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Show ALL Forums  > Ontario  > How much authority does a security guard have?      Home login  
Joined: 6/15/2008
Msg: 26
How much authority does a security guard have?Page 2 of 2    (1, 2)
Shoplifter dies during hot pursuit This thread brought a reminder of a very recent incident on the Hamilton mountain involving two security members in red shirts chasing down a 'suspected' shoplifter reported in the Hamilton Spectator Friday.

Obviously, if a theft occured, the suspect should have been reported to the proper authorities....I do believe this rather large automotive parts source dealer has the resources to capture a picture to submit to the police.

The company needs to review their policies. In the best interest of the general public as well as the their own employees. This has been reported by the Hamilton Spectator as being the second incident within ten years of risky apprehension of a 'suspect'....where in the world does jumping on the hood of a get away car and holding on to the wipers fall within the safety guidelines of all concerned???

Good intentions have a obvious negative impact as the store manager claims they "have an aggressive security force" in place.... understandable in these times... where does one draw the line in apprehension and safety of the general public??
Joined: 11/8/2007
Msg: 27
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How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 6/29/2008 11:23:16 AM
I saw a similar incident at a Canadian Tire a few years back...
A guy walks out, two staff security literally tackle him (like a football tackle) from behind with no warning, dropping him in the parking lot. He gets up all bloody and stunned and the frog-marched him back to the store...
Whether or not he was guilty or innocent is irrelevant to the violence he was treated with.

I've been attacked by a bouncer once, and security guard once...
Both times they regretted it...
Joined: 2/7/2006
Msg: 28
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How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 6/30/2008 5:54:23 AM
I used to work as a security guard, bouncer and body guard. In all three cases yes I was well trained but never actually properly liscensed. I was very naive about it at the time and worked all three positions under one company that said don't worry etc.

You would be surprised but there are really very few actually liscensed security guards out there, these liscenses are handled by the OPP.

It wasn't until a few fellow guards got in high trouble that we learned that the company was engaged in illegal activity, they even had us armed with ASPS and Pepper Spray for the night clubs and various jobs we worked at.

You are not allowed to search someone unless they give you permission to do so. You are not allowed to beat them up, only defend yourself and try to restrain them but never harm them. There have been cases where people have died from being improperly restrained by inexperienced people, even handcuffing a highly agitated person can kill them!

That security guard's behaviour was over the top no matter how much he/she thought the kid deserved it. Most guards are only allowed to call the police by thier companies and to not actually intervene unless they have a specific liscense and training in police procedure etc.

So beware what kind of crap a security company might feed you about a liscence before getting that job in security, they guys I knew were held directly liable and the company and company owner vanished. It was serious, a person was shot and killed in this case but by a patron and not a guard.

In the case of a night club we are not actually allowed to touch you, only escort you out. Ask the bouncer if he/she has a security guard liscence if they do, chances are they don't in which case you can charge them for assault if they touch you!
 little green hairstreak
Joined: 2/27/2008
Msg: 29
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/24/2008 4:01:00 PM
geez, talk about being guilty until proven innocent. It's a jolly good job that not all security guards are armed if they are as a big @ssholes as those I have come across. I have been stopped by security 3 times under suspicion of shoplifting. Needless to say I was, am and always will be innocent, you don't get an american visa these days with a rap sheet. I just happen to have that sort of face or that sort of mannerism that leads impressionable young people to assume things. Fortunately I am big enough to deter any wanna be heroes from tackling me without consequences. As far as I am concerned, if I have committed no crime, then any d!ckhead security guard trying to 'subdue' me will firstly lay themselves down upon the floor and then in due course be sued for their slanderous actions. Obviously if someone is pointing a gun at me then maybe I won't use quite such strong language, I too wanna get home at night.
The problem with too many security guards is that they are incorrectly trained. They receive a basic grounding in amateur psychology that tells them people with shifty eyes, sweaty brows and shaky hands must be criminals. They also get told they must deter thieves as well as apprehend so publicly busting someone's balls is designed to discourage others by the example of what happens. But this inevitably leads to escalation as the guard tries harder to act the enforcer in the public eye, the alleged thieve struggles harder because they are been pilloried and assaulted in full public view. Wouldn’t you feel somewhat annoyed if someone not only publicly accused you of stealing, but used unnecessary force to detain you. If you were a reasonable person you might be happy to discuss it and prove your innocence, but such thoughts would fly out the window if you found yourself on the floor and arms pinned behind you by some idiot not fit to guard the water in the Atlantic ocean.
It all comes down to money, just like the quality of staff working at retired peoples and nursing care homes. If you only pay a minimum wage you will get minimum quality. Then we complain about how badly our old folks are treated, by staff that couldn’t care a less and have no time to spend with their clients.

