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.
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.
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.