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.
Every experienced officer has encountered one of those situations that just seems to be a little odd. It may be an individual that is wandering around aimlessly, someone that looks out of place, or there are changes to the physical environment.
So what do experienced officers do when they encounter such a situation?
First priority is always the safety of those you are protecting, and to protect yourself so you can respond effectively. An incapacitated officer is no help to anyone. Second, when things don't appear to normal, chances are you are right. It could have an easy explanation once you take the steps above. Third, always document what you saw. This protects you, your colleagues, and those you are their to protect.
Member of the Guardstar Academy Staff. All Guardstar Academy staff are experienced law enforcement, security professionals and/or private investigators.