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Security guards in the United Kingdom are employed to protect property, assets and, in less-frequent cases, people. They can either be hired privately or publicly, depending primarily on the nature of what they are protecting.
Contrary to popular belief, security guard does not necessary mean bodyguard. There are of course bodyguards but they will have either a long history of working as a security guard at the highest level or will often be ex-military.
In the United Kingdom security guards are predominantly used as a deterrent. Their motto is to “detect, deter, observe and report”. In most cases security guards are told not to intervene in the interest of their own personal safety and that of those around them.
Security guards often protect buildings, particularly offices and warehouses that are empty at night. One of the main reasons an employer has them is to justify insurance.
Most security guards are ‘in-house’ meaning that they are employed by the company that they protect. There are also ‘contract’ security guards (for example used by celebrities) or ‘public’ security guards (for example park wardens.)
In the United Kingdom it is illegal for a security guard to be armed.