Use of Force in Security

Seattle Police Use of Force to calm a riot.

Seattle Police using force to calm a riot.

With the growing number of Use of Force incidents between police and citizens, one would wonder how these confrontations play out between citizens and private security officers.  I can assure you that these confrontations are more common than you think. Security officers risk confrontations with citizens at a much higher rate for two reasons.  First, security officers in the United States outnumber police by more than 3 to 1, making it much more likely for them to interact with people.  Secondly, security officers face more physical confrontations when challenging people on security issues because people disregard them as authoritative figures.   The high probability of use of force incidents for security officers highlights the need for regular “Use of Force” training.

Upfront security training cost can be overwhelming for many small security companies, so some skip it altogether and pray for the best.  However injuries, lawsuits and even death are a very real part of the security profession. The cost in legal fees, court awards, settlements and public relations for even the smallest security incident can be astronomical. And the best remedy is a well written “Use of Force” policy and training program to mitigate damages and protect all parties involved.

What you should know about the Use of Force 

Experts agree that there is no single definition for the use of force.  “Use of Force” is best described by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as “the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” Experts also agree that the force used should be the “minimum amount” of force necessary to get the subject to comply.

Security officers are sometimes strapped to the teeth with weapons and equipment. However, throughout my 30 years of law enforcement and security management I have learned that the most reliable and effective weapon a security officer can have is between his/her 2 ears.  Therefore, I recommend that security officers learn to rely on all their natural senses (ears, eyes, and nose) when responding to potentially volatile situations. Those senses have saved my life a million times and when used correctly can save your life and the lives of others as well.

When approaching a suspicious suspect security officers should first use their sense of vision, being sure to watch the suspects’ actions, movements and hands. Officers should use their sense of smell to detect the possible use of chemicals, drugs or alcohol and should be listening to what the suspect is saying or what others may be saying about him/her. Using your senses, experience and intuition can give vital clues of what a person may be thinking, if they may be influenced by some type of drugs, their mind state and if they may be armed.  Once officers can diagnose the scene to his/her satisfaction, I recommend approaching in manner and direction that offers them the greatest protection.

The 5 standard best practices for “Use of Force” consist of the following

  1. Officer Presence — Is the very first level in the Use of Force continuum.  No force is used and is considered the best way to resolve a situation. I regularly share with my security officers the importance of presence.  Not in a sense of just showing up but more on how they show up. A professional presence does a lot in situations that demand control.  I believe that taking pride in your uniform and appearance is key.  A confident, well-groomed officer with a neat uniform and shined shoes often does the trick. We’ve all have seen the officer on the opposite end of the spectrum. We also know that that no one is going to take a security officer serious, if he/she doesn’t take themselves serious. With officer presence:
  • The mere presence of a officer works to deter crime or diffuse a situation.
  • Officers’ attitudes should be professional and nonthreatening.

2. Verbalization — I was once told that words were magic. Saying the right thing at the right time and in the right manner can talk a man off of a building and saying the wrong thing can make him jump. With verbalization, the security officer must use judgement and empathy.  A good way to calm an angry subject is with a simple greeting that explains your purpose for the encounter. For example, “Hello sir or ma’am. I am officer “John Black” (or whatever your name is), I am responding to a call to investigate… (Whatever you got called for). Done professionally this often calms many angry people down. The use of empathy here goes a long way.  The alternative method is bound to cause you some problems. For example, “Sir, we’ve received 15 calls regarding you, what seems to be your problem?”  If the ingredients are right whatever his problem was, will now more than likely be your problem too.  Remember, tact and judgement is always best, your verbalization should progress according to the situation.  Many situations will call for firm authoritative verbal commands from the beginning. Never be afraid to be forceful and assertive when you have to.  According to the Use of Force Continuum the following should occur when using verbalization:

  • Issue calm, nonthreatening commands, such as “Hello sir, May I see your identification and registration
  • Officers may increase their volume and shorten commands in an attempt to gain compliance.
  • Short commands might include “Stop,” or “Don’t move.”

3. Empty-Hand Control — This is the third level of  “Use of Force” in the continuum. If you find yourself here, the first 2 steps may have not worked out as you planned but good officers are always well prepared and well trained. At this level security officers use bodily force to gain control of a situation. There are 2 techniques that gives officers the advantage and I highly recommend their use.

