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  1. #1
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    Default Can someone clarify the legal rights of security guards?

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    I'm reposting this with clarification. I recently posted this on uk.answers.yahoo.com believing that I would be dealing with English users talking about English Law. Several kind and helpful people answered - but they appear to be talking about the US. Please consider the following with reference to the UK...

    Recently I got stopped at the alarm barrier at a supermarket because the cashier on the checkout didn't spot and remove a security tag. I was in a hurry but I cooperated anyway. Considering that I had paid for everything and was not committing a crime - did I have the right to just tell the security guard 'No - leave me alone!'? What rights do the guards have? Can they search me? Can they restrain me? Would that be considered assault and can I defend myself?

    Thanks, Richard.

  2. #2
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    Certainly you used to be able to tell them to go away or arrest you (citizens arrest) and call the police then the police can search you if there are sufficient grounds If they decide to arrest you and you don't have stolen items you can then pursue them for false arrest. Since Tony's mob has messed around with everything that could all have changed.

  3. #3
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    they are employed by the company to safeguard their property your shopping triggered an alarm so they have a right to stop and check they can use reasonable force to detain you as does any citizen that thinks a crime has been committed they will at times try and use powers they dont have like personal searches this is down to the police who attend to check your person.

  4. #4
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    Alot of people tend to believe security guards or security officers do not have police powers or any real powers really. Just to clarify any rumors that may be going around, more & more states require licening of security personnel & the licensing is giving them more & more rights. Security Officers anywhere in the State of Illinois or anywhere in St. Louis City or St. Louis County, MO have FULL police powers while on duty, in uniform & on the property they work. In Illinois off duty security officers are even have police powers of arrest/restrain/detaining of a suspect involved in a felony. Every state though has different laws, along with countries, however proven statistics show that more & more jurisdictions are giving security more & more rights, including full police powers. IL or MO doesn't have security guards, only security officers, however MO does also have nothing more than security watchmen which are to observe & report only.

  5. #5
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    Security or "Blue Guards" don't have police powers. But as guardians of the establishment, they are tasked to protect it. Frisking, restraining by them must be done in a proper way to protect your right.

  6. #6
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    I'm no lawyer, but as agents of the retailer they are entitled to prevent the retailer's property from leaving the premises, so this means the person they believe to have taken it.
    I'm not sure of their powers of search though. My view is that they don't have that right and they would have to call the Police.

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    OK, I know that I am an "US Cousin" but as a former security officer I know a couple things that might help. Security guards in the US or officers are agents of the establishment that has hired them. They have just as much right to detain you as the store manager or clerk. They have the right to detain or even arrest you if they have witnessed you commit a misdemeanor. However it is still a "Citizen arrest". The uniform and badge do trick people, however, into thinking they have more power than they actually do. Legally they have to get permission (just like the cops do by the way) to do any searches of your person. But the appearance of authority usually causes people to comply. It is appropriate to comply with the requests of these officials as they do have some powers to detain you and make your life miserable as you wait for them or the police to do an investigation. I hope this helps. you did good by allowing them to search your bags. It removed any doubt by them that you were a bad guy. Keep up the honest work!

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    Oh, dear. Despite what you clarified, it appears that our American cousins are still with us!

    However, in the UK security guards have no more rights than any other civilian. They can detain you if they have good suspicion that the store's goods are being removed without being paid for (which would be the alarm going off), but they cannot insist on searching you. If you refused to co-operate, they would detain you until the arrival of the police, who CAN search you. Detaining includes the use of "reasonable force" to do so.

    Sensible thing is to do what you did, and co-operate. It wouldn't do your credibility any good to be seen being marched away, would it? Everyone's used to tags not being removed properly, happens all the time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    What rights do the guards have? Can they search me? Can they restrain me? Would that be considered assault and can I defend myself?

    Thanks, Richard.
    I used to be security guard, and first think they cant search you, second they have to see you taking something a passing the last point of payment without paying to be allowed to stop you.
    In your situation at the till you were absolutely save, you had an itemized bill from the till which would show that you've payed.
    As far as I remember in UK guard can't even ask you to produce this bill to check as he'd be risking being sued for false accusation in case you are allright.
    Generally I was trained to not stop anyone if I'm not 100% sure I've seen person taking item and leaving without paying, or if I wasn't told to do so by Store Manager.
    There is always another problem not noticed by customers, it is stealing staff, value is actualy few times bigger than value of goods stolen by customers.
    And this can happen for example when the person on the till is not scanning all items bought by somebody he/she knows.
    So sometimes guard can be looking not at you but at staff member in fact

  10. #10
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    Default Detain or not?

    Hi,
    im pretty sure that a security guard cannot search you, most guards will call the police and detain you at the supermarket untill police arrive and then the police officer will search. you said about the guard restraining you, if the guard has seen you taking the product off the shelf and you have made no attempt to pay for the goods and went to leave the store he has the right to detain you (not restrain you) everyone has the right to make a citizens arrest , if the Dp was to kick off and assault you , you could use reasonable force to DETAIN the person untill police arrive.
    This is a subject that can be talked about in depth , always remember any action has to be justified.

    Custody

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