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NSW Australian Law on Security Guards Searching a Person?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Dave12319, 14 August 2016.

  1. Dave12319

    Dave12319 Active Member

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    Hey,

    I'm a security guard who recently did certificate two and three in security to get my licence. During the course, I was taught that the only two times security can search a person or their belongings is if they have the person's consent or after an arrest and they believe the person is armed.

    However, I was never told what law actually states that these are the only two times a security guard can search someone. I have tried searching the web and the crimes act 1958, yet I have not been able to find anything relating to this topic.

    If someone could tell me what act and section under Australian Law covers this, it would be really appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Security guards have no more powers than the ordinary person.
    (I hope they taught you that!)
    That's why there are no powers to search a person in the Security Industry Act 1997.

    You might, at a pinch, and if the facts and evidence supported you,
    find a defence to a charge of common assault (or to a civil battery) in Part 4 Division 4 of LEPRA.

    It is important to remember, however, that the phrase "...and any property found on the person"
    in s100(2) of LEPRA does not amount to a power to search.

    And if you don't know what LEPRA is, then you'd better ask for your money back.
     
  3. Dave12319

    Dave12319 Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Yes, I was taught that they have no more powers than an ordinary citizen except for the fact that they can eject a person from enclosed lands that they are employed to protect which is the case for anyone who is an owner, occupier or agent for the owner of the property as far as I know.

    I work at Woolworths mostly stacking shelves at night but part of their policies state that all bags over an A4 size have to be checked on exit. I told my manager that I can only ask people if they will allow me to check bags and if they say no that's all I can do, she said it's a company policy and as there's a sign at the front stating that it's a condition of entry then customers must accept it if they come into the store.

    From what I've been taught, you cannot have a condition of entry on exit, and if someone refuses to comply with a condition of entry then you ask them to leave the premises. So now they will no longer allow me to work out the front. After talking to my manager that night I tried to find the law that backs up what I was taught during my security training but even though I've searched quite a few commonwealth and state acts I have not been able to find anything that specifically relates to that area.

    Other than the fact that forcing someone to comply with a company policy would be assault and trying to detain them when they have committed no crime would be unlawful arrest, I cannot find any particular law that relates to this subject.
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Security guards are basically acting as the agent of the landholder.
    They are exercising the owner's/ occupant's rights - not powers in the way a constable does.

    As to Woolies and their conditions of entry, when you think about it,
    if a person refuses to show their bag, then all you can do is ask them to leave,
    which is what they are probably doing anyway.
    You might also deny them future entry ("ban them"),
    but that is exactly as impractical as you'd think.
     
    Victoria S likes this.
  5. Dave12319

    Dave12319 Active Member

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    Yeah that's what I thought. These people just seem to have no idea what they're doing, I'm surprised they haven't had a law suit against them yet.
    But as far as you know there is no specific law that relates to this subject?
     
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    To what exactly?
     
  7. Dave12319

    Dave12319 Active Member

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    Searching customers bags whether it be by security or ordinary staff.
     
  8. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    As a matter of law, security are "ordinary staff".

    Part of where confusion can arise is that
    the language on those notices is so carefully worded
    that it can be hard for ordinary people to understand.

    There's no law about searching bags as distinct from, say searching pockets.
     
  9. Dave12319

    Dave12319 Active Member

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    Ok thank you very much for your time.
     

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