Powers of Security Guards regarding Shoplifting

What is a security guard used for?

A security guard is somebody who is employed by an organisation to protect property, people or assets.

Most security guards work in some kind of store, their main duties are to observe everything that is happening in the store and to look out for suspicious activity, and in particular shoplifting. They do this by patrolling the store, using CCTV or guarding the entrance to the store. If they see any suspicious activity such as shoplifting, their job is to then deal with the matter in the best possible way.  As there is likely to be a shop full of other people causing a scene may not be the best route to take.

What powers does a security guard have?

The powers of security guards are the same powers as any other member of the public will have, they can make a ‘citizen’s arrest.’ They do not have any special kind of power, however their role is being looked at constantly and new developments might mean that they may be given more power in the near future.

Their powers have changed recently and are a lot more complex with much of it yet to be tried in court, but basically security guards have the power to detain a person who they believe to have committed an indictable offence.

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For more information on:

  • How do these powers differ from police powers?