Have you been let down by poor-quality security guards? Or maybe you employed your own security guards, who turned out to be completely unsuitable for the job and did more harm than good. In this post from Titan Security, we use our decades of experience to point you in the right direction. We will discuss the legal implications and damage to brand reputation that can arise from employing unsuitable security guards, take an in-depth look at the qualities of a good security guard, and help you make the right choices by exploring:
- What can go wrong when employing an unsuitable security guard?
- The personality and character traits of a good security guard
- The impact of high-quality training
- Vetting procedures for recruitment
- The pros and cons of uniformed or plain clothes security guards
- Whether using a security contractor can improve the quality of your security guards
Security guards—what can go wrong?
Hiring unsuitable security guards can have serious consequences, including:
• Legal Implications: Employing unsuitable security guards can result in legal action against your company. Inadequate training, inappropriate behaviour, or lack of certification can lead to legal complaints, claims for compensation and protracted, expensive and inconvenient legal proceedings.
• Damage to Brand Reputation: Unsuitable security guards can do a lot of damage to the brand reputation of your company. They represent your company, and their behaviour reflects your brand image. Unprofessional behaviour can result in negative publicity, loss of business, and avoidable damage to your business’s reputation.
• Threats to Health and Safety: Whether through unnecessary or over-zealous aggression, a lack of training, or a negligent work ethic, choosing the wrong security guard can put people in danger.
• Financial loss: When criminals are successful the financial loss and inconvenience cannot be underestimated. When it results from negligence, poor training or sub-standard job performance by security guards, this avoidable loss is a bitter pill to swallow.
The qualities of a good security guard
Security guards tasked with protecting employees, assets, and property are often frontline staff with an important role to fulfil and a good impression to create. So let’s take a look at the qualities a good security guard should have to be successful in the job.
A good security guard will need to be physically fit to perform at their best. They should be able to handle physical duties, like patrolling and responding to emergencies with ease. Security guards not only spend long periods on their feet, but they quite often need to cover a lot of ground or react with speed while on duty.
Security guards are often the first thing that people encounter when engaging in person with a company. They must have good communication and interpersonal skills in order to create a good first impression and build relationships with those they are protecting. They should be able to handle personal interactions in social situations and use their skills to handle conflict resolution and de-escalate a tense situation
Security guards must have excellent written and verbal communication skills in order to provide accurate reports and interact with people. In the case of security contractors, they will often act as the main liaison between the client and contractor. When directly employed, they will need to be able to identify and communicate threats, vulnerabilities, issues dealt with, and actions that were taken up the management ladder. Important policy decisions can often be shaped by direct feedback from security guards.
Computer Literacy Skills
In many cases, the faithful notebook and pencil have been replaced by modern technology like body cameras, phones, and tablet computers. Security guards should have computer literacy skills in order to use technology to take notes, produce reports, manage CCTV surveillance systems and maintain contact with central control rooms
Responsiveness to Training
Training for security guards can be a genuine effort to improve their skills and job performance or, in some cases, treated as a “box-ticking” exercise. Security guards should be able to absorb and respond quickly to training and be prepared to stay up-to-date with the latest security policies and procedures.
It is important that security guards, in or out of uniform, create the right visual impression. They may need to blend well and dress in suits for corporate events and political conferences or look smart in uniform. A willingness to take care of their appearance, their uniform and their clothing all contribute to the right attributes for a top-flight security guard.
The guardian vs the aggressor
In almost all cases, a guardian mentality is preferable to an aggressor mentality for security guarding. A guardian mentality involves taking a proactive approach to security by identifying potential threats and intervening to prevent them. It also means that the security guard is going to prioritise de-escalation and the safety of all concerned, including to some extent, the perpetrator.
In contrast, an aggressor mentality involves being confrontational and looking for opportunities to use force to control a situation. In many cases, an aggressive personality will see the role of a security guard as an opportunity to exert power and control.
There are several reasons why a guardian mindset is better suited to high-quality security guarding:
- Prevention is Key: The primary goal of security guards is to prevent security incidents from occurring. By taking a proactive approach and identifying potential threats early on, there is always a possibility that incidents can be prevented from happening in the first place