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.

Private security services have seen strong growth since the 1980s. 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. Guards and security stewards now perform tasks that were previously handled by the authorities.

Companies offering private security services must have a licence. The Licence Administration Unit of 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 the guarded 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 use force when exercising their powers.

Security stewards have more powers than guards. These powers depend on the area in which the security steward is operating.