Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A Serjeant at Arms (also spelt Sergeant at Arms, and sometimes Serjeant-at-Arms) is an officer appointed by a deliberative body, usually a legislature, to keep order during its meetings. The word serjeant is derived from the Latin serviens, which means "servant."
The office originated in Medieval England; the original responsibilities of the Serjeant at Arms included "collecting loans and, impressing men and ships, serving on local administration and in all sorts of ways interfering with local administration and justice."  Circa 1415, the British House of Commons appointed its first Serjeant at Arms.
The formal role of a Serjeant at Arms is to keep order during meetings, and, if necessary, forcibly remove any members who are overly rowdy or disruptive. A Serjeant at Arms may thus be a retired soldier, police officer, or other official with experience in security efforts. In recent times, however, the positions have often gotten quite ceremonial, with actual competence in the job not necessarily being a primary requirement.
In the United Kingdom, the Serjeant at Arms serves the Speaker of the House of Commons as well as the whole house. He is responsible for maintaining security, law and order within the precincts of Parliament. The Serjeant at Arms' symbol of office is the ceremonial mace, which functions as a symbol of the Royal authority under which the House of Commons sits. Traditionally, the Serjeant at Arms carries the Mace into the House each day as he leads the Speaker's Procession. No parliament may proceed until the mace is set in its place.
In the British Commonwealth
In the United States
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