When you see a security guard in the mall, a bank or a crowded area, you may not think who hired him, essentially if the guard is from the public or private security sector. However, the difference may have more impact than you think.
Police officers, deputies and detectives are employees of the public security sector. Their jobs are to ensure that society is as free as possible of crimes. They can do everything from making a fine to working at a crime scene. They can make arrests and use force when necessary. The training and education necessary to become an employee of the public safety sector are highly regulated. To be a police officer, several rigorous exams are required, completed in a police academy program and an extensive background check, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is encouraged. The police force is financed with government money, so the police officers are ultimately responsible to society.
The private security sector is made up of guards who are hired by companies, organizations or citizens to take care of their businesses, neighborhoods, shopping centers, workplaces and apartment buildings, and sometimes to break strikes. Security guards from the private sector are hired to protect assets, including people, property and information. A citizen is more likely to encounter a private security guard every day than the public. Private security guards are limited by law to observe, report and discourage crime. They are not authorized to use force to make arrests. Since private sector security officers are not financed with government money, they are not responsible to society but to those who pay them.
There are many benefits in both the public and private security sector, but the fact that both exist in our society, giving us a “double police”, is a benefit in itself. The security of the private sector was created because that of the public sector can not be everywhere at the same time. Private security guards help public officials make society a safer place by providing more comprehensive crime control.
Security guards in both the public and private sectors run the risk of unnecessary use of force. However, because private sector guards often work closely with their employers, some wonder where their interests lie. The private security sector is not regulated. No minimum training or education is required. However, most private security officers carry weapons, which is of concern to citizens as there is a possibility that the guard is poorly trained, inadequately protected and poorly paid. Many private security guards are hired by the rich and famous for their personal protection. Therefore, the guard’s only duty is to protect that person. This is why things like the use of drugs at parties are not informed, although the security officers are present. Many people think that this is not ethical.
There are conflicts between the public and private security sectors. Currently, the officials of the private security sector outnumber those in the public sector. This is because federal funding is decreasing, so municipalities are hiring private sector officials to do jobs that would normally be done by public officials, such as parking lot security or prisoner transport. Defenders of the public security sector believe that fear-seekers and right-wing privatization enthusiasts contribute to success in the private security sector.