Home Security What Is Reasonable Force & How Does It Affect Your Work In Security
What Is Reasonable Force & How Does It Affect Your Work In Security

What Is Reasonable Force & How Does It Affect Your Work In Security


Security work is about keeping the public safe, in some circumstances that can involve security guards containing aggressive or violent situations. In today’s world of increasing litigation coping with these situations can be a grey area. As such, the training required to receive your SIA door supervisor licence includes physical intervention training along with conflict management.

An Understanding Of Reasonable Force Is Important For You To Do Your Job

The question of what is and what is not reasonable is an important one to know the answer to. By law, SEC.3 Criminal Law Act 1967 states that you can

“use as much force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large”.

What does this mean for the door supervisor managing a scuffle—or restraining a shoplifter? 

✅ You can protect yourself

✅ You can intervene to prevent someone from being hurt

As part of your SIA licence training, you will learn decision-making processes. These will help you decide what you can and cannot do in a potentially harmful situation—harmful meaning to you or another member of the public, including the aggressor. 

As licensed security personnel, your training involves how to handle the adrenaline and stress caused by the situation and not overreact. So if questioned, your use of force is justifiable. For example – physically ejecting a trouble maker from a club is ok. Continuing to do so once they are outside is not. To continue to use force would make you the one guilty of assault.

In What Circumstances Could You Use Reasonable Force?

Prevention of crime  – if you suspect a crime will happen or is happening. You can use reasonable force in a preventative way to stop the criminal action against damage or theft to property. Plus, you can use reasonable force to prevent someone from being physically hurt, including yourself.

Criminal action – this part of the law allows you to use reasonable force when a crime is being committed. For example, in the case of an assault or criminal damage, you can arrest someone—holding them until the police arrive.

Using Reasonable Force

The act does not clearly define what is reasonable force. Only stating that it is a force used that fits that particular set of circumstances and does not include overuse of force.

Punching someone who is verbally abusing you is not using reasonable force. However, stopping someone from punching you, could involve using a degree of force. The level you take physical action is assessed 

✅ On the circumstances of that situation 

✅ Your experience, 

✅ The reasonable force used 

✅ The size and experience of the attacker

✅ Resulting injuries

As a door supervisor, your SIA training involves a decision-making process. The policy framework, The National Decision Model, is part of the training security officers learns to use before taking any action, including physical intervention.

Going Forward

Not all security work entails dealing with potentially threatening situations, but it can be. Taking the relevant training is essential in keeping you safe while you are doing your job. 

From April 2021, the SIA Door Supervisor Licence is a 6-day course and equips you with the skills necessary to be successful and safe in a security career. 

Get Licensed is with you all the way, with free mock exams to prepare you, even a course sample lesson. It’s time to get the right tools and knowledge to make security your career. Let us at Get Licensed help you with that.



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