love and peace
hug someone new today
regards from 158, defender of the faith, the weak and the ridiculous.
Joined: 7/21/2008
Msg: 30
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/24/2008 6:23:08 PM
Security guards in general can't use force, their job is to report. Even a security guard at Canadian tire can't just go and try to stop someone forcefully. Besides there's insurance and also they can write it off as a loss.
Bouncer's job is extremely difficult and dangerous. You can't forget there is usually too many people to keep track of. Never fight in a bar or stop someone let the bouncer do their job, all you need to do is call out a bouncer. I never been stopped for shoplifting if someone came charging at me I would throw him onto the ground or kick him. It is foolish to stop someone when all you're getting paid is no more than $10 to $14 /hr for your life.
What's gets me upset now is police using Taser that ends up killing people. I wish they would outlaw Tasers, a cop just killed a 17 year old boy with one.
Joined: 2/17/2008
Msg: 31
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/25/2008 2:45:50 PM
If in the scenario presented, the Security Guard was working inthe place of the incident, and the victim(person who suffered property loss) was a tenant in the place, then the Security Guards wages are proportioately paid by way of the Tenant's commonarea rental costs and the Security Guard has the same powers with respect to arrest and hold the responsible party under two areas of law 1 Trespass to property act allows for physical detention and turning the arrested party over to a Police Officer forthwith. 2 Criminal Code of Canada allow someone who is found committing the offence to be arrested and held till turned over to the police either by the victim or the Security Guard who because he is paid by the victim is his agent. How about that
Joined: 5/28/2008
Msg: 32
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How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/26/2008 4:41:02 PM
I had a similar situation happen to me when I was in my early 20's, though the end result was much different. I had and still have long hair, back then wore scruffy tshirts and jeans, and apparently some security guard at a mall thought I had stolen something. (I had not.)

He came up, and without a word grabbed my wrist and spun me around. I immediately told him to remove his hand, and when he didn't I twisted my wrist out of his grasp. I didn't turn and try to leave, or run, just stood there. Now at this point, I think the guard (who stood about 6'1 and weighed approx 220 +) must have decided to "teach me a lesson" since I'm under 5'7 and at the time weighed about 130lbs. He grabbed at my arm again, and tried to yank me in to him. Unfortunately for him, despite my appearance, I was trained, and not about to let some mall cop assault me when I'd done nothing wrong. I twisted my arm again and broke his hold, reversed it, and sent him sprawling on his ass.

Apparently, this bruised his ego, and he came up off the ground swinging, and actually connected a solid punch that left a rather marked bruise on my face... at which point I stopped being nice, and when he came at me again, I took out his knee and broke two of his fingers. (both happened during his rush at me, kick to the knee, hand on his fingers guiding him down.)

The police arrived, I was cuffed, and 30 minutes later after taking my statement and interviewing witnesses, I was released and he was arrested, he instigated an assault and I was only defending myself. This happenes all the time, only unfortunately, it's usually the innocent guy getting hurt, I was lucky enough to know how to defend myself. These guards think they have more power than they do, and they need to be better regulated.
Joined: 7/24/2008
Msg: 33
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How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/27/2008 6:57:47 PM
In one of my hobby activities, I direct the activities of pay-duty police, paid uniformed security, and volunteer unpaid security personnel at special events. The issue of arrest and physical confrontations comes up a number of times a year.

How much authority does a security guard have? More than you might think, depending on circumstances and the extent of authority conferred on the security guard by their employer and the owner of the property being secured.

