Introduction to the security industry - The Ontario Security Guard Training Course

The structure of Canadian police services

In Canada, there are 3 levels of police services which are:

  • Federal (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

  • Provincial (Ontario Provincial Police, Newfoundland Royal Constabulary and Sûreté du Québec

  • Municipal (Toronto Police Service, Ottawa Police , South Simcoe Police etc.)

Police officers are tasked with carrying out many duties in order to ensure public safety and security. These duties include:

  • Preventing crime

  • Detecting crime

  • Apprehending criminals that break the law

  • Enforce laws

  • Maintain public order

  • Protect people and their property from harm and loss

In Canada, only 3 provinces that have set-up their own provincial police service which are Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland. Other provinces such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba hire the RCMP to act as the provincial police.

Many Canadian cities and municipalities also have their own municipal police service, while some municipalities hire the provincial or federal police to police their cities.

Rank Structure

Although there are many police services in Canada, the rank structure in most services are quite similar. Most uniformed police officers hold the basic rank of constable. These are the officers you see patrolling the streets and attending calls for service. Officers who provide direct supervision to other officers, hold the rank of sergeant. Their duty is to provide additional assistance and direction to lower ranking officers.

Officers who conduct investigations are called detectives. These officers have been promoted from constable and usually specialize in a specific area such as homicide, sexual crimes or gang related crimes. In larger cities, detectives may be focused on a certain area of the law, while in smaller cities detectives may investigate various types of crime.

Officers who are the rank of staff sergeant or higher carry out administrative and executive duties.

Most Common Ranks of Police

  • Chief of Police

  • Deputy Chief

  • Staff-Sergeant

  • Sergeant

  • Detective

  • Constable

  • Cadet

The difference between police officers and security guards

The role of a security guard is different from that of a police officer; however, they do sometimes overlap. The main role of a police officer is to enforce the law and the main role of the security guard is to provide protection against harm or loss. The police, serve the community as a whole and security guards provide their services for a specific employer or client. Security guards or private employees carry no authority under law.

Security guards typically provide protection against harm or loss of:

  • people

  • property and buildings

  • movable goods and assets, including money

  • information

  • their employers' reputation

As mentioned before, there is considerable overlap of work done by police and security. Like security, police also protect people and their property from harm or loss. Security guards are sometimes called upon to aid the police in the task of enforcing the law.

A law enforcement officer has a duty to enforce the law however a security guard does not. Under certain circumstances, security guards have the legal authority to act in the enforcement of the law and carry out duties such as making an arrest.

Under S. 129 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is a criminal offense for a security guard to either obstruct a police officer in their efforts to enforce the law or fail-without reasonable excuse-to assist a police officer carrying out their duties after having reasonable notice that they are required to do so. Therefore, security guard must make an arrest if asked to do so by a police officer.

In some cases, a security guard may be appointed as a special constable, this results in them being a security guard and law enforcement officer at the same time.

Different careers within the security industry

The security industry is more than just security guards and security products. There are hundreds of jobs that are apart of the security industry. Some of the different careers within the security industry are:

  • security guarding,

  • door person or bouncer,

  • retail loss prevention officer,

  • close protection guard or bodyguard,

  • armored car guard,

  • pre-board screening guard,

  • private investigator,

  • security consultant,

  • alarm installer,

  • locksmith; and

  • cybersecurity

Common duties of a security guard

As a security guard, you are going to be tasked with many duties throughout your shift. Some of the basic duties of a security guard may include:

  • patrolling a site or particular area

  • standing guard at a particular post

  • observing, detecting and reporting:

  • safety hazards,

  • illegal activity or signs of illegal activity,

  • violations of rules, regulations, policies and or procedures,

  • dangerous situations,

  • unusual or suspicious activity,

  • inspecting and operating physical security systems,

  • maintaining control systems for locks keys and access cards,

  • controlling access to a property, building and/or an area within a building,

  • maintaining records and logs,

  • receiving lost property,

  • inspecting and/or testing security, safety and emergency equipment,

  • reviewing regulations, policies and/or procedures,

  • maintaining order,

  • making arrests,

  • securing evidence,

  • assisting police and emergency services; and

  • completing and filing reports.

The legal authority of a security guard

The legal authority of security guards comes from a variety of different sources.

Provincial private security licensing legislation: this legislation does not confer any special or additional legal authorities on security guard. In most cases this legislation imposes a long list of restrictions on their actions. In Ontario the provincial licensing agency is The Private Security and Investigation Services Board (PSISB) and is overseen by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Federal legislation regulating security activities in certain sectors security guards work in certain sectors of the security industry work to provide security services in particular environments may be subject to regulation as security guards under various federal statutes including:

  • the Firearms Act

  • the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act

  • the Aeronautics Act

  • the Nuclear Safety Act

  • the National Energy Board Act

The Criminal Code of Canada: under the criminal code, a security guard has the same legal authorities as any other private person. This means that security guards may have the legal authority-under circumstances-to do the following:

  • remove trespassers from the property they are protecting

  • arrest people found committing criminal offences

  • use reasonable force

  • make arrests

A security guards powers of arrest are also the same as the general public, which is known as a citizens arrest. Section 494 of the Criminal Code gives legal authority for anyone to perform an arrest under certain circumstances.

494(1) Anyone may arrest without warrant:

(a) a person whom he finds committing an indictable offence; or

(b) a person who, on reasonable grounds, he believes

(i) has committed a criminal offence, and

(ii) is escaping from and freshly pursued by persons who have lawful

authority to arrest that person.

Provincial legislation related to property rights: Many provinces have trespass-to-property legislation, which gives property owners or representatives of the property to have legal authority to remove trespassers.

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