What A Security Guard Cannot Do

security guard patrolling at night

If you’ve been considering becoming a security guard, you may also be wondering, what exactly does the job entail? What are security guards legally allowed to do and what are they not allowed to do?

Security guards are employed by companies, businesses and individuals. They keep potential threats away by preventing theft, vandalism, and harm. Their task is similar to that of police officials, but they have less authority.

Learn more information about the different services offered at Lonestar Universal Security by clicking this link.

Read on to learn what a security guard can and cannot do.

What is a security guard allowed to do?

Security guards generally have the capacity and authority to carry out the following:

Detain someone

A security officer may lawfully detain someone if they have good reason to suspect that a crime has been committed. This means that while they wait for the police to arrive, they may use handcuffs, perform a pat-down to see if someone is carrying a weapon, and stop the person from leaving the site.

Make a citizen’s arrest

A security guard has the same rights as any other citizen and may execute a citizen’s arrest if they see criminal activity that threatens public safety. As soon as a guard makes such an arrest, he or she must notify the police. A guard has the authority to seize any weapons from an apprehended person.

Use reasonable force

If a security guard has no choice but to use force against a person in the course of their duty to ensure the safety of others or any property, it must be reasonable and justified. Like a police officer, a security guard is expected to try other things before using force, such as efficient verbal communication.

What is a security guard not allowed to do?

Security guards generally do not have the capacity and authority to conduct the following.

Detain someone indefinitely

They do not have the authority to detain someone indefinitely. The time it takes for the police to arrive or, in some cases, to complete their investigations would be considered an acceptable amount of time in a situation where shoplifting or a similar offense has been committed.

Use unreasonable force

Security guards are restricted from using unreasonable force, such as the application of pain, choking, improper use of handcuffs, discrimination, and any kind of excessive physical or verbal abuse.

security guard walking perimeter
Security guard checking the area.

Unarmed versus Armed Guards

An unarmed guard is not authorized to carry a firearm or any other lethal weapon. An armed guard is authorized to carry a firearm and possibly other lethal weapons.

A lethal or deadly weapon is a weapon that can cause death or serious bodily injury. The items usually associated with being deadly weapons are firearms and some knives.

Unarmed guards may have other items on their body that they can use for protection such as, pepper spray, batons, or tasers. These weapons are classified as non-lethal and are mostly used to deter criminals.

Lonestar Universal Security offers both unarmed guards and armed guards.

Citizens may press charges against security guards

It is important to note that citizens may press charges against security guards if they feel their rights were infringed upon. Security guards should always use minimal amounts of force and restraint to prevent a crime from happening.

Security guards cannot legally arrest a citizen unless they have a strong suspicion that the suspect has committed or is about to commit a crime. And even then, it is classified as a “citizen’s arrest,” It is still up to a local police officers to decide if actuals charges will be pressed.

If a citizen feels that they have been unlawfully assaulted or held against their will, they may bring charges against the security guard.

Wrapping Up

security guard doing surveillance
Security guard surveilling security cameras.

Security officers frequently find themselves in unfavorable and challenging situations where the suspects refuse to comply with their instructions. Only qualified security guards with the necessary training, experience, and certification can be helpful in such circumstances. For this reason, you should choose a reputable and noteworthy security company such as, Lonestar Universal Security for all your security needs.



One Response

  1. I appreciate the information in this article. If someone’s considering getting into this line of work, it’s important to understand what they will be doing on the job. It’s also good to know what a security guard is legally allowed to do or not do. Just like knowing your rights with the police, general citizens need to know what security guards can and can’t do.

    Understanding your personal rights is important if a guard ever stops you. You explained personal rights very well. Security guards have the authority to detain someone with reasonable suspicion of a crime, but they can’t hold them indefinitely. You made a clear distinction between reasonable and unreasonable force – it’s all about ensuring the safety of others without resorting to excessive measures.

    The section on unarmed versus armed guards was well explained. Unarmed means that a guard may use non-lethal weapons. The decision to carry a firearm comes with many responsibilities and training requirements. Offering both unarmed and armed guards gives clients the option to choose what best fits their needs. I appreciate the emphasis on the importance of minimal force and respecting citizens’ rights. It’s reassuring to know that there are measures to hold security guards accountable if they overstep their bounds. Your article really shed light on how complex security security work is. It’s important to choose a reputable security company.

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