Private security guards are essential for many businesses, as they provide a host of benefits, including peace of mind, theft protection, and so forth. But if you’re thinking about hiring a private security guard, you may be wondering what can they actually legally do?
After all, a private security guard is not a police officer and doesn’t have the same authority as one. Let’s compare what they can and cannot do:
Can They Arrest Someone?
The answer is: sort of. A private security guard cannot arrest someone. That’s something that only law enforcement can do. However, while they can’t arrest someone, private security guards are able to make a citizen’s arrest, which means that they can restrain the individual or individuals until law enforcement arrives. They will have to contact law enforcement right away however; otherwise there can be legal problems.
One of the main differences is that law enforcement can arrest individuals based off of reasonable cause. A private security officer can arrest someone only after he or she has committed the actual crime. Suspicion of a crime being committed is not enough.
In addition, since a private security guard can only make a citizen’s arrest, the felony must either have been attempted or committed in the presence of the private security guard. A law enforcement official, on the other hand, can arrest someone if there’s enough probable cause present.
Can They Use Firearms or Other Weapons?
A private security guard can also legally use a firearm or other weapons, such as a baton or mace. However, it can only be used to prevent a serious felony, such as murder, attempted murder, or any other situation in which human life is threatened, from occurring. The private security guard will have to undergo firearms training and have a firearms certification.
If the private security guard has no choice but to use a firearm or weapon, a detailed report must be filled out, and he or she must prove that the use was legally justifiable.
What’s Their Jurisdiction?
In terms of jurisdiction, private security guards only have authority on the private property that they are hired to work for. They do not have any legal rights to act as security outside of this private property. For example, if a crime has not been committed at the particular private property that they’re providing security for, they don’t have any authority. Of course, a citizen’s arrest can always be made if a felony is committed, and the use of a concealed weapon and so forth is based upon state-by-state laws.
Private security guards should always be aware of their legal authority and what they can and cannot do. If you’re interested in hiring a private guard or private guards, make sure to contact First Security Services today for your free consultation. All of our private security guards have undergone extensive training We only employ professional and high-quality private guards that meet our stringent standards!