Any security guard (and any civilian at all for that matter) has the legal right under federal law to perform a citizen's arrest (including physically detaining you) on someone if they themselves personally witness that person committing a criminal offence. The key phrase is "personally witness". A security guard can't go after you and try to arrest you on someone else's say-so. They (or any civilian) can, however, physically assist someone who did do the witnessing.

Depending on employer and property owner's instructions, a security guard may also have powers to enforce and make arrests under provincial trespass laws. Being on a property without lawful excuse, refusing to leave when directed, even engaging in prohibited acts on a property are all arrestable offences under Ontario's provincial offences trespass laws and a security guard can make arrests on those grounds if authorized to do so on the property he or she is entrusted with.

Whether or not a security guard or regular citizen should step in and attempt an arrest, or the degree they should go to to try and complete an arrest always depends on the situation. For various liability and public image reasons, many employers and property owners instruct their security personal to act as visible deterrents and note-takers (witnesses) rather than get into physical confrontations. After all, it looks bad when a tackled customer dies at the hands of security even when security has done nothing legally wrong or excessive.

But on some occasions, having security or civilians step in and hold someone for police is a good thing if it can be done safely and within the law.

However, once they (security guard or civilian) begin the citizen's arrest, they have the right to use as much force as is reasonably required to complete the arrest and hold the suspect in custody until police arrive. For anyone objecting to being so arrested by a "mere" security guard, you should be aware that if the security guard is making a lawful arrest under Ontario provincial law or under the federal Canadian Criminal Code, and you resist, you can be charged with resist arrest.

Best course of action if you find yourself in that situation is to physically cooperate but say and do nothing until police arrive. It will put you in a better light when police arrive, and it may also save you some physical discomfort and maybe even a beating. If you are ever arrested by a security guard or civilian making a citizen's arrest, they MUST call police as soon as possible to transfer you into their custody.

With respect to being licensed, all "paid" security guards must now be licensed by the Ontario government. This includes traditional security and even the bouncers at the local pub if their primary role is that of providing security. But the cook who occasionally comes out to deal with the drunks does not have to be licensed, and neither do volunteer security at things like charity or service club beer gardens.
Joined: 4/9/2005
Msg: 34
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/28/2008 2:05:09 PM
Although I pretty much believe in what the above poster said, a little caveat to the above post needs to be said

"they have the right to use as much force as is reasonably required to complete the arrest and hold the suspect in custody until police arrive"

Recently in canada, a landmark case was settled in which people making citizens arrest could be sued by the criminal they were trying to arrest for trying to stop them. The problem lies with the definition of reasonable force, which the law feels should be minimal at best - even if the person tries to flee. This means that any good samaritan or secuity guard will be exposing themselves to civil and criminal charges if they try to intervene. Which is why, even for security guards, their job is to report the crime - not stop it.
Joined: 7/24/2008
Msg: 35
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How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/28/2008 4:44:00 PM
The reality is that any person can sue any other person for almost any reason at all, even cops who are performing their sworn duty. Being successful in winning such a lawsuit is another matter altogether.

As for criminal charges arising out of intervening, it comes down to common sense. You don't go shooting your shotgun at a fleeing thief just because the Canadian Criminal Code says you can use force to stop him. Force must be reasonable given the circumstances and given the offence, no more than is needed, and must certainly not endanger others. A stolen VCR is not worth a life, whether it be the thief's, your's, or some uninvolved party who gets caught up in the crossfire.

As long as you keep that in mind, you need not fear being charged criminally or being found liable for damages in a civil suit.

We don't have enough cops on the street to blanket a neighbourhood and be able to instantly respond to reports of petty low-level punk-driven crime. I'm strongly against vigilante action but I am a strong believer in responsible citizen intervention where it can be done relatively safely with respect to all parties involved.