    • Soft technique. Officers use grabs, holds and joint locks to restrain an individual. It should be noted that Chokeholds of any kind should be avoided at all cost. Unless of course your life is in jeopardy, then lethal force including a chokehold would be authorized. However, I caution you that should the suspect die as a result of  your use of a chokehold you or your witnesses must be able to clearly articulate that your life was in imminent danger. Failure to do so may end you up in jail for a long time.
    • Hard technique. Officers use punches and kicks to restrain an individual.

4. Less-Lethal Methods — This level of force is necessary when the first 3 didn’t do the trick.  Officers must be ready to go the next level to protect themselves and others from imminent bodily harm or death.  Officers may use less-lethal technologies to gain control of a situation. A few of the standard less lethal weapons are listed below:

  • Blunt impact. Officers may use a baton or projectile to immobilize a combative person.
  • Chemical. Officers may use chemical sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals to restrain an individual (e.g., pepper spray). Remember to NEVER use OC spray inside of a closed building and be prepared to provide 1st aid after its use.
  • Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). Officers may use CEDs to immobilize an individual. CEDs discharge a high-voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance. (See Deciding When and How to Use Less-Lethal Devices. )

5. Lethal Force — The last level of use of force involves the use of lethal weapons (firearms) to gain control of a situation. Lethal force should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual.

    • The national accepted law is – lethal force may be used to protect yourself or another from death or imminent serious bodily injury.
    • Officers don’t have to meet force on force (i.e a person has a baseball, a baton isn’t the appropriate weapon). In such an instance it would be much better to first to create some distance between you and the threat, seek cover and scale to your firearm to defend yourself.  The determination if lethal force will be used then depends on the action of the suspect.
    • When using the lethal force officers should remember to aim at center mass of the body, be sure of your target and what’s beyond and be prepared to give medical attention after such force is used.

It should be noted that Use of force does not have to start on the 1st level or progress through every step of the continuum.  Many use of force incidents are split second life or death decisions. Officers must be able to gauge the severity of each situation and apply the level of force in the continuum either comparable to the suspects actions and demeanor or one higher.  Officers can also de-escalate the use of force scale by utilizing negotiating skills (verbal judo).  There is no magic formula for security officers but the key is to be reasonable in  the decision making if the force is to be just.

That’s all I have until next time.  Look for more informative and exciting post from me.  Take care and be safe.


Melvin Key – CEO

Certified Protection Professional

MVP Protective Services


Skills and Training a Security Officer Must Have

A security guard most of the time is hired for contingencies, which means he is protecting property from vandalism or theft. The client is minimizing the risk to his property by hiring a private security guard. That in turn means that there is a definite risk involved with being a security guard. Therefore security guards should be well prepared and trained, because they might be making life and death decisions for businesses, private persons and public in general.

The most important skills a security officer must possess are to observe and report. It sounds simple enough, but if one has worked in the security industry he knows that it is not that simple. Security officers must be extremely observant and detailed oriented. Most of the information clients require is important and make the difference. For example I provided a security consultation for a clothing manufacturing warehouse. Their most important assets they needed to protect were the designs of clothes. In the security plan and post orders I explicitly asked security officers not to let anybody leave the building with paperwork unless they had a valid employee identification card and a permission slip from the vice president.

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A designer was fired some time later and decided to come back to his office and take the designs he had worked on with him. The security officer at the entrance let him pass, because he knew him. He was stopped on his way out, because he was carrying a big stack of papers. The designer asked the security to let him leave stating the fact that he was coming and going through that gate every day. The security officer showed him his post orders and asked him to stay put. After he called his supervisor and the vice president they took back the designs. Observation skills and attention to detail, the skill to follow orders helped save the client thousands of dollars.

Often security guards possess the skill of observing through experience or common sense, but they lack the proper reporting skills. The do not record all required information or fail to file the appropriate report. Daily activity reports, incident reports and access control logs are important tools security guards use. They record pertinent information that clients use to control access and to protect their merchandise. As an example if an employee of a warehouse enters after hours and the security guard does not record his information, nothing stops the employee from taking anything he wants. There will be no record of him ever being there without the proper report being filled out.

