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A Security Guard’s Guide to “Use of Force” Theory

2014-10-15 by Mark Harrington

Legal trainingDeciding which career path to follow is never easy, but when you’ve finally made your choice and discovered your professional calling, specific training and knowledge is required before beginning your new career. Whether you’re planning to pursue dental assistant training, medical office assistant training or even security guard training, a specific curriculum and skill-set is required to become an expert in your chosen field.

Security Guard Training

Security guards are employed by various organizations including private businesses, hospitals, banks and casinos to observe the locations’ surroundings and keep a watchful eye out for theft, suspicious activity or threatening behaviour. As a security guard, you may be responsible for observing TV monitors from behind a desk or asked to stand in front of an exit to check the flow of traffic in and out of the building. No matter what your duties entail, it is essential to master a very specific skill-set that is provided through security guard training, as well as the knowledge and expertise that can be acquired through some legal training.

The Dangers of the Job

Pursuing a career as a security guard certainly has its advantages – such as flexible hours. However, similar to many jobs, being a security guard also comes with certain challenges. In some cases, working in security can be dangerous because of the potential for hazardous encounters. When working in a protection or security role, there is always a risk of something unexpected happening and being prepared is critical. In the case of a threat presenting itself or the occurrence of an unexpected event, security guards must keep in mind the “Use of Force” theory in order to effectively handle the situation.

The “Use of Force” Theory

In some cases, a security guard may be exposed to a situation where he/she may need to use force to neutralize a threat. If such a situation should occur, it is important to have a detailed understanding of the “Use of Force” theory.

Section 25 of the Criminal Code of Canada explains that a security guard must carefully match use of force to the severity of the perceived threat. Security personnel are criminally responsible for usage of excessive force, so becoming familiar with the theory, its examples and recommendations, is an essential part of any training course. Security guards must also take into consideration a few conditions that may cause sudden or unexpected death when using force to detain a person. These conditions include:

  • Excited delirium syndrome
  • Positional asphyxia

Both conditions can cause sudden death and can occur when a person is being forcefully restrained. Security guards must bear in mind that a person should never be held in a position that can obstruct his/her breathing. It is important to always use The National Use of Force Model to assess threatening situations and determine a proportionate response.

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