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What Security Guards Can & Cannot Do

What Security Guard can and cannot do legally

Worried about how safe your business and employees are? Not sure if your safety plans are good enough? If you’re saying ‘No,’ don’t stress. Instead, it’s time to act quickly and smartly to make your business safer. Hiring security guards is a good way to reduce the risks your business might face. Security guards help in two main ways: they scare off trouble before it starts, and if something like theft or vandalism does happen, they know how to handle it right away.

If you’re planning to hire services of a security guard to protect your business from all kinds of crimes you need to make sure first, you’re hiring from a reputed security agency. And secondly, you must know what security guards the right has to do and what they cannot do.

What Security Guards Can Do Legally

security guard guarding the premises

Protect Property

One of the primary responsibilities of security guards is to protect property. This duty encompasses a wide range of activities such as monitoring surveillance equipment, conducting security checks, and being vigilant against theft, vandalism, and other illegal activities. Security guards are trained to observe and report incidents, ensuring that properties, whether commercial or residential, remain secure and intact.

Detain A Person

Security guards are legally allowed to detain individuals under certain circumstances. This usually occurs when a guard suspects that a person has committed or is in the process of committing a crime within their patrol area. The detainment is meant to be temporary and should only last until law enforcement arrives. It’s crucial for guards to understand the legalities of detainment to ensure they do not overstep their boundaries.

Make A Citizen’s Arrest

Under specific conditions, a security guard can perform a citizen’s arrest. This action is generally permissible when they witness a felony taking place, or have reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed a criminal offense. The process of a citizen’s arrest must be executed carefully, following legal protocols to avoid any infringement of rights or accusations of wrongful arrest.

Use Reasonable Force

In situations where it’s necessary to ensure safety or prevent a crime, security guards are allowed to use reasonable force. The definition of ‘reasonable’ varies depending on the circumstances, but it typically means the minimum amount of force necessary to protect themselves or others, or to detain an individual. Misuse or excessive use of force can lead to legal consequences, so guards must be trained to assess situations judiciously.

Learn More: How much does a security company charge?

What Can’t Security Guards Do Legally?

Detain People for an Unlimited Amount of Time

A critical limitation for security guards is that they cannot detain individuals indefinitely. The detention period should be only long enough to hand over the suspect to law enforcement. Holding a person for an unnecessarily extended period can lead to legal repercussions, including charges of unlawful detention or kidnapping.

2. Use Unreasonable Force

While security guards can use reasonable force, they are legally prohibited from using excessive or unreasonable force. The force applied must be proportional to the threat or the situation at hand. Any excessive use of force, particularly that results in harm without justifiable cause, can lead to criminal charges or civil lawsuits against the guard or their employer.

3. Can’t Carry a Weapon (in certain jurisdictions or without proper licensing)

The ability of a security guard to carry a weapon varies significantly depending on regional laws and specific job requirements. In many jurisdictions, carrying a firearm or other lethal weapon requires specific training and licensing. Without these, a security guard is not legally permitted to carry a weapon.

4. Cannot Perform Searches of Personal Property Without Permission

Security guards do not have the same search powers as police officers. They cannot search an individual’s personal property, such as bags or pockets, without explicit consent. If a person refuses a search, guards can deny entry to a property or call law enforcement, but they cannot forcibly conduct a search without permission.

Common Misconceptions About Security Guard Duties

Security guards often face misunderstandings about the scope of their duties and legal powers.

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Here are some common misconceptions that need clarification:

Misconception 1: Security Guards Have the Same Authority as Police Officers

A prevalent misconception is that security guards have similar powers to police officers. In reality, security guards do not possess the same level of authority. Their primary role is to protect property and maintain order, not to enforce the law. They can report crimes and detain suspects under certain conditions, but they cannot conduct criminal investigations or pursue offenders beyond their jurisdiction.

Misconception 2: Security Guards Can Always Carry Firearms

Another common misunderstanding is about the carrying of firearms. The ability of a security guard to carry a firearm is strictly regulated and varies by location and specific job requirements. In many cases, security guards are not armed, and if they are, it requires specialized training and licensing.

Misconception 3: Security Guards Can Detain Anyone Suspicious

While security guards can detain individuals under specific circumstances, they cannot detain someone based solely on suspicion or personal biases. Detentions must be justified with reasonable grounds, such as witnessing a crime or preventing immediate harm.

Misconception 4: Security Guards Can Use Force Freely

There is also a misconception that security guards can use force as they see fit. In reality, any use of force must be reasonable and proportional to the situation. Excessive force can lead to legal actions against the guard and their employer.

Learn More: The Role of Crowd Control Security Guards

Closing Thoughts

There are numerous reasons why you might consider the services of a security guard. Ensuring the right security is in place for any contentious or high-profile event is paramount Here, Walton Security steps in with our specialized team of security guards.

If you need the assistance of specialist security for your situation or event, get in touch with Walton Security. You can speak with our business solutions advisors and get the required information.

You can reach us | By Phone | 03 9028 8098

 Website | www.waltonsecurity.com.au and you can chat to us from here

 Email | info@waltonsecurity.com.au

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