The alternative to that is the "passive bystander effect", where brazen petty crime becomes possible only because the public at large is afraid to intervene for whatever reason.
 Canuck Lover
Joined: 4/17/2008
Msg: 36
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 7/30/2008 6:55:34 PM
I have to agree fully with Little Lady, I was in security for almost 13 years, worked everything from site to head of guards in multiple locations and provinces, each province is different in their training and lisence requirements, but as with what Little Lady said, you have little more rights then a civilian. The security act mainly is an implementation of the civil rights and citizen arrest laws combined together.

Too many of the new guards come online thinking that they are of little to no responsibility in their actions on the job, but I have been involved in the prosecution of some of my own guards when I worked in high-supervisory roles.

A great example of what NOT to do as a guard:

In Hamilton (Mountain) a security guard chased a suspected 18 year old shoplifter out of a Canadian Tire store and through a residential neighbourhood, until the suspect hit the ground (tackled), had a scuffle with the security, and proceeded to die on the security guard (not security officer, illegal to call yourself an officer unless you are trained as a police officer). In this case:
1. the security officer broke a number of criminial laws.
- You can not leave the represented property to chase a suspect off site.
- You can not TACKLE a suspect - assault charge my friend
- Performing a criminial act (aforementioned) and causing death because of it is another no no.
- All this for a stolen battery...
The case is in court now and probably end up in conviction for the guard, and hefty lawsuit for the security company because of wrongful death.

My advice to someone looking into security for a career, join the police, join the army; at least there you can shoot without recourse.
 Mr. Serious
Joined: 10/16/2005
Msg: 37
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 8/3/2008 4:24:39 PM
You people have freigen seen nothing, come to sudbury.
It's a bring your own body bag thing, or more so your blue cross, unless you fall into a lake first.
If you think the hells angels grabbing someone who owes them money is nasty,
christ, dont cross in front of a cop car, or unknowingly step in front off either a on duty or off duty cop at tim hortons, for those are peper spray and boot ****ing offences.
Would you like some names (news paper articles to go with some of those names???)
And the "tasers", those are just party favorites for their "shits and giggles".
Joined: 7/24/2008
Msg: 38
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How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 8/3/2008 9:15:26 PM
Canuk Lover said "
1. the security officer broke a number of criminial laws.
- You can not leave the represented property to chase a suspect off site.
- You can not TACKLE a suspect - assault charge my friend
- Performing a criminial act (aforementioned) and causing death because of it is another no no."

This is completely incorrect.

There is nothing in Ontario or Canadian provincial law that prohibits store security staff or anyone else from chasing a suspect off site if they have personally witnessed a theft or other criminal act. Store or security company internal policies may prohibit pursuits off-site, but the law does not.

Persons making a citizen's arrest are permitted to use reasonable force to stop and detain a person they have witnessed committing a criminal act. The law also permits others to assist that person if called upon.

You only commit a criminal act if you apply unreasonable force in making that citizen's arrest. A suspect dying while being apprehended or detained is not necessarily an indicator of unreasonable force.

You claim that the Hamilton store staff are now facing charges as a result. I've found nothing other than brief statements that police are investigating the death, which is normal practice in any sudden death regardless of circumstances. I'd like to see a link to the relevant news article.
Joined: 4/26/2008
Msg: 39
How much authority does a security guard have?
Posted: 8/4/2008 6:58:40 PM
A Private Security Guard doesn't have any more power than any other citizen...

A Private Security Guard, like any other citizen can arrest for any Indictable criminal offence he/she observes, and like any property owner, can arrest for any criminal offence he/she observes, and can use reasonable force to do so...(S. 494 of the Criminal Code)...Anyone can also arrest someone they observe fleeing lawful custody (you see someone running away from Wildlife Officer, and the officer is chasing the person, you can assist in arresting the person)...

Just as any property owner, a Private Security Guard can arrest for offences OBSERVED against the Tresspass to Property Act (Ontario) ( to leave when directed)...

Under the Private Security and Invetigators Act, Security Guards can carry batons and handcuffs, but no pepper spray...

The above is only about private security, many government Security (Transit/University Constables, Offences Officers employed by Conservation Authority and Municipalities) have more power than a Private Security Guards such as writing ticket/summonses for a number of offences, can carry pepper spray, and in some cases are given police powers of arrest...
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