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I have seen many supervisors training security guards at their posts and they simply tell them your job is to observe and report. That is not enough! Security officers should be told what they should be looking for, what the risk factors are. They should be told what reports to file and what information to record. It is amazing how much difference one hour of good initial training will make.

Source by Charles S Willis

Proper Use of Force By Security Officers Vs Negligent Use of Force

I review a lot of use of force incidents as a law enforcement/military and security trainer. Most military engagements are usually pretty strait forward. There is a lot of gray area when security and law enforcement officers deal with the public and resort to use of force. All departments have a use of force continuum or ‘ladder,’ but it is not followed in countless incidents.

I recall a recent incident in Austin where a Travis County Constable used a Taser on response to the verbal resistance from a older lady. The incident made national news and illustrated the fact that a greater degree of force was used on this elderly woman to meet the threat she posed to the Officer. This occurrence wasn’t necessarily uncommon, it was just ‘caught on tape.’

The generalized use of force ladder for most agencies is the same. When you are confronted with a resistive person and you have determined that you must use force you start with your presence. A good strong presence may deter further escalation of force. Next is verbal action or commands. Many people comply with commands. Then there is empty hand control or force on force. OC spray/ chemical spray and Taser often are on the same level, which is the next greater degree of force. Impact devices, such as an expandable baton, is the next level. Finally, deadly force is the final level of force that may be used in permissible situations.

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Many police or security officers skip many of the levels of force and go strait to Taser or OC Spray in confrontations when the situation could be handled with a lesser degree of force. “Good hand to hand techniques are essential for an officer to use the least amount of force necessary to control a situation.” This is the area where officers receive the least amount of training and have the least amount of confidence, thus moving to weapons instead of handling people with their hands.

Officers can seek out additional training because most departments offer no advanced or ongoing training after the police academy. Seriously. It astounds me that officers are not prepared to deal with the very situations that they encounter on a daily basis. Confidence comes from practice and muscle memory. If you wear a badge, you owe it to the forth (4th) amendment to use the least amount of force to take a person into custody or defend yourself or a third party. Why use a Taser on a 70 year old lady when you can easily take her down and put her into handcuffs, if that is what you need to do?

Security is in a different category all together. Most officers receive very little empty hand techniques in the small amount of basic license training. Ongoing training is all self-initiated and it is pretty had to afford training on $8 hr. It is sad because many good officers want continual training but they can’t afford it in terms of money or time. The security company bears responsibility because they know the low level of training that the officers have when they contract with business to provide security. They often sell a different package than the actual guard who arrives on the scene to provide the service. The customer (business) say that they want good security but they often choose the lowest bidder and that is sometimes from an unlicensed or illegal security company. These companies can make lower bids by not paying certain insurance costs (worker’s compensation, general liability, vehicle), taxes and other expenses; improving their margins by as much as 30%. This is how a bad company can under bid a good one. There is not much profit is doing security the right way.

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The people to suffer or get beat up are sometimes completely innocent of anything except running into an inexperienced and scared officer who doesn’t know how to use his/her hands and resorts to a higher level of force. Law Enforcement and security have a duty to do the right thing and have a reasonable standard of care that must be followed. People who are injured may seek damages and there are attorney’s that specialize in negligent security, improper use of force and other liability issues.

Source by Robb Hamic

Can a Security Guard Make An Arrest?

People all too often likely believe that a security guard has limited or no arrest power. While the primary responsibility of the officer does not often exceed the directive to “Observe and Report”, he does posses the right to effect an arrest if necessary.

Oftentimes the officer’s right to arrest does not exceed the arrest powers of the average citizen. Known as the citizens arrest this legal principle states that a citizen may make an arrest pursuant to certain circumstance. Though these circumstances may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction they generally allow the guard to place an individual under arrest in the event the guard witnesses the commission of a felony. The guard may also arrest an individual if another person informs the guard of the individual’s commission of a felony.

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What constitutes a felony offense? Here is an easy rule of thumb for distinguishing a felony from a misdemeanor. Felony offenses are punishable by a year or more in state prison. The crimes are more significant in nature than a misdemeanor although the differential may be nuanced. For instance, someone who steals $500 worth of merchandise may be guilty of a felony while the theft of $499 amounts to a misdemeanor.

