Increased use of guards and security stewards

The private security sector covers guarding services, security steward services, security system installation services and security check services. Locksmiths and installers of burglar alarms are examples of security system installers.

The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for preparing legislation on the private security sector. However, there are also provisions on security checks in legislation that is the responsibility of several other ministries.

Private security services have become more prominent in recent decades. The status, tasks and development of the industry have been influenced by demographic changes, technological development, the resources available to the security authorities, changes in crime, and international legislation. The industry currently offers a wider range of highly specialised services.

A licence is required for a significant number of private security sector activities.

  • The National Police Board grants and cancels key licences for those engaged in private security services. It also supervises and guides the private security sector at national level.
  • Upon request, the police department grants permits for guards, temporary guards, security system installers and security stewards.

Powers determined by legislation

Guards protect property, secure the personal integrity of individuals and expose crime targeting protected premises or a client. Security stewards maintain public order and security and prevent crime in a protected area. In Finland, security stewards can only work on premises where so permitted under legislation.

The powers of guards are laid down in the Private Security Services Act. Such powers are exercised in the performance of guarding assignments. Under law, a guard has the right to remove a person from a guarded location or prevent a person from entering a location, apprehend an offender and perform a security search to ensure that apprehended persons do not have items or substances that pose a danger to themselves or others. Under certain conditions, guards may also use force when exercising their powers.

The powers of security stewards are also laid down in the Private Security Services Act. Their powers differ to some extent from the powers of guards. These powers also depend on the area that the security steward is responsible for as provided by law. For example, security stewards may have powers related to preventing entry into a location, removing a person from a location, apprehending a person and performing a security search as well as the right to use force under conditions laid down by law.