There are many rules and regulations security guards in the UK must follow. That being the case, myths rumours and misconceptions often circulate about what a security guard can legally do. One of the most common is whether a security guard can legally take something that belongs to you. We’ll be looking into several examples of things you may have heard or even experienced and providing the fact over fiction.
Can security guards take my passport?
No, a security guard cannot take your passport from you. They can ask your permission to look at it to verify your age if the situation calls for it, but they cannot take it from you.
The only instance where this would be viable is if the individual is providing fake ID to gain access to a venue that requires you to be over 18. This would then be passed onto the police as soon as possible as it is a criminal offense in the UK to use fake ID to gain entry to a licensed venue.
Can security guards take my drivers license?
No they cannot take your drivers license from you. They can ask to see your drivers license in order to verify your age if you are entering a licensed venue but they cannot take it from you.
As mentioned previously, the only instance where this would be viable is if the individual is providing fake ID. This would then be passed onto the police as soon as possible as it is a criminal offense in the UK to use fake ID to gain entry to a licensed venue.
Can security guards take my camera?
Security guards cannot take your camera, delete images, or obstruct any individuals from taking photographs.
UK Law on photography can be seen as very liberal as it is permitted in public places. An offense is only committed if the photographs being taken are indecent. A public place is an area where the public are allowed to freely access without permission.
It is perfectly legal to take photographs of people, objects, and buildings. Private property owners however could claim a right to privacy and to stop photography taking place on their property.
Taking this into account it’s easy to see how it is commonly thought security guards can confiscate your camera. This is not true.
Can security guards take my photograph?
A security guard can take a photograph of you. It is legal to take photographs of people in public places as long as those images are not indecent. Nobody has the right to:
- Ask a photographer to stop taking photos
- Ask for a copy of the photos
- Force a photographer to delete the photographs
In this case a security guard is within their right to photograph you for the purposes of their job.
An instance where this may occur would be a retail security guard taking a photo of someone who had been caught shoplifting. Much like CCTV this is something that can be used to identify potential suspects. The Metropolitan Police recently updated their advice on photography.
Can security guards take my property?
No, security guards cannot take your property. They are not allowed to carry out a search on an individual and their property unless they are there and are given explicit permission to do. No wallets, bags or purses may be searched by a security guard unless you are asked and say yes.
They do have the right to search property if it is left unattended and is considered suspicious. They can also search somebody who is unconscious to find ID and help to identify the person and it benefits their welfare. Taking all of that into consideration a security guard is not allowed to take your property from you. Find more info on what a security guard is legally allowed to do here.
We can see that security guards are not allowed to confiscate or take anything that belongs to you. This includes your passport, drivers license, camera and property. The only exception is in cases of fake ID being used to access licensed premises. Even then it must be passed onto the police as soon as possible and not detained by the staff or the premises. Security guards have the exact same rights as any other citizen. Under section 24A of The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, security guards like any member of the public are allowed to make a citizen’s arrest within the following circumstances:
- The offender is in the act of committing or you have reasonable grounds for suspecting it
- An offence was committed and the person you are arresting was the culprit
- You have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the offender has committed the offence
Security guards can take your photo for the purposes of their job, in the same way any member of the public can take your photo. This is something that could help them identify potential threats and suspects. Check out all our security guard articles here!
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