The arrest powers of the guard are not limited to felony offenses. He can also make an arrest if he personally witnesses the commission of a misdemeanor.

Does the officer have any legal requirements when he places a person under citizens arrest?

Again this may vary from location to location. In California, subject to certain exemption, the guard must inform the arrestee of the intention to arrest him and upon request must inform the arrestee of the offense for which the arrest has been effected.

Most officers are likely trained to avoid these types of arrests whenever possible. An officer who mistakenly arrests a person risks bringing civil liability to his employer. Prior to instigating an arrest of this type the officer must be sure of the merits of the arrest. As the reader might imagine this serves to powerfully disincentivize the officer from making the arrest unless he has absolutely zero doubt about the merits.

Certain security guards are endowed with detention powers in addition to the arrest power described in this article. For example, some of the security guards licensed by the City of Kansas City Missouri hold the right to detain a person pending temporary investigation. In many jurisdictions only law enforcement officers maintain this important legal power. The right to temporarily detain provides the security guard with the ability to hold a suspect while he determines if there are suitable grounds for an arrest to occur. This mitigates some of the liability and allows the guard to be much more proactive. The power can only be used on the guard assigned property or off the property when pursuing a fleeing subject.

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The right to arrest lies within the purview of the security guard. However its use is generally deferred unless the guard has little doubt about the circumstances surround the arrest.

Source by JW Murphey

Strategies For Security Guards When Dealing With Angry People

Security guards often find themselves in situations where they must deal with people who are angry, difficult or in an altered state of mind. This can range from a person being denied entry to party or event, or fielding the wrath of those who have been waiting in long lines or crowded, overpopulated areas. A basic knowledge of human psychology and a solid set of communication skills can greatly help when security officers and/or bodyguards are in these situations. There are several ways to diffuse a situation with an angry person or deal with difficult people in general, all of which relate to these types of skills and know-how.

Listening: When on the receiving end of an angry person, the security guard should demonstrate good listening skills, even if they know the agitated person is in the wrong. By letting the person vent their frustrations and have their say, he/she may become easier to deal with. One of the main reasons customers and everyday citizens lose their cool and become aggressive is the feeling that they are not being heard; a simple acknowledgement of their feelings can lessen the intensity of the situation. Let them know that they have valid reason to be upset and assure them that their situation is being handled as swiftly as possible.

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Understanding: Security officers should attempt to empathize whenever possible to show understanding of why the person is upset. When appropriate, saying something like “I can imagine how frustrated you must be, and I apologize for the inconvenience,” is all a person needs to hear to take their anger down a few notches and redirect their feelings in a different way. Let them know that their feelings are important, and that their complaint will not go unnoticed. Be sure not to appear condescending when voicing your understanding; if the person feels belittled on top of everything else, their demeanor could intensify and the guard will have to work twice as hard to calm them down.

Not reacting: Most importantly, the officer should never react to a person’s aggression with more aggression. Though it is tempting to match this person’s tone and “stand one’s ground,” yelling back at an agitated person won’t accomplish anything productive and will make the officer or guard appear unprofessional. Guards should try to ignore insults and careless remarks as best they can, despite their growing frustration. Angry people often say things in the heat of the moment and don’t mean much of what they’re venting. Also, it’s appropriate and beneficial to admit mistakes if the situation calls for it; Security officers should not be afraid to gently correct false or inaccurate statements, but they must go about it as calmly as possible. A good example would be a person saying “I’ve been standing in line for hours”; the guard could respond with “My time clock shows it’s actually been 35 minutes, but I understand that it must feel like hours,” if that is the case.

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Agreement: It can also be useful to attempt to agree with the angered person on something, even something arbitrary, as it’s an opening that can lead to other agreements in the conversation. Doing this temporarily shifts the power from the security guard who appears to be in charge of this person’s temporary fate to the person who feels they are being treated unjustly. If it’s a venue that the guard is patrolling and the person makes a comment about the poor customer service that they are experiencing, the guard could play both sides of the fence while remaining professional and seemingly validating the upset person; saying something like “Well, I don’t have any personal experience with the staff here, but you are not the first person to express dissatisfaction with them,” is a good way of staying neutral and controlling the person’s anger.

Source by Z Kator

The Skillset of a Great Security Guard

There are a number of different skills that a security guard should possess.

