Power To Arrest Training Manual - Nov 2005 Edition

San Diego office of Academy Security Training

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POWER TO ARREST TRAINING MANUAL

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(Revised 11/05)

55

PART L

SEARCHING A SUSPECT UNDER THE MERCHANTíS PRIVILEGE RULE

The Merchantís Privilege Rule is found in the California Penal Code Section 490.5.

Subdivisions (f) and (g) of this statute provide legal authority for a merchant or their employee

or agent, including a security officer, to detain persons suspected of shoplifting in a retail store.

In part, the law says that:

ď(f)(1) A merchant may detain a person for a reasonable time for the purpose of

conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner whenever the merchant has probable

cause to believe the person to be detained is attempting to unlawfully take or has

unlawfully taken merchandise from the merchantís premises.

(2) In making the detention a merchant may use a reasonable amount of non-deadly force

necessary to protect himself or herself and to prevent escape of the person detained or the

loss of property.

(3) During the period of detention any items which a merchant has probable cause to

believe were unlawfully taken from the premises of the merchant and which are in plain

view may be examined by the merchant for purposes of ascertaining the ownership

thereof.

(4) A merchant or an agent thereof, having probable cause to believe the person detained

was attempting to unlawfully take or has taken any item from the premises, may request

the person detained to voluntarily surrender the item. Should the person detained refuse

to surrender the item of which there is probable cause to believe has been unlawfully

taken from the premises, or attempted to be unlawfully taken from the premises, a limited

and reasonable search may be conducted by those authorized to make the detention in

order to recover the item. Only packages, shopping bags, handbags or other property in

the immediate possession of the person detained, but not including any clothing worn by

the person, may be searched pursuant to this subdivision. Upon surrender or discovery of

the item, the person detained may also be requested, but may not be required, to provide

adequate proof of his or her true identity.Ē

The important things to remember when working for a retail merchant are:

1. That a suspected shoplifter can be detained where there is reasonable cause to believe

that the suspect has unlawfully taken or attempted to take an item from the store. This is

not an arrest, but merely a detention in order to investigate further the reasonable belief

that a theft has occurred or was attempted.

 

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Contents Page
Table of Contents

Instructor/Employer Introduction

Steps to Administering Power to Arrest

The Responsibilities of the Security Guard

Part A. Role and Responsibilities of the Security Guard

1. Areas of Responsibility

2. Prevention is the Key

3. Observe and Report

4. Get Help

Part B. Relations with the Local Police

Part C. Observation and Report Writing

Part D. Authority to Question and a Basis for Making Decisions

Part E. Inspections

Part F. Legal Responsibilities and Liabilities

Part G. Factors to Consider Before Making an Arrest

Part H. Arrestable Offenses

Part I. Private Person's Arrest

Part J. Making an Arrest

Part K. Searching the Suspect

Illustration of the Frisk

Part L. Merchant's Privilege Search

Part M. After the Arrest

Part N. Terrorism

Part O Ethics and Professional Conduct of a Security Guard

Part P. Answers to Study Questions

2-3

4-5

6-8

9-10

11-13

14-16

17

17

18

19-20

21-23

24-26

27-28

29-32

33-35

36-42

43-46

47-50

51-53

54

55-56

57-60

61-64

65-67

68-69

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