Security Guards can

  • Kick you out of private property
  • Refuse you entry
  • Perform a citizen’s arrest

Security Guards can’t

  • Search you without your consent
  • Use unnecessary force
  • Say racist or abusive things
  • Do anything a normal citizen can’t

On this page

About Security Guards

What do they look like?

  • They usually wear a uniform
  • They will usually have a company name displayed

Where are they?

  • The property of their employer

What do they carry?

  • Can carry guns, if they have a licence

Kicking you out, or refusing you entry

When can security guards kick me out?

Security guards can kick you out of any private property they are employed to protect. They usually don’t need a reason.

If a security guard wants you to leave, then you should remain calm and exit the property.

If you refuse to leave, they can use force to remove you.

When can they refuse me entry?

They can refuse you entry for any reason. If you think they are unfairly discriminating against you for reasons such as your age, race, religion, gender, sexuality or disability then you should get legal advice about making a complaint.

Can they use force?

If you refuse to leave private property then security guards are allowed to use force to remove you. They can only use a reasonable amount of force. That means they can only use as much force as is necessary to remove you. If you resist or fight back, then they are allowed to use more force against you.


Can they search me?

Security guards are not allowed to search you without your consent, but if you refuse they may ask you to leave or refuse you entry.


Can security guards arrest me?

Unlike police, PSOs and Authorised Officers, security guards don’t have any special powers to arrest you. They can, like any regular person, perform a citizen’s arrest.

When can security guards perform a ‘citizens arrest’?

Security guards, like anyone, can perform a citizen’s arrest if they have caught you committing a crime like shop-lifting or assault. They must catch you in the act of committing the crime and they can’t arrest you just because they suspect you’ve committed a crime. They are allowed to hold you until police arrive and they can use as much force as is necessary until then.

What if I have left the premises?

Security guards do not have any special powers outside the private property they are employed to protect. That means they are not allowed to use force against you if you have already left the property, unless they have seen you commit a crime and they perform a ‘citizens arrest’ to hold you until police get there.

Making a complaint

If you think you’ve been assaulted or discriminated against by a security guard, then you should get legal advice.

If your complaint is about something less serious or you’d rather not take legal action, you should complain to the venue or the company they work for. You could also lodge a complaint with an industry association like the Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL) or the Licensing Service Division of Victoria Police (ph: 1300 651 645).