Security guards are our watchful eyes in places where safety is important, like construction sites, clubs, hospitals, and offices. But can they actually detain or touch suspects while on duty?

While involving the police is advisable in such risky situations, it is important to understand when a security guard can intervene. Keep reading to explore the circumstances under which a security guard can take action and detain you.

The Legal Authority of Security Guards

Security guards are not police officers and should never pretend to be one. So, if a guard acts like a police officer and detains you, it might seem helpful at the time, but it can lead to serious legal trouble for both the guard and their employer.

If a security guard uses too much force without needing to defend themselves, they could be charged with assault. You could also sue them for using unnecessary and unreasonable force.

Armed Security Guards

Some places hire armed security guards trained to carry guns and use force if needed. Although they lack police authority, armed guards often undergo tougher training than unarmed security guards and typically need a degree in criminal justice or police science. They must follow the same rules as unarmed guards unless they have specialized police officer certification.

If a security guard detains you, know their limits so that you know when they’re going overboard. Unarmed guards can legally detain you but cannot use force, handcuff you, or place you in a holding cell. Armed guards with police certification can detain you and use more force if needed.

When Can Security Guards Detain You?

Security guards can only restrain someone if they have reasonable cause to believe a crime has been committed or if the person poses a threat to public safety or the property being protected.

Guards must follow certain laws to legally detain someone:

  • The detention must be really necessary and proportional to the situation.
  • The guard must have reasonable grounds to suspect the person committing or planning to commit a crime.
  • The guard must inform the person of the reason for the detention and provide their name, employer’s name, and contact information.
  • The guard must release the person as soon as the reason for detention no longer exists or when the police arrive.

In Conclusion

Security guards watch over property and have some authority. But they can’t detain you unless they follow certain rules. If a guard stops you, stay calm and cooperate. You can ask why they stopped you and call the police if needed. If you believe your rights were violated, you can file a complaint.

Thinking of hiring security? We Security Inc. offers trained security personnel, armed or unarmed, who follow strict guidelines. This means you can rest assured they’ll only detain someone if absolutely necessary. Call us at (713) 703-9385.

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