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What Legally Abilities Do Security Guards Have?

Security guards, like those who provide Bay Area security guard services, are well trained to survey areas and detect a potential threat. Additionally, they are able to deter criminal acts by closely monitoring potential threats and making their presence known. Most people, however, are unaware of what legal abilities security guards actually possess.

Citizen’s Arrest

A security officer has the right to place a suspect under citizen’s arrest. While this is not an actual arrest, it allows the security officer to detain the suspect until police officers arrive. Security officers can use reasonable force to keep someone in custody once they have placed them under arrest. Of course, as security officers are not sworn law enforcement, they are not able to use any force above reasonable force to detain or remove someone. Doing so may result in legal action against the security officer. Security guards are also not allowed to complete an actual arrest of a suspect and must only detain the suspect until sworn law enforcement arrives to assess the situation and determine whether an arrest is necessary.

Property Protection

Security officers are effective in protecting property, whether it is a private residence, a storefront, or a commercial building. A security officer’s presence on a property typically deters people from committing any criminal acts. However, in the event that an officer’s presence alone does not deter the crime, the officer is able to request that the potential suspects vacate the property. They are allowed to ban a person from an establishment as long as they do not violate anti-discrimination laws. They are able to use reasonable force to remove someone from a property and can also arrest a potential suspect if they refuse to leave.

Search and Seizure

A security officer does not have the power to search a suspect’s property, unless that suspect gives them permission. However, the refusal could lead the officer to believe that the suspect is guilty, and may place the suspect under arrest if they do not consent to a search. Once law enforcement arrives, they will determine whether or not a suspect’s property needs to be searched.

Officers and Firearms

Officers who have the correct permit and license are able to carry a firearm. However as previously stated, they are only allowed to use reasonable force to protect and detain. If a security officer discharges the firearm and it is determined that it was used in excessive force, it may result in legal action.

Learn more about the legal capabilities of security guards by reaching out to Bay Area security guard experts, ADS Guards. We are a leading provider of commercial, residential, and special event security, and have highly trained armed guards and unarmed guards. Call us today at 1-800-794-1550 for a free price quote.