Canadian Security Magazine

Proposed new law examines security guard powers

By The Canadian Press   

News Public Sector

MPs on the Commons justice committee have been told that private security guards outnumber police at least two-to-one in this country and the ratio is only going to increase.

The president of the Association of Professional Security Agencies says a proposed new law to clarify citizen’s arrests and defence of property is very timely in light of the booming, private security business.

The Conservative legislation expands and simplifies the concept of reasonable force, and gives private citizens — including their paid security guards — more time to grab a suspect after witnessing a crime.

Private security advocate Ross McLeod told MPs he’d like to see the law go even further and give security guards the power to lay minor charges for crimes such as public disorder and shoplifting.

But Tom Stamatakis, president of a national group that represents front-line police officers, warned MPs against any Criminal Code changes that broaden the mandate of private security.

Changes to the law were sparked in part by the high-profile case of a Toronto grocer who was charged in 2009 after collaring a shoplifter and locking him in a van until police arrived.

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