As a security officer you will encounter individuals that you suspect of being involved in a crime, or you will suspect they are about to complete a crime. Following are some tips to follow when approaching an individual you suspect:
1. Safety - when possible, closely observe the individual before you approach. Look for indications they may be armed; bulges in clothing around the waistline, ankles, or pockets where they may be concealing a weapon. Call for assistance.
2. Approach - if you are not sure they have or are about to commit a crime, make a "soft approach". Introduce yourself, say "Hello", approach as you would any other individual. Sometimes this type of approach will reduce their desire to commit a crime as you are making them aware of your presence, more importantly, you are letting them know you are aware of them. Ask how you might help them. Maintain a safe distance from them. Create space between you and the individual that will allow you time to react in the event they attempt to attack you.
3. Be observant - look for signs they are being deceptive when talking to them. Nervous body language such as shifting feet, looking around - failing to maintain eye contact, repeating questions you ask them - indicates they are trying to "think-up" an answer to your questions. Be aware of their hand movements. Sometimes armed suspects may move their hand toward their weapon subconsciously, re-affirming that it is there.
4. Document - always document your encounters and pass the information on to fellow officers so they can be on the lookout for the suspect to return. Include description, time, date, and nature of the encounter. Further, include any answers to questions you asked such as their reason for being on the premises.
Always be alert and observant, approach with caution, and be prepared to react in the event they attempt to attack you.
Member of the Guardstar Academy Staff. All Guardstar Academy staff are experienced law enforcement, security professionals and/or private investigators.