Private Security and the Law, Fourth Edition

By Charles P. Nemeth; Reviewed by Mark Beaudry, CPP

***** Private Security and the Law, Fourth Edition. By Charles P. Nemeth. Butterworth-Heinemann. Available from ASIS,, item #1988; 640 pages; $70 (ASIS member), $77 (nonmember).

At first glance, one might assume from the title that this is just another boring book on law. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this provocative book, the author covers a wide spectrum of topics regarding private security law. The book excels primarily because the author continually emphasizes the overarching business imperatives while considering the applicable liabilities. The work combines useful abstract legal cases with considerable discussions of real liabilities and solutions.

The book begins with a brief but useful history of private security from the Middle Ages through the coming of age of private security as a profession and into contemporary private security. The next sections offer a thorough treatment of the nexus of regulation, licensing, education, and training in the security industry, as well as an overview of the laws of arrest, search, and seizure as applied to the private-security practitioner. Some of this may be a review for the seasoned security professional; however, it is concise and complete enough to hold the attention of everyone interested in security.

The author methodically introduces the reader to the world of civil liability, beginning with the conceptual basis for crimes and torts and how these may be characterized in a variety of business examples; he then moves on to criminal liability. This extremely useful chapter provides an excellent tool for understanding the components of any practical self-protection, use-of-force, or defense of property scenario and their various relationships to existing legal cases.

Later sections discuss evidence, public-private cooperation, and selected cases that have set precedents for private security. Security trainers and educators will find this text a welcome addition to their instructional toolkit for private security law. The book is essential for the reference library of every security professional. The information provided is critical to security managers, particularly if they are responsible for premises liability. This book was a pleasant surprise—the best, most comprehensive insight into private security law to date.

Reviewer: Mark Beaudry, CPP, Ph.D., is a member of ASIS International and the ASIS Crime and Loss Prevention Council.



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