How are Police Officers Different from Security Guards?

A Flex Point Security guard patrolling a construction site around a set of pylons

When it comes to public safety and security, many people think that security guards and police officers perform the same duties. While there is some overlap in both responsibilities, there are also significant differences between the two professions. In this blog post, we will explore how security guards are different from police officers and mention how security guards can help support the work of law enforcement.

Roles and Responsibilities of Police Officers and Security Guards

The primary responsibilities of a police officer are to enforce laws and regulations, maintain public order, and protect citizens from harm. Police offices do this by responding to emergency situations, investigating crimes, regulating traffic, controlling dangerous crowds, and making arrests when necessary. Police officers are also responsible for patrolling public spaces, issuing citations, and strengthening community relations. 

On the other hand, security guards are hired by private businesses and organizations to protect their property, assets and information. Similar to police officers, this includes conducting patrols, checking credentials, and responding to emergency calls. While security guards are not authorized to make arrests, they can detain individuals who are suspected of committing a crime until law enforcement arrives.

Police Officer Training vs Security Guard Training 

Police officers must complete extensive training and meet strict qualifications before they can become sworn law enforcement officers. This typically includes completing a police academy program, passing a background check, and meeting physical fitness requirements. In addition, police officers must undergo ongoing training to maintain their skills and stay up-to-date on new laws and regulations.

Security guards typically receive less formal training and have fewer qualifications. In Ontario, security guards must take a 40-hour training course and pass a formal exam to obtain a security licence. While it can take less time to become a security guard, there are still mandatory checkpoints one must take to be entrusted with security guard duties. 

A Flex Point Security guard standing in front of a large sign that says the word "welcome" in many languages

Police Officers Have Legal Authority, Security Guards Do Not 

The most significant difference between police officers and security guards is their legal authority. Police officers have the right to make arrests, carry firearms, and use force when necessary to protect themselves or others. In contrast, security guards do not have the legal authority to make arrests, and their use of force is limited.

However, security guards can still play a vital role in maintaining public safety and preventing crime. By acting as a visible deterrent and reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement, security guards can help prevent crimes before they occur.

How Security Guards Collaborate with Police Officers

While security guards do not have the same legal authority as police officers, they can still play an essential role in supporting law enforcement. Security guards can work closely with police officers to share information and assist in investigations. For example, security guards can provide eyewitness testimony, help identify suspects, and provide footage from security cameras.

In some cases, security guards can also be hired to provide security services for public events, such as concerts, sporting events, and parades. In these situations, security guards can help police officers manage crowds, monitor suspicious activity, and assist in emergency situations.

Police Officers and Security Guards have Different Jobs

While there are some similarities between security guards and police officers, there are significant differences between the two. As outlined, police officers are responsible for enforcing the law, while security guards are hired to protect what matters to their client. That being said, security guards play a valuable role in maintaining public safety, and police officers can depend on security guards to assist their efforts in doing so. 

If you are interested in joining our security guard team with Flex Point Security, check out our careers page. If you’d like start your security journey with us, visit our training courses at Flex Point Academy, where you can obtain your security licence in no time. For more tips and insights about the security guard business, visit our blog and make sure to leave a comment telling us what you think.