What does an Unarmed Guard do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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An unarmed guard provides security services in low-risk venues where the primary concern is controlling access, rather than providing protection. In the event of a threat or security problem, unarmed guards can call for backup from law enforcement or armed guards to address the problem. In most regions, people are required to take a short course and apply for a license to work as unarmed guards. Employers may pay for unarmed guard training, or people can pursue training independently and apply for jobs after they are certified.

Unarmed guards do not carry weapons, although they are trained in basic restraint techniques and the use of force in case they need to be able to temporarily restrain someone. They may be stationed at a guard post or they may patrol on foot or in a vehicle, depending on the facility. Depending on the facility, they may be the primary source of security, or they may work in tandem with armed guards and automated security systems.

A classic use for an unarmed guard is as a gatekeeper. When people attempt to enter a facility, the guard stops them, checks identification, and determines why they want to enter. The unarmed guard may also be authorized to conduct searches of both people and vehicles before allowing them to pass through. Unarmed guards can also act as security patrols, looking for anything unusual or abnormal that might indicate a problem.


Museums use unarmed guards to protect works of art, stationing guards near pieces of particular concern. The guard instructs people to stand clear of the piece and acts as a deterrent to people considering theft or vandalism. Typically, such guards can activate security systems if necessary, in addition to hitting panic buttons to summon armed guards in the event that a security situation escalates. Including unarmed guards in a security plan for museums and galleries is less intimidating for patrons, in addition to less costly for the museum.

An unarmed guard may also work accompanying individuals or valuable possessions during travel and other activities. There may be situations where the presence of a guard is necessary, but risks are low, and there is no need to station an armed guard. Unarmed guards can provide personal security as part of a larger security detail as well. They may be stationed on the outer perimeter, with armed guards on the inside in the event that someone gets through. Unarmed guards are also commonly used as security monitors stationed in facilities where cameras and other remote monitoring systems are used, calling for help if a break-in or similar security threat is identified.


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