Garda Síochána Act 2005

Exercise of special powers by security officers.

131.— (1) The Minister may, by order, designate as an authorised body for the purposes of this section any of the following:

(a) the Courts Service;

(b) a Department of State;

(c) the Office of the Attorney General;

(d) the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission;

(e) the National Gallery of Ireland;

(f) the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the head of an authorised body may, in writing—

(a) specify any premises in which any activity relating to the functions of that body is carried out, and

(b) designate a person as a security officer in relation to those premises if satisfied that—

(i) the person is a suitable person to exercise the powers of a security officer under this section in relation to specified premises,

(ii) the person has received adequate training for that purpose, and

(iii) where the person is an employee of a person with whom the authorised body or its head has entered into a contract for the provision of security services (“the contractor”), the contractor is a fit and proper person to supervise the person’s exercise of those powers.

(3) A security officer may, in carrying out his or her duties in relation to specified premises, exercise any of the powers set out in subsection (4) or, if applicable, subsection (5), but only if—

(a) the security officer is identifiable as such by means of a badge or uniform, and

(b) the powers are exercised in accordance with any general or special instruction of the person by whom the security officer is designated.

(4) Subject to subsection (7), a security officer has the following powers:

(a) to search any person who is in or seeks entry to the specified premises in relation to which the officer is designated;

(b) to examine any article that is in or is being delivered to or brought into those premises;

(c) to exclude or remove from the premises any person who, without good cause—

(i) refuses to be searched, or

(ii) refuses to allow an article in his or her possession to be examined;

(d) to exclude or remove any person from the premises if it is necessary to do so—

(i) to protect a person or any property, or

(ii) to allow the business of the authorised body to proceed without interference or delay;

(e) to require any person who is in or seeks entry to the premises to identify himself or herself;

(f) to seize, in exercising powers under this section, any weapon other than one in the possession of a person with lawful authority;

(g) to seize any article that the officer has reason to believe is being unlawfully removed from the premises;

(h) to use reasonable force where necessary in exercising a power conferred under paragraph (c), (d), (f) or (g).

(5) In addition, a security officer designated under subsection (2) by the Chief Executive of the Courts Service may, in carrying out the officer’s duties in relation to specified premises all or part of which is a court, at the oral direction of a judge—

(a) remove from the court any person who commits contempt of court, or

(b) take into custody any person who commits contempt of court and deliver that person into the custody of a member of the Garda Síochána as soon as practicable.

(6) Unless the court has ordered by warrant or otherwise that a person taken into custody under subsection (5)(b) be committed to prison or be released, that person shall, before the court rises, be brought by—

(a) the security officer concerned, if still in his or her custody, or

(b) a member of the Garda Síochána, if already delivered into the custody of the Garda Síochána,

before the court for it to deal with the matter.

(7) A security officer may use reasonable force where necessary in complying with a direction under subsection (5) or carrying out a duty under subsection (6).

(8) The powers conferred on security officers under this section do not authorise a security officer to—

(a) require a person to remove clothing other than outer garments, such as coats, hats, jackets and shoes, or

(b) read any document that would be exempt from production in any proceedings in a court on the ground of legal professional privilege.

(9) Nothing in this section affects any power of arrest conferred by law, including the power conferred under section 4 of the Criminal Law Act 1997 .

(10) In this section—

“authorised body” means a body that for the time being is designated by the Minister under subsection (1);

“head of an authorised body” means—

(a) in relation to a Department of State, the Minister of the Government having charge of the Department,

(b) in relation to the Office of the Attorney General, the Attorney General, and

(c) in relation to any other authorised body, the person who holds or performs the functions of the chief executive officer (by whatever name called) of that body;

“premises” includes—

(a) any building or part of a building, and

(b) any land ancillary to a building;

“security officer” means a person who for the time being is designated by the head of an authorised body under subsection (2) as a security officer for the purpose of guarding, patrolling or providing any other protective services in relation to specified premises and persons on those premises;

“specified premises” means premises specified in accordance with subsection (2) by the head of an authorised body.