private security | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Policing

Private security in the criminal justice context refers to the security and protective services provided by private companies and individuals to protect people, property, and assets from various threats, which can supplement or replace the services provided by public law enforcement agencies.

Private security personnel may be employed by individuals, businesses, organizations, or government agencies to protect people, property, and assets from various threats, including theft, vandalism, violence, and terrorism.

Private security professionals can include security guards, private investigators, bodyguards, and other security personnel who are licensed and trained to provide protection and maintain public safety. These professionals may have the authority to detain individuals, conduct investigations, and even carry firearms, depending on the nature of their job and the jurisdiction in which they work.

While private security can be a valuable resource in maintaining public safety, it is important to note that private security personnel are not law enforcement officers and do not have the same powers and authority as police officers. Private security companies and personnel are subject to various regulations and laws that govern their conduct and operations, and they may work in collaboration with public law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety.

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Last Modified: 03/13/2023


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