Security Services in Toronto

Use of Force

When it comes down to use of force – how much is too much? Is it necessary? Who can apply the force? And is it legal?

These are all big questions that society often finds themselves asking, especially these days where sometimes back up can take a few minutes that you may not have the luxury to spare when you’re waiting in a situation constantly elevating and evolving.

Sometimes – action is necessary to apprehend, and de-escalate a situation. While private security companies are often on hand in areas, events, or situations where something might arise, they are still not above the law and must follow the same laws as everyone else. A citizens arrest is fine if necessary and one is capable, but to fully take down – violently – and assault a person… this is taking things too far. While all eyes tend to be on the actions and reactions of police lately, don’t think for one second you can get away with jumping on someone and throwing them to the ground.

There will (almost) always be someone with a cell phone around ready and willing to capture things for the world to see. Keeping in mind that by the time they push record, they’ve missed the initial action(s). They are now catching what appears to be a typically “one-sided” battle where someone is clearly the victim. Where the so called victim shown in the frame has everyone up in arms, questioning the response of security or the police, seldom do people ask or say that it was warranted – whether it was or not. Often the thought that there might be a second side to the story is missing from the big picture and the overall discussion after the fact.

Recently in BC, an individual known to security and the police was asked to leave the premises of a mall which they were banned from. A passerby captured the post initial reaction, showing a rather violent and forceful take down by security. Three members of a private security company are shown trying to arrest the individual for “spitting on them”. The man is next heard saying he did nothing wrong.  The security company did ask for someone to call 911 and the police showed up shortly after and were able to defuse the situation very quickly and kindly.

So this begs the question – was their use of force necessary? Was it too much? Was it legal?

The situation is now under investigation by both the Police and the private security company. Presently, no charges have been laid against the individual apprehended, nor the security that took him down.

In regards to use of force overall and whether it’s legal, this can be a slightly grey area. If one is not a police officer and is acting in self defense, is it ok to use force to keep yourself and others safe? Even if they are a member of the police force – does that give them the right to play judge and jury? Depending on methods used, steps leading up to it, and right down to where you live and local laws and regulations can all play a part.

At the same time, the second you lay a finger on someone else, it is basically considered assault. In an industry so closely scrutinized by the public, security needs to make sure that every single move and reaction they have, is warranted. Especially when the person taking the video recording this great piece of evidence, has usually missed the key factor leading up to the action in the first place. If the evidence shown could always fairly tell both sides of the story, I think society would be less quick to jump on the bandwagon of negatively portraying security and the police. That being said, there always has to be a good guy and a bad guy right?

Guest Blogger Rayna Davies

Rayna Davies is a graduate and practitioner of Business Management.  She has developed an expertise in blogging, covering subjects like travel, world events and security.  Having grown up with a father who has developed an expertise in Physical Security and Executive Protection in the RCMP and two major corporations, she has personally observed and experienced many security details.  These experiences have included personally meeting HM Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and many celebrities.  She presently assists Sentinel Security in Executive Protection workshops and guest blogging and also assists Gloprosec Preventative Services in Intelligence gathering and Business Administration.  Her passions include World travel, having visited every continent.  She currently is on maternity leave and providing daily close protection for a baby and a toddler and spending time with her husband who is a Police Officer.