Even though we all benefit from the services of a guard every now and then, not a lot of us know much about what a security guard can and cannot do (according to the law). Our team at MP Security discusses some common security activities and whether or not a security guard can do them.


Using physical restraint is not allowed for a security guard in most cases. However, if a situation absolutely calls for it, then reasonable force may be used.


The law allows all citizens to make a citizen arrest on valid grounds, and thus, in that capacity, a security guard can make an arrest. However, as far as a proper custodial arrest is concerned, only a police officer can make one.

Some grounds on which a citizen’s arrest can be made include but are not limited to: stopping a crime, preventing a criminal from fleeing, and stopping an act of self-harm.


The law allows security guards to detain you under special circumstances. However, hostile or forceful detainment is not permitted by the law.

Physical Search

A security guard is not allowed to conduct a physical search of your body or belongings without due consent. Even with valid grounds of suspicion, a security guard cannot forcefully search you. They can, however, detain you and call the police, who can then perform an authorized search.


While security guards in Houston are allowed to touch you, it must be within reason. If a guard is touching you to perform a physical search, make a citizen’s arrest or escort you out of a private property, then it is allowed. As mentioned previously, the use of reasonable force is also allowed.

Escorting Off Property

If there is a viable reason, a security guard can physically escort you off of the private property. Use of necessary force within justifiable limits is also allowed in such circumstances.

Use of Handcuffs

A licensed and trained security guard can legally use handcuffs to make a citizen’s arrest on a hostile person under valid grounds of suspicion.

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