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Power Of Arrest For Security Operatives

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What Special Power Of Arrest Do Security Operatives?

For the purpose of this article a security operative is a security guard or door supervisor. In this article I am going to touch on the power to arrest an individual that a security guard or door supervisor has. Please note this is not a special power that security guards or door supervisors have. Many people believe mistakenly that you don’t have the power to make an arrest as a door supervisor or security guard. This is simply not correct, others also believe mistakenly that the power of arrest is something that only security operatives can execute, again this is not correct.

The Citizens Power Of Arrest

The reality is security guards and door supervisors can make an arrest, but this power is a power that all members of the public have. In common law this power of arrest is known as the citizens arrest.  Again this means that it is not only door supervisors or security guards who can make arrests.

  • What is actually more important is when can you arrest an individual?

The answer to that is stated in the legislation discussed below.

So we are now clear that any member of the public has the power of arrest. So you today as a member of the public if needs be; can make an arrest. The trouble is that very few people actually are prepared to make an arrest or even consider making an arrest. In truth this is normally the case because of concerns about their own safety as a member of the public at least. The situation is different for security operatives. If you are undertaking a security guarding or door supervision course then as part of your training you will be introduced to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005 (SOCPA) 2005.

The Law And Arrests

The statutory power of arrest for the public were set out in the Police And Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. Section 24 of the (PACE) Act sets out the powers the police have to arrest suspects. Section 24A of the PACE sets out the power of members of the public to make an arrest. These powers were amended by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA). The exercise of the citizen’s power of arrest is limited to indictable offences only


Section 24 A states the power of arrest as

A person other than a constable may arrest without a warrant:
 (a) anyone who is in the act of committing an indictable offence; or

(b) anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be committing an indictable offence ..

Where an indictable offence has been committed a person other than a constable may arrest without a warrant:

(a) anyone who is guilty of the offence; or
(b) anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting him to be guilty of it.

An indictable offence is defined in the earlier article on the classification of criminal offences. To review the article click here

The power of arrest describe here is clearly applicable to both men and women even though the legislation appears to lean towards males making an arrest.

The law goes on to state that it must be necessary for a member of the public to make the arrest and goes on to cite circumstances where it would be necessary. The final point for members of the public to be aware of is that the legislation states it must not be reasonably practical for a police officer to make that arrest.

The Security Operative Power Of Arrest

In summary, members of the public and in this case door supervisors and security guards can make an arrest so long as an indictable offence has taken place and it is not possible for a constable to make the arrest.

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Future updates will include defining what an arrest is from the point of view of a member of the public, how to make a lawful arrest and the impact of article 5 of the human rights act.

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