Can Security Guards Arrest You?

When it comes to the safety of others, a security guard is expected to do what they can to maintain it. However, security guards aren’t like police officers – there are limits to what they can and cannot do. In the case of a security guard arresting you, it might be hard to discern if they can do so or not. You want to ensure you’re aware of your legal rights if you aren’t sure if a security guard can arrest you. See what is expected of a security guard, so you can best understand the limits of what a security guard arrest can mean.


What are Security Guards’ Duties?

A security guard’s basic job description is a person employed to protect an employing party’s assets, such as property, people, equipment, money, information, etc. Their presence in itself is meant as a deterrent from any wrongdoings. They can do this directly by making regular patrols or remotely monitoring alarm systems or video surveillance cameras. From either approach, they fulfil their duties by enforcing preventative measures for various problems like waste, damaged property, unsafe work behaviour, and criminal activity, typically theft. You can often see security guards in action when they either warn or escort trespassers off the property and even during cases of a fire that breaks out. The majority of their job involves prevention, but there is a level of enforcement they can exercise.


How Much Can They Enforce?

There is some overlap between what security guards can do and what police officers can do when speaking to maintain safety for the public. The key difference lies in that security guards are regulated to protect one area in particular and are bound to operate within their given boundaries.

Yet, security guards can use force to perform their duties under certain conditions. According to Section 25 of the Criminal Code of Canada, an Ontario Security Guard is permitted to use: “as much force as is necessary as long as they act on reasonable grounds. However, section 26 states that individuals who use force are also criminally responsible for any excessive force in these circumstances.”. Many security guard companies in Toronto are aware of what they can do to fulfil their duties but are constantly mindful of liability towards their employer. As a result, security guards have to be incredibly careful when assessing when and how to apply force in a dire situation.

Security Guard Arrest: What Happens?

So, now you know that a security guard can use force on you, but the question is whether that will result in an arrest. To put it simply: yes, they can arrest you. However, it’s not quite the same as being arrested by a police officer. When a security guard arrests you, they can’t suddenly `unarrest’ you and must inform you of the reason for your arrest. When an arrest occurs, they can call for assistance to maintain public order and safety. In addition, they can search you and seize any evidence. If you’re caught red handed, a security guard can have you in custody until the police arrive. Once a security guard hands you off to the police, that’s generally the extent of what they can do for an arrest. The police are expected to handle the rest. But since criminal activity did occur, security guards are expected to write up a report on the incident. This paper trail is not only for criminal activity but also for anything that may warrant calling the police, fire department, or paramedics. It’s meant to provide the necessary information to said emergency services and keep their employer informed about an incident. In which case, if the report is about criminal activity, the report written up by the security guard has the potential to support charges put upon you as a result.

In some ways, security guards are fairly similar to police officers – just operating on a smaller scope and limited boundaries. A security guard arrest might seem minimal with only being able to hold you in custody. Yet, that much is enough to have serious criminal ramifications. The police and security guard companies work in tandem with one another to ensure protection for the public, so there are real-world consequences to being arrested by a security guard. Since security guards can hand you over to the police as soon as they arrive, a security guard arrest can easily morph into an official arrest by the police that can result in serious charges for your offence.


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