How to conduct a protective search in Security?

protective search

Basic security guard training Unit 4 Lesson (B)

Security guards carry out a protective search on their site if the site policy is required. The protective search conducts in two situations;

  1. Search for the weapon and evidence after detaining the person.
  2. search the employees, visitors, vendors, and the public as well as their belongings when entering and exiting the premises.
There are four reasons for the search;
  • To keep essential things in
  • To keep potential problems out
  • To control access to an area
  • To know what is in a specific area

Your client hires you for keeping himself and his property safe from any problems. So, the security guards apply the access control policy for all people who want to enter the site.

A search is also part of the access control which allows only authorized people, vehicles, and material in and out of the site.

The protective search procedure may include in your post order if not, you should suggest the client and your supervisor.

Sometimes your client can be suspicious that the employees may steal the goods from the company.

For that reason, you may be asked to search for the employees’ bags and other belongings while leaving the company.

What things need to search on the site?
  1. Dangerous items
  2. stolen items
  3. prohibited items

The search can contemplate finding the above items either people in or out of the company.

If the people come in with dangerous items such as a weapon or other tools that can use a weapon. They may have the intention to hurt or injure someone already inside the premises.

Search for prohibited items for instance drugs, marijuana, and other items which are not allowed to carry with them.

Any goods stolen from the company also need to conduct a protective search.

Providing security permission you may require to search the people, packages, and vehicles in different kinds of investigation which are;

  1. Visual search ( search through your eyes)
  2. A request search ( you made a request for a search)
  3. Agreed search (someone came to you and asked for a search)
When do you search for a vehicle?
  1. Required by your post order
  2. When vehicles enter the site (to search for weapons/equipment)
  3. While vehicles are out from your site (to avoid theft)
Vehicle search tools;

You have to use the different types of equipment to search for a vehicle that is available on your worksite. But, here are the general tools that, you may utilize on searching for a vehicle in many places.

  1. Your eyes
  2. Flashlights
  3. X-ray
  4. mirror
  5. dog
When to search for people or packages?
  1. Required by your site order
  2. When a person enters an area and is carrying something that could conceal (hide)
  3. If a person leaves a high-security area
  4. When a person enters an area could be carrying something dangerous.

Remember, the most important tool for any kind of search is your EYES.

Tools to use search for persons or packages;
  1. Eyes
  2. Metal detector
  3. X-ray
  4. Hand search

When you conduct the protective search you shouldn’t do your own because it can be a violation of the person’s rights and you have to do hard to prove it in court.

When some people do not agree with you about searching for them or their personal belonging.

In that situation, you shouldn’t force them to do so, because you don’t have a right to compel someone for help. Explain to them why it is needed. and what you are going to search for.

In the first place, try to gain co-operation. Still, they don’t allow you then inform the supervisor or the client representative.


  • Be polite and speak with authority: Talk to people first, don’t just take their bag from them and begin searching. Remember that your job does not be afraid to speak to someone.
  • Ask for Cooperation: Ask “do you mind if I search your bag?” rather than telling them they have to be.
  • Tell people why: People always want to know why?. You should tell them valid reason before they ask (company policy/special instruction by your client)
  • Find something prohibited: Don’t accuse people, be polite in telling someone that an item cannot be brought in.
  • Thank people for their cooperation
What personal property do you store for security purposes:
  1. Storing shopping bags: (in a retail shop): in order to prevent theft
  2. mobile phone: In the high-security area (provide a safe facility to keep)
  3. storing vehicles: park the vehicle in a secured area
  4. Storing identification: keep personal and return them when they are out.
  • Searching is part of the role of providing protection
  • There are 4 main reasons to conduct a protective search
  • Searches are conducted for items that are dangerous, stolen, or prohibited
  • The vehicle is generally searched as required by site orders, when they enter a site, and when they leave a site
  • People and packages are generally searched as required by site orders.
  • People can carry something with them a stolen item when they leave a high-security area, and when they enter your duty place can bring something dangerous.
  • Know how to use search equipment available at your worksite
  • A person should only be searched as required by your site orders
  • If a person must be searched, it should only be done by someone of the same gender male-male or female-female
  • Always try and gain cooperation when conducting a protective search
  • You may be required to check identification at the same time as conducting a protective search
  • If you store personal property as a result of a protective investigation, always provide someone with a receipt for their property.
Complete course 30 lessonsĀ 

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