Dec 18, 2023
Read time : 6 mins
Security guards work at locations where safety could be a concern. These places include construction sites, clubs, hospitals, and corporate offices. People often wonder if security guards can touch potential suspects while they perform their duties.
If there’s a situation involving a potential illegal offence, it’s advisable to contact the police. But where do we draw a line? In this blog, we will find out if security guards are allowed to detain or touch you.
Security guards are only allowed to touch you when they have a valid reason, and they must explain this reason and provide justification for their actions. Put simply, they can touch you if they encounter one or more of the following situations:
1. You are caught committing a crime.
2. You are physically involved in a fight with the intention to harm the guards or others (this is considered self-defence).
3. You are caught damaging property.
4. You are being held until the police arrive at the scene.
Additionally, if positioned outside the premises, security guards can perform an entry check. Door Supervisors, in particular, cannot label someone as a suspect without substantial evidence to support their claim.
Door Supervisors are eligible to apply for various security guard jobs in the UK. Not to forget, the security guards cannot take on the role of a door supervisor. One difference between these two security roles is that with an SIA Door Supervisor Licence, you are allowed to guard premises where alcohol is being sold. In contrast, security guards are not permitted to do so. This is why it’s highly recommended to consider a Door Supervisor role to broaden your job opportunities in the security field.
We offer Door Supervisor and Security Guard courses that can be completed in a matter of days. These courses are provided by approved trainers, and after passing the assessment, you can apply for an SIA licence. It’s necessary to understand that operating in a security role in the UK without an SIA licence is illegal. Therefore, if you’re interested in entering the security industry, be sure to explore the linked blogs for more information.
In certain situations, security guards are permitted to detain individuals. It’s legally acceptable to detain someone at a crime scene until the police arrive or to prevent a person from committing further offences.
SIA security guards are trained to handle such scenarios while adhering to the law. Any minor misconduct can harm their reputation and career. For instance, the person being detained should be informed of the reason, and the guards should have either witnessed the person committing a crime or have captured it on camera. Without solid evidence, no one can be held accountable based on mere allegations.
The person being detained also has the right to challenge their detention and take legal action against a security guard if they believe they are in the right. It’s the responsibility of the security guard to remain calm and maintain communication with the individual. At no point should the person being detained feel disrespected, and if they are physically harmed during the process, the guard must ensure they receive medical assistance.
To grasp the legal aspects and one’s role as a security professional, it’s essential to undergo proper training. At Hurak, we connect individuals aspiring to join the security industry with SIA-approved training providers. You can explore the following courses:
Additionally, we offer an SIA mock test that simulates the actual exam-style questions. If you are new to this or taking the test for the first time, you may not answer many questions correctly. However, after completing a course, you’ll be well-prepared to respond to security-related questions. You can take the SIA mock exam multiple times to practise before booking a course, and at the end of each test, you will receive your score.
How long can a security guard detain you?
There’s no fixed duration for how long a security guard can detain you, but it’s typically until the police arrive at the scene.
What can security guards do legally?
With proper authorisation, security guards can perform searches on individuals or their belongings. Without permission, they have the right to deny entry to the premises.
Can security guards detain you for trespassing?
Yes, you can be detained for trespassing, but there must be substantial evidence for the guards to justify their actions. They should have either witnessed the trespassing or captured it on camera.
To sum it up, security guards do have the legal authority to touch or detain a person, but this should always be in compliance with applicable laws. To navigate this, it’s advisable to receive training on the do’s and don’ts of being a security guard. This will help you avoid legal issues.
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