SIA License Holders Powers of Arrest and Search

Following on from the last video I did about “The Difference Between Arresting Someone and Detaining Someone”, and obviously there is no difference, I’ve just come across this on the Security Industry Authority website, which was posted on the 3rd of February 2017.⁣

It’s about SIA licence holders and power of arrest, and someone has requested clarification on the following areas. ⁣

1) Do security guards have a right, if any, to stop a member of the public and request a search of their bags, and can the members of the public refuse? ⁣

2) Does the public have any right to deny to talk to a guard? ⁣

3) Do security guards have any right to touch, hold, or grab a member of the public when not detaining them? ⁣

4) Does the SIA have any formal complaints procedure against security guards that performed against their duties? For example, detaining somebody without reason, and ⁣

5) For this question, I’ll create a scenario and ask the question regarding the scenario.⁣

John is shopping in a supermarket. He is not being seen acting suspicious by the security guard, nor has the security guard or any security staff been tracking his movements on camera. John walks through a gated alarm system which sounds, prompting the security guard to ask him to come back in. John walks in and refuses the search, to which he is detained by the guard for theft. The police arrive and perform a legal search on John and find nothing suspicious and release him. Does the guard have the right to escort John back into the store, and is the security guard acting maliciously if they detain John on the base that he set the alarm off?⁣

Well, I think I’ve answered a lot of these questions in the previous video, which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3xZM…⁣

The response from the SIA is as follows. It says,

“The short answer to your questions is that SIA licence holders are not awarded any additional powers over and above any other member of the public in terms of power of arrest. I would recommend that you contact the police for clarification of the areas of the law relating to citizen’s arrest, which are covered in the previous video. And the answers to your specific questions are as follows.”⁣

1) Do security guards have a right, if any, to stop a member of the public and request a search of their bags and can a member of the public refuse? ⁣

On the SIA’s website it also says,

“Security operatives may be required to request to inspect bags as part of their duties. A member of the public retains the right to refuse to have their bags searched,”

and if you watched my previous video on this, a non-police officer does not have any further powers to search whatsoever.⁣

2) Does the public have any right to deny to talk to a guard? ⁣

Answer: Members of the public are under no obligation to speak to a security operative if they choose not to. There is no reason for detaining someone if they choose not to speak to a guard if they’ve committed no crime.⁣

3) Do security guards have any right to touch, hold, or grab a member of the public when not detaining them? ⁣

Answer: SIA licence holders are awarded no powers or rights over and above any other member of the public, and they are actually not allowed to use physical force unless a crime is being committed, an indictable offence, or a breach of the peace which normally refers to violence.⁣

4) Does the SIA have any formal complaint to proceed against security guards if performed against their duties? For example, detaining somebody without reason. ⁣

Answer: If you believe an SIA licence holder has acted unlawfully, we would like to know about this. This information will be treated as intelligence, and we would investigate this with reference to the Private Security Industry Act 2001, and initiate any enforcement actions we feel appropriate.⁣

There’s a whole lot of information there. If a security guard stops you, detains you, which is actually making an arrest with no legal grounds, and then uses force against you, with no lawful justification, you can actually go along the lines of false imprisonment, a breach of Article 5 of the Human Rights Act 1998, and you can report them to the SIA.⁣

That’s all up on the Security Industry Authority’s website which you can see here: https://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/info-responses.aspx?FOI=2 ⁣

That’s their response. As I said, that follows on the video I did about detaining someone and arresting someone. ⁣

Is there a difference? Of course, there isn’t, and I’ll link these two together so you can have a look at that.⁣

In fact, if you go to our website you can read our blog post called What is the Difference Between Arresting Someone and Detaining Someone, which I posted on there today, on Monday, the 9th of October 2017.

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