Factors to Consider Before Making An Arrest

Are Security Guard/Proprietary Private Security Officers Required To Make Arrests?

At no time are you, as a security guard/proprietary private security officer, obligated to make an arrest. You may be at the scene when a violation occurs, but you do not have to make an arrest.

What Are Your Primary Responsibilities?

Your first responsibility should be prevention. After a crime has been committed, your responsibility should be to observe and report.

The purpose of this training is not to encourage you to make more arrests (citizen arrests), but to teach you the law concerning arrests, so you will know what you can and cannot do under the law.

The above direction is a suggestion and is at the discretion of the employer. Some employers may want their security personnel to be more proactive as long as they stay within the parameters of what is lawful regarding private persons (citizen’s) arrest.

What Factors Should You Consider?

In addition to the law, there are other important factors you should consider before making an arrest. Here are a few:

  1. Physical Size: Is the suspect bigger or stronger than you are? In better physical condition?
  2. Weapons: Is the suspect armed? Could he/she be carrying a concealed weapon?
  3. Escape: If you do not make an arrest at this moment, will the suspect get away? Not just leave the scene – but get away completely? If you get a good description and call the police WITHOUT DELAY, the police may be able to make the arrest.
  4. Type of Offense: Is the offense major or minor? You should be more concerned with major offenses. A person setting fire on a loading dock is a more likely candidate for arrest than kids climbing a fence to steal apples from your employer’s orchards.
  5. Relation to Your Job: Does the offense relate to property or persons you were hired to protect? As a good citizen, you want to uphold the law, but your first duty is to your employer. After all, your employer is paying you!