Because one of the main tasks required of a security guard is to write reports, he or she must be a good writer. Reports made while on the job are very important because they keep track of everything that goes on within the area, and may be used in court to report on the exact events on a certain day

The reports should be detailed, so in addition to good writing skills, an attention to detail is a skill that is also necessary. An attention to detail will not only help you write better reports, but it will help you become a better guard. While on patrol, it is your job to notice everything. The places in your location and if they are the way they are supposed to be, as well as the people around you and how they all look and act. If a situation were to arise, for example, that would need you to recall how a person looks, if you’re detailed you can easily describe what that person looked like.

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To expand on that, a good memory will serve you well. There are a lot of tasks that are required of a security guard, so the better memory you have, the easier your job will be. Also, you would be able to remember people and certain events that happen while on the job, which may be useful in court if you had to testify.

Another skill that a security guard should possess is quick thinking. Many times, you will only have a few seconds to make a decision, so in just a few seconds you will ave to weigh the pros and cons and make an educated choice based on that. It can be scary at times, especially because there are situations that arise where threats are present, and weapons and confrontations may occur.

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Lastly, good communication skills are important. The guard is the liaison between the events that happen in a location, and the police or fire department. If one cannot communicate, the police or fire department will have a hard time understanding the situation, which may put them and others in danger. Also, communication is important because you will almost be like a customer service help desk while on the job. Many people will come to you for help, or even to explain a situation that they think you should take action on.

Source by Pete Chamberlain

Armed Security Guards: Training, Benefits, and Posts

Armed security guards are guards who handle firearms or other weapons and use them to protect an individual or property against potential danger. These guards are highly trained and skilled for handling weapons before they are deployed to their perspective employers. In order to be eligible for an armed guard job, these individuals must pass strict requirements such as a comprehensive background check and the legality of their age. Tests such as fingerprinting and even DNA testing may be included in the screening process.

How Armed Security Guards Differ from Unarmed Guards

Armed officers carry a firearm with them at all times. This weapon maybe used in the aid of securing an individual or property. Unarmed guards on the other hand do not carry weapons. Their duty is to observe and report to a higher authority. Armed guards receive higher pay when compared to unarmed security guards. In part due to the amount of training that is required as well as the cost for firearm’s licensing. Due to the risks associated with using a gun, armed security guards also have higher insurance premiums than unarmed ones.

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Training for Armed Officers

Armed officers are trained in all facets of protecting a person or a property. Often, the security company that hires and manages these security guards provides the needed training. The training includes operating a surveillance system, the use of firearms and doing street surveillance.

Before being deployed, Texas law requires that armed security guards, who are not currently policemen, will have completed 30 hours of required training. Additionally, they would have to undergo an 8-hour refresher course in training every year that they are on the job. Current police officers, or even retired ones, are some of the few who are exempted from taking the extensive trainings. Also included in the exemptions are licensed private investigators, peace officers and some military staff. For certain work environments, some additional training might have to be taken. For instance, armed security guards who are assigned to prison will have to undergo training on dealing with angry prisoners and on how to deal with prison riots. Armed security guards may have to be trained as well on company policies and ethics.

Benefits of Hiring Armed Security

A number of businesses employ armed security guards to protect their properties and employees. For business locations that have high incidents of vandalism, theft or robbery, armed security guards can provide better protection to individuals and properties. They are also ideal for businesses or properties that have alarm systems or video cameras installed, as they are well trained in operating these kinds of systems.

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Armed Security Officer Posts

Armed security Officers are trained to perform their duties serving many different posts. These might include, government buildings, banks, jewelry stores, political events, and even personal protection services. Personal protection services might include protecting dignitaries, CEO’s, and movie stars. They can also be assigned to man and operate closed circuit televisions (CCTV) as they are trained and knowledgeable in operating these systems. Of course, there are also the standard patrol duties as are often found in apartment and mall security. Armed guards have a large spectrum of clients and locations to protect creating quite a varied job.

Source by J. Singletary

What Is Security Training?

Security training is the training needed in many States to become a security guard. It has become a very popular topic as there is an increasing demand for security positions in the near future. Here, we take a closer look at what is involved with this training and whether it is right for you.

