Understanding the limits of a security guard: Part 2

Understanding the limits of a security guard: Part 2

In this second part of this blog, we continue our discussion on the limits of security officers.

They cannot carry batons, guns, pepper spray or tasers, but they can use handcuffs and use reasonable force

It might seem surprising that security officers can carry handcuffs, but it’s an important piece of equipment, particularly if a person isn’t cooperating. Our security officers have to be properly trained on how to use handcuffs safely, to prevent injury, and it is actually the safest way to detain someone until the police arrive if that person is perhaps under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and is potentially volatile.

Even though security guards aren’t able to carry the usual equipment that police officers are, such as batons, guns, pepper spray or tasers, they are able to use what is called ‘reasonable force’ when it comes to conducting a citizens arrest.

They can use ‘reasonable force’ in accordance to The Criminal Law Act, 1967, which states: ‘use as much force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.’

They can’t search someone’s possessions, but they can refuse you entry is you refuse to consent to a search

So the main thing to note is that a security operative cannot perform forced searches, only the police force can do this. However, they can only perform a search of someone’s person or their possessions with that person’s consent.

For example, if a security guard suspects a that a party-goer queuing up outside a venue is carrying some kind of weapon, drugs or alcohol, they cannot force a search, but they can refuse that person entry is they refuse to consent to a search. This is an approach many of our clients who work within the hospitality sector request, as it’s a great way to ensure that your customers and staff inside remain safe.

Another scenario would be if they were to suspect a shoplifter. In this case, they would not be able to force a search on that person to retrieve the stolen goods, but they would be able to detain that individual – with handcuffs if necessary - until the police arrive. The police could then do a forced search on that person.

More limits of our security officers can be found in the first part of this blog.

For more information on how we can work with you to provide a quality security service at your business during these unusual times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch a member of our team.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to further your career within the security industry, please check the careers section on our website or email us an up to date copy of your C.V. We never subcontract our staff, we invest in their training and we work hard to support our staff. We look forward to meeting you.

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Nick Carter

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