When it comes to security guard services, there are many misconceptions. People believe that the portrayal of security guards in movies and television is an accurate representation of their duties, but that is simply not the case. Whether the example is Kevin James’ titular character or one of the more banal examples, actual security guards play a much more regular and valuable role in our daily lives.
Of course, many examples probably come to your mind immediately, especially if you’ve recently been living in a populated urban area. After all, the ongoing pandemic has seen a huge increase in the number of security guards, as businesses seek to institute public or private guidelines to protect their patrons. But, security guards are also seen at events, after-hours businesses and other locations where increased attention and care are needed.
As a result of the continuing rise in popularity of security guard services and the wrongful portrayal of their duties so prevalent in the media, many people seek answers to their burning questions about these individuals. Chief among these questions, and the subject of our discussion today, is that of whether or not security guards can perform personal searches.
The short answer to this question is no, security guards cannot conduct personal searches any more than any other private individual. Some exceptions to this exist, however, and private businesses make things a little more complicated too. We get into these particulars in the following paragraphs.
What Special Privileges Exist For Security Guards
Generally, no special privileges exist for security guards. This is why they cannot physically prevent you from leaving a store as a suspected shoplifter or search you. They are essentially private citizens in the eyes of the law, much like private investigators. However, some provinces offer additional training and education programs to afford security professionals’ specialized certifications.
One example of these specialized certifications are courses that instruct security guards in how to use batons. These are blunt weapons that can be used in special circumstances and may be required for higher-risk security details. Similarly, special firearms licenses may also be obtained by some security professionals. In both of these examples, provincial rules and regulations will govern what is possible for security guards to obtain.
The Exceptions That May Occur With Private Businesses
Much like the privacy policies that require your assent to access social media platforms, private businesses can also impose additional restrictions on your patronage. Perhaps you’ve attended a large sporting event or concert where security has a “bag check” station preceding the entrance, which would be an example of these heightened security restrictions. A simpler example would be entering a convenience store and having to leave your bag at the front of the store to prevent theft.
As you are not required to patronize these businesses, they have the ability to place special restrictions on your ability to do so. This can help prevent dangerous and inconvenient situations for the proprietors, and private security guards are often employed to ensure these heightened restrictions are enacted and maintained.