November 15, 2018 12:04 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Infinite Security Circle, a Bristol based Security company, who services the South West. We like to post in depth security blogs to give a insight to the Security Industry. 


Do you know the law surrounding a citizens arrest?

Within the security industry you may in your time have to citizen’s arrest. A citizens arrest is an individual who is not a police officer. However it comes with its complications and interpretations.

The law can be found under The law is found under section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Common offences would be:

  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Deception
  • Assualts
  • Possession of drugs
  • ABH
  • GBH

All of these offences are indictable, and can warrant a civil arrest. However, this should be the last resort and police should be called to deal with it, unless there is no alternative.

Remebering your personal safety is paramount. You should never try to arrest someone on your own.

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Only Arrest if:

  • You have seen the suspect commit an offence
  • Have sufficient evidence
  • Witnesses
  • It’s safe to do so

Alternatively, get a brief description of the suspect and report it to the police.

How to arrest

Firstly, once you have enough evidence to warrant a citizens arrest and you’ve considered your safety. It’s advice to have witnesses around you.

  • Approach the suspect
  • Identify yourself (I am a security guard…. I work for….. Would you like to come with me. Ask first if they deny then say.
  • I am placing you under a citizens arrest, The reason for the arrest is that I have seen you… You MUST inform them they have been arrested, as you are taking their Human Rights away.  Failing to do so is against the law.
  • Use reasonable force only if the offender refuses to do so.

Questions and answers.

Q: Can you head lock or hold someone down.

A: Only use reasonable force, once you have arrested someone, they are now in your care. Avoid assaulting the offender and commiting An offence yourself. Head locks and holding someone to the floor should be avoided as this can cause asphyxiation.

Q: Can I handcuff a suspect.  

A: Handcuffs must be approved by the police, and you must attend a training course to use them. There are time limits on which you have to abide by. Avoid using them as it can cause injury to the suspect.

Q: Can I search the suspect.

A: No civilian has the powers of search, under no circumstances does the suspect have to accept your request to go through their belongings. You can ask to go through their bag for example, but under their approval only.

Always remain professional, keep the suspect calm. Safety should be a continuous thought process whilst you have a person arrested. The suspect can turn at anytime, they can also carry weapons which you don’t know about. Never be left alone, and consider being in full view off CCTV. Every occurrence should be logged down and a record kept of.

If your unsure wether you have the grounds of civil arrest, don’t do it.

Infinite Security Circle offers Events Security to Bristol, Bath, Swindon and Cheltenham. We also cover all South West, click here to find out about our Man Guarding services.

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This post was written by Callum Parsons

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