you observed any unusual behaviour?

Did they purchase something from the store and then conceal or hide it? Were they armed with something that could cause property damage, such as spray paint?

2) Is there a strong likelihood that the crime will occur?

Did they walk out of the store without paying for the goods? Has property been damaged or is it in the process of being damaged?

3) Have you been watching them constantly during this entire period?

If you haven't kept an eye on them during this time, the items may have been returned, or the spray paint from the first suspect may have been taken by someone else. You may be unsure whether you have substantial grounds for suspicion if you don't watch them for the entire duration.

If you can meet the criteria on this checklist, you can be reasonably certain of your legal rights to detain someone. When addressing someone who may have committed an offense, it's a good idea to explain the situation, ask them about their identity and give them a chance to show their innocence by asking if you may check their bag and receipts. If a crime has been committed, you should inform the police and stay with the victim until the police come.

Is It Possible For A Security Guard To Physically Restrain You?

A security guard's use of force must be "reasonable," which means that physical restraint and holding should only be done when absolutely necessary and when arresting someone. This could happen if you try to run away after committing a crime or if they suspect you of causing harm to yourself or people around.

Is It Legal For A Security Guard To Search You?

If you are present and conscious, a security guard is not authorized to search you or your belongings without your agreement. This includes looking through your bag and looking into your car. This is also true for security guards who believe they have caught a shoplifter, as they are not allowed to conduct a forced search unless the subject consents; in this case, they would have to retain the suspected shoplifter until a police constable arrives and can conduct one.

However, there are specific circumstances in which a search may be conducted without the person's knowledge or consent such as:

  • They have the right to inspect a bag or any other sort of belonging or possession left unattended in a suspicious situation because it could constitute a threat to the safety of individuals nearby.
  • If the individual is unconscious and the security guard is attempting to identify them in order to assist them, the security guard may inspect their bag for this information.

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