Thursday, June 28, 2018

One thing I don't understand about security guards

Question: Are these police officers?


The title of this post may have spoiled the answer: No, they aren't police officers. They are private security guards.

But it would be quite understandable for anybody, especially a random person on the street, to confuse them for actual police officers. (And these were just three random samples I took from literally hundreds of examples on YouTube.)

Some of the uniforms worn by some of these security guards have an uncanny resemblance to an official police uniform. (The one on the left of the picture might be the most prominent and striking example.)

Security guards may have some additional rights and authority granted to them by the government when they are acting within the premises of the private property of the company, entity or individual that's hiring them. However, it is my understanding that outside this particular private property they have no additional rights or authority over other people whatsoever. In a public space, outside these private properties, they are just regular private citizens like anybody else.

All of the above examples, which is just a sample of the literally hundreds of examples you can find eg. on YouTube, are of private security guards exiting the private property they are guarding, and going to a public space to question, and often intimidate, the person who is filming. Almost invariably they ask for ID (which a private citizen has no authority to demand of another private citizen), and to stop filming and leave the premises (which likewise they have no authority to demand, when the person filming is in a public space.)

But the average person will not know that. The average person will be intimidated by someone wearing what looks like a pretty official police uniform of some kind, and fully believe that the guard has some kind of official authority. Yet, for all intents and purposes, that uniform, including all the badges and whatnot, is exactly as valid and official as a Halloween costume.

Impersonating a police officer is strictly illegal pretty much everywhere. Yet, somehow, these private security guards are getting away with it, at least implicitly so (sometimes even explicitly, by explicitly claiming that they are law enforcement, when in fact they aren't.)

I really have to wonder why they are allowed to wear uniforms and badges that can be so easily confused with official law enforcement police attire.

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