Although not all States require one to get security training and a license, a large number of them do. Also, for those who do not require these things, many employers will want you to go get the training. This is why it is important to get this training as it helps increase your employment possibilities. Although many people can get their training paid for by their employer, many others will still be looking for work after training and this can help them open some doors to that first job.

To begin the training, you will have to be at least 18 years of age and undergo a background check. The latter is designed to make sure do not have a violent criminal history that would preclude you from becoming a security guard. This is a good requirement too considering that many security guards will be in positions of power and need to exhibit self control and restraint in many different situations.

Besides these initial standards, the training itself begins with some in class training. The amount of time that this is can vary but 8 hours is a good rule of thumb. This training will teach you about some of the basic responsibilities and ethics of being a security guard. You will get this training from a trained professional who has worked in this field. You can expect to hear some lectures, be a part of some class discussions and even be involved in some role playing in this training. All this training is based on a security guard training manual which you will need to have read and understand. You will take a test to ensure you have the appropriate comprehension of this manual. Of course, if you decide to use weapons on the job, you will need to get additional in class training.

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After this in class training is complete, you will start your on the job training. If you already have an employer, you will need to complete this training within the first 6 months. However, some States may require you to complete all or part of this training at a much faster pace than 6 months. For those who do not have an employer, they will be responsible for finding one and then meeting this requirement. After this on the job training is complete, you will have completed the training.

By keeping all these things in mind, you should have a better understanding of what security training is.

Source by Eric D. Roberts

Unarmed Security Guards: Requirements, Training, and Job Duties

Unarmed security guards are guards who protect properties and or individuals without the use of a fire arm. An unarmed security guard’s main job is to make rounds on a property, monitor and report any abnormal happenings that have been observed. Aside from these basic functions, they can also assist in giving proper directions around the facility to citizens who need help. In some cases, unarmed security guards are even tasked with receiving packages and signing papers on behalf of the employer while on duty.

Requirements to Become an Unarmed Security Guard

The most important asset to look for when hiring a person for a security position is the ability communicate clearly and quickly. A nice presentable appearance is another basic requirement for the job. Some high school education is also required; however a high school diploma is not necessary. The applicant must also pass a drug test and be physically fit. He or she must also be able to pass criminal background checks.

Training for an Unarmed Guard

Training an unarmed guard is very different from training an armed one. As they don’t deal with firearms, the unarmed security guards’ primary weapon is effective communication. Thus, proper training in effective communication is a must for these kinds of guards. On-the-site training is given to the guard by a supervisor. This would include walking with the guard throughout the facility and working with him for a few hours. Training on how to operate some electronic equipment may also be provided by the employer. Employers might also provide additional training on particular company ethics, as well as company policies. An unarmed security guard has to complete 45 hours of training, which should be completed on his first 100 days of work. Within these first 100 days, he or she should also be able to pass a proficiency examination in order to receive a training certification for the job.

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Typical Job Situations for Unarmed Security Officers

Some typical assignments for unarmed security officers might include apartments, parks, construction sites, and malls. They can be assigned to do either static or patrol duties, or even both. Patrol duties are situated towards the particular venue. Patrols might be done while walking, riding horseback, or from a motorized vehicle. Aside from their most common service, to guard establishments and people, these guards can also serve at help desks. As they are trained to communicate effectively, they will be effective in providing customers and citizens with information regarding the company that these guards work for.

Benefits of Hiring an Unarmed Officer

Unarmed security officers offer lower salary expenses for the employer, as compared to armed security guards. These guards are good for businesses which are situated in relatively peaceful environments. Hiring security that is armed could put some stress on the residents of these areas, which is why it is sometimes a better solution to place unarmed officers. With these security officers, there is little to no issue on the safety of guns in the workplace as there are no guns involved. Unarmed security guards also contribute to a more relaxed environment both for the clients and the people in the area.

Source by J. Singletary

Security Officer Professionalism – Do You Have What It Takes?

Security has come a long way since the late 40’s and 50’s up to the late 1980’s where it was the norm for ex-servicemen and ex police to take on ‘watchman’ or ‘security’ roles in industrial, commercial and government complexes. The industry has expanded almost beyond belief with technology that, until recently, was exclusively in the hands of major powers and governments and new laws that directly and indirectly impact upon our profession. Our threat levels and risks have changed, bringing new challenges. The type of person now being attracted into the security industry has changed as a consequence; they are a more youthful, dynamic, person who sees the industry as a career.

