Security Guards – Do They Have Legal Power?

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Security for Your Business

Security is crucial for all homes, businesses and large events. Without it, people would feel unsafe, and crime rates would soar. Security guards protect staff, customers, guests and the property and are expertly trained to spot potential risks and prevent them from escalating. Break-ins, vandalism, theft, assault and trespassing are all things that security guards deter and fight against in their role. So, do security guards hold legal power?

The Power of Security

Security guards monitor premises in several ways – through CCTV, mobile patrols or manned guarding. They are SIA-licensed, meaning they are professionally trained to protect your building from potential danger and crime. They react swiftly and professionally, clearly telling all criminals that they will not win. But what legal powers do security guards hold?

Security guards can detain someone if they pose a risk, cause harm or trespass under section 24A Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. You may know this as a ‘citizen’s arrest.’ Guards are trained to understand how and when a citizen’s arrest should be carried out. Examples of when this may happen include:

  • If no police are on-site to arrest the person, a crime has been or was almost committed.
  • If they are stopping a person from harming themselves or another.
  • If they witness a person damaging a property
  • If someone is trying to escape after a crime, and they need to be detained by the police.

Searching People

Security guards have the right to search someone’s clothes or bags if they believe they are carrying something stolen or harmful, but they must obtain permission first.

Reasonable Force

Security guards are permitted to use reasonable force in situations that require it under Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967. They will wear body-worn cameras to record these situations, which ensures everything can be watched and proven if required later on. This is useful for incidents that go to court. The guard will be trained to use reasonable force where necessary to prevent a crime or detain a criminal.

If you are unsure of the right security solutions for your home, business or event, contact a security specialist such as A Matter of Patrols to discuss your needs.

Contact A Matter of Patrols on 0800 2922667.