Security officer safety is critical, not only to you the officer, but to those you are assigned to protect. Chances are, your client hired security officers because there were safety or security problems at the site. Here is a simple reminder for you to ensure you maintain your focus on being safe.
ABC - simple acronym that stands for "Alert, Be Prepared, and Call for assistance".
"Alert" - Officer's need to be alert to changes in their environment that pose a safety/security risk. Keeping your head on a swivel, constantly scanning the area around you will increase your awareness. Being alert includes understanding what is happening just beyond the property you are assigned to protect as local neighborhood activities can encroach on the property. Reviewing local news, to include weather forecasts, making sure you obtain information from fellow officers and employees at the site will ensure you are alert to potential activities that may occur.
"Be Prepared" - Many days can be boring which is fortunate for the client and the officer. As a security officer, you need to be prepared to react to a potential emergency situation as they often occur without warning. Reviewing emergency action plans, post orders, and mentally creating checklists of actions to take in a potential emergency will not only keep you prepared, but will keep you mentally alert. Being prepared also includes ensuring you have all the equipment you need and that it is in working order, e.g. charging flashlights, radio's before your shift, etc.
"Call for Assistance" - Calling for assistance at the earliest opportunity allows time for first responder's, fellow security officers or local police, to arrive in time. Some security officers hesitate in calling for assistance as they begin to determine what is occurring. Sometimes, calling for assistance can help deescalate a situation. It's critical that as a security officer, you remember that your safety is critical to ensuring the safety of others on site. If overtaken by a suspect, without others to assist, the suspect could then threaten others on the property.
The ABC's of safety are intended as a reminder for security officers when beginning duty. Each day as you travel to work think of the "ABC's of Officer Safety" to help mentally prepare you for work. Add your own tasks, or practices to each category to increase your safety awareness.
Throughout our training we discuss maintaining high visibility, or creating a presence in assigned work areas. For security officers, maintaining a presence prevents many issues from arising. It's better not to have to deal with problem.
So what are the best ways to creating a presence that will deter criminal activity, and other disruptive behaviors?
The presence of a uniformed security officer is a great deterrent. Having an active presence, and response when needed can greatly improve the safety and security of a property.
Many, if not most, people are attracted to security work because of their ethics. They want to find a work environment that fits their ethical makeup. Ethical behavior is one of the reasons security officers are hired by companies. But where do we learn what constitutes ethics:
Ethics is simply defined as ... "Moral principles that govern, guide a persons behavior or conducting a specific act." Others say that ethics is "...doing the right thing all of the time even when no one is watching you."
Moral principles are learned behaviors. They are learned from parents, friends, and family members. They are learned from churches or childhood activities that may include girl scouts, boy scouts, or sports. Many learn ethical behaviors in the workplace as well. Consider the military, or working for companies that have strong ethics programs to govern employee behaviors.
There are a few guides that define ethical behavior as well, such as laws, company policies and procedures, training, and professional organizations. For most security officers, yes there are a limited amount of exceptions, they come to the profession with the moral principles already in place.
Consider this example; A security officer guarding a large amount of money was asked, "Why don't you just take some money? No one will know."
The officer responded, "I will know."
This is one of the best examples of having moral principles ingrained in one's behavior to govern their actions in a given situation.
Another example; a young boy at school saw two boys bullying another. He attempted to intervene and was beaten pretty badly. When asked why he did it, he replied, "Because it was the right thing to do. The other boy got away, that was my intent." WOW!!!!!
There are those individuals that sometimes fail to follow ethical practices. Less than 1% of those employed as security officers, but security officers are hired and work because of their ethics, moral principles.
So the next time you see a security officer, know that you have just seen an ethical person.
As a security officer one of your most powerful tools is the power of observation. Use you powers of observation to:
Using your power of observation keeps you alert, prepared to react if needed. Remaining alert to your surroundings, which includes those around you, will increase your safety while increasing your opportunities to prevent or catch someone in an act of violence or other criminal activity.
Online training is an effective way to transfer knowledge to others in the security industry. Here are a few reasons why our training is so effective:
Online learning has been commonplace in today's society, whether we are taking online courses or searching the Internet for answers to questions we have. The ability to learn when you want to learn also increases the effectiveness of retaining the information, not to complete a test, but for use in the field. Classroom instruction still is an important part of the learning process, but general and technical topic learning is quickly becoming an online training venue.
With the holiday seasons upon us, chances are you will see security officers in your daily activities whether shopping, or at work. They are hired by companies to make the places they work safer and more secure. As you go about your holiday activities consider they are there to protect you.
Security officers often interact with individuals that are angry, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and/or those that are committing crimes. The goal of any such encounter is to end it without the need for a physical confrontation. So, how are security officers trained to use verbal de-escalation techniques to calm a tense, potentially volatile situation?:
These are a few of the techniques that security officers learn from training and experience to use in a tense situation. The goal is to have a calm outcome. Unfortunately they do not always work, but employing these techniques and others will increase the chances of a positive outcome for all.
Every property, every assignment brings varying challenges. Professional security officers are being faced with more complex scenarios at work. The best officers employ patrol techniques in an effective manner to protect the public. There is not one technique that is used more effectively than others. Needs change, sometimes daily. Professional security officers evaluate the conditions and identify the most effective techniques to use.
Here are a few:
Properly trained, professional security officers have a variety of resources to employ while patrolling their assigned areas. Effective introduction of patrol techniques has a positive impact on improving the safety and security of their assigned area.
Security officers called names like "Hero", "Unsung Hero", and "Brave".
(Click on the name to learn more)
There are so many, many more. (Feel free to post others)
So to the Security Officers that are called names, like "Hero", Unsung Hero", and "Brave", and those that are but are not recognized, Great Work!!! Thank you for protecting us!
More private businesses today are turning to private security to protect their employees, customers, and premises. As the number of security officers employed climb, we can expect to see increased incidents of violence against security officers, decreasing security officer safety.
There are many factors that are increasing the dangers to security officers as well:
1. Mental health - Individuals with mental health issues create unique challenges for security officers. Their behaviors, at times, can be erratic which causes concerns for employees and patrons alike. It is important to note, that most individuals suffering from mental illness do not become violent. But, as they interact with others, others may react violently due to fear, or failing to understand, which places security officers in harms way as they respond to altercations.
2. Violence on the increase - Violence, the actual act, is increasing. In other words, the violence is becoming more violent. Statistics can be tricky. Statistics often do not reflect the amount of violence being used, rather they count as one act.
3. Changing lifestyles/influences - Children today are growing up under different circumstances than what their parents experienced. (Every generation can say this) Many ponder how reduced social skill abilities, which are being replaced by the use of social media, may increase the potential for violent acts. The concept is that younger adults are less likely to seek out non-violent solutions to confrontation, opting to react violently. Although there are no clear indicators yet, as time is needed to gather statistics, there is the potential for increases in violent acts.
So how do security companies and officers respond?
Unfortunately, assaults on security officers are expected to increase in the coming years. Security officers require additional training, and being reminded to always be alert to their environment for signs of potential violence.
Member of the Guardstar Academy Staff. All Guardstar Academy staff are experienced law enforcement, security professionals and/or private investigators.