Business and the public now have expectations of security that the industry must meet and exceed. Of course there is a compensator for this level of professional service. The industry and clients must recognize that the higher skill levels required and the superior level of service demanded by clients must also be reflected in the financial reward afforded the officer through their wage or salary.

With increased skills and responsibilities comes the reward through increasing the pay levels. The industry must be prepared to reward officers and guards with a livable wage or salary commensurate with their qualifications and skills that they are offering to provide the client. The old adage still runs true that ‘if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys’.

What then do we demand of the Security Officer or Guard? What standards must they meet?

The security officer of this millennium must be well educated, articulate, smartly attired and professional in every way. Surveys conducted in Darwin (Australia) revealed that business and the public demanded stricter selection criteria and higher standards of professional behavior for those employed in the security industry. There is no doubt that these expectations are reflected in most other cities and towns in Australia and overseas.

In Australia, Certificate II and III in Security should be seen as just a start point for security training. Individuals must take every opportunity to enhance their professional training through specialist subject workshops, academic studies or even overseas training programs, available by correspondence. Diplomas in Security & Risk management and tertiary education courses are becoming more common both overseas and in Australia and are an excellent tool for gaining the edge in knowledge.

Individuals must have a sound working knowledge of all laws in which the security industry operates and highly developed inter-personal skills to complement their technical skills in security.

Contract as well as proprietary security staff operate in a wide range of working environments. This ranges from government work to hospital security, industrial security, commercial security, retail security, mining security, hospitality security and loss prevention in all its forms along with many other working environments where protective security is provided. The Security Officer of the new millennium must be aware of their role within these various environments and be trained accordingly.

It is imperative that officers get to know their clients business and understand its underlying culture. This knowledge will stand them in good stead when decisions have to be made quickly without having time to brief the client. By understanding the business and its culture, decisions can be made taking all into consideration ensuring that the clients’ best interests are always being protected.

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Security knowledge should encompass physical security, administrative security (laws, policies and procedures etc), risk management, computer security and crime prevention strategies. Knowledge of business practices, administration and financial procedures is a definite bonus.

By having this overall knowledge professional security officers are positioned to take on advisory roles in business making them an attractive return on investment for any employer or client. One of the major complaints made by small businesses approached on the subject was that security staff did not communicate with their clients. There was no two-way communication and in many cases small business did not know what service security was actually providing apart from their physical presence.

By communicating with clients and offering advice based on in-depth security or crime prevention knowledge, the Security Officer increases their value to the client and to their employing company. In many cases they are the first person a business may see when a problem occurs. Security will make an appreciation of the incident and decide on further action, which may or may not involve Police attendance. As such their knowledge and experience is invaluable in assisting the client, thus maximizing their return on investment.

On the other hand the poorly trained Security Officer will often take one of three options:

Make the wrong decision and escalate the situation,
Do nothing and await advice from the client or their contracting company, or
Bluff their way through relying on luck to see them through the situation.

In any of these cases the temptation for the client to terminate their contract for security, based on lack of trust in the abilities of the officers’ concerned, is greatly increased.

What then must we look for in our Security Officers? They must:

be well educated.
be appropriately trained in their roles and duties.
be honest and confident in their abilities and knowledge.
be service orientated.
be curious and observant.
be mentally attuned to responding to critical incidents, without warning.
be loyal to their client as well as their employer.
have pride in themselves’ and their role in society.
have ready access to qualified and experienced Supervisors to provide mentoring, advice and guidance on situations out of the officer’s experience, thus gaining quality advice to maximize the learning value of the experience.

All the above rely on one important ingredient: training.

Training then is the cornerstone to the development of the professional security officer of this millennium.

This training can be gained through the traditional courses, tertiary studies, in-house training, mentoring, workshops and seminars or through researching published material and security trade magazines such as the one you may be reading now. All are a valuable source of knowledge.

The Security Officer or Security Manager who has the skills, knowledge, and experience back up with qualifications and excellent communications and interpersonal relationship skills will be seen as an excellent investment for any business or client.

Professionalism…. It’s more than a word. It’s an attitude that enhances capability and credibility.

Source by Raymond Andersson