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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

Understanding the Rights of the Public: A Guide for Security Officers


In the labyrinth of modern society, security officers stand as guardians, navigating the fine line between ensuring safety and upholding the rights of the public. The duty of a security officer is not just to protect property and maintain order, but to act as a beacon of trust and a symbol of assurance to the community they serve.

The role of the security officer has evolved over the years. No longer just a sentinel at the gate, today's security personnel are trained professionals skilled in conflict resolution, communication, and understanding the psychology of human behaviour. Having trained over 650 security personnel, I have observed a recurring theme: the best security officers are those who understand and respect the rights of the public.

In the age of technology, the right to privacy has never been more paramount. Security officers often find themselves in situations where they must balance the need for surveillance with the individual's right to privacy. It's a delicate dance, reminiscent of the ancient Tai Chi masters who moved with grace and purpose, ensuring every action was measured and justified.

For instance, while video surveillance is a powerful tool for deterrence and evidence collection, it should never intrude into private spaces without a valid reason. The same applies to searches and personal data collection. Just as one wouldn’t enter a stranger’s home without an invitation, security personnel should avoid prying into personal matters without just cause.

Public spaces are, by definition, for the public. Everyone has the right to move freely and assemble peacefully. Security officers should be wary of overstepping their bounds, even when faced with large crowds or potential disturbances. It's essential to remember that every individual in that crowd has rights, dreams, and a story. Instead of seeing a faceless mob, envision a gathering of fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, each with their own unique narrative.

When managing crowds or controlling access, security personnel should act with fairness, impartiality, and respect. The goal is to facilitate, not hinder. By understanding and empathizing with the public's perspective, security officers can ensure safety without trampling on rights.

In a diverse society, differing opinions and expressions are inevitable. Security officers may encounter individuals expressing their views, sometimes passionately. It's crucial to differentiate between peaceful expression and actual threats. Just as a parent listens to a child's tantrum, understanding its root cause, security personnel should approach such situations with patience and discernment.


While it's essential to maintain order, it's equally important to ensure that individuals feel heard and respected. Silencing voices, even if they seem disruptive, can lead to greater unrest and mistrust in the long run.

Every individual, regardless of their actions, has the right to due process. Security officers, while they might detain individuals for valid reasons, must remember that they are not the judge or jury. It's imperative to treat every individual with dignity, ensuring they understand their rights and the reasons for any actions taken against them.

The ultimate goal of security personnel is not just to guard but also to build bridges of trust with the community. By understanding and respecting the rights of the public, security officers can foster a sense of mutual respect and cooperation. It's about creating an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and heard.

In my years of training security personnel, I've often stressed the importance of continuous learning and introspection. Just as the mythical hero embarks on a journey of self-discovery, so too should every security officer. By understanding oneself, one can better understand others.

The role of the security officer is multifaceted. It's not just about enforcing rules but also about understanding the human stories behind every interaction. By respecting the rights of the public, security officers can ensure a harmonious coexistence where safety and freedom go hand in hand. From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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