You Tube is best known for viewing music videos, dorm room antics and the ramblings of videobloggers, but in one small corner of the YouTube universe the camera has been focused on security, exposing one of the biggest concerns in private security today. It’s doing so just as the province of Ontario attempts to figure out what guard uniforms should look like and what training standards should be for the industry, specifically around the use of force.
A three minute and nine second video captured by an onlooker
outside an LCBO store in Toronto shows two plain-clothes loss
prevention officers wrestling with a suspected shoplifter outside the
store in a shopping concourse.
The now infamous footage was
caught on a camera phone last fall, just as everyone in Ontario was
questioning why the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional
Services was taking so long to finalize the training regulations for
In the beginning, the video shows one of the two
guards pummeling the man with his fist. Then a pedestrian carrying a
bag with what appears to be a few liquor bottles in it approaches the
scene. The officers seemed oblivious to his presence even though he is
standing a couple of inches behind them. What if he decided to swing
that bag of bottles? Another individual also gets in on the action,
attempting to assist the guards in controlling the culprit by stepping
on the man’s feet as the officers wrestle to control him on the ground.
at the scene watched and shouted “Why are you punching him?”; “I don’t
see any badges” and “Why don’t you read him his rights?”
two security officers don’t repeatedly identify themselves as security.
They don’t try to use persuasive communication techniques with the
individual they are dealing with. Once or twice they suggest the
individual “stop resisting” and “put your hands behind your back” but
it was primarily a physical struggle that ended in handcuffing.
you haven’t seen the video, I’m willing to bet the video will be part
of many PowerPoint presentations related to security training — not so
much for what it demonstrates as a good practice, but what it says
about what the individuals in the video failed to do or could have done
differently. The LCBO has since changed it’s policy from using plain
clothes to uniformed contract security.
What’s so eerie and sad
about this video clip is that it comes seven years after the death of
Patrick Shand and two years after a coroner’s jury recommended the
province address training and uniforms for private security. A similar
crowd gathered at an Agincourt, Ont. mall in 1999 as Shand, who was
caught shoplifting baby formula, was held down by two Loblaws employees
and a security guard. While the individual in the LCBO incident did not
die, one has to wonder if clear use of force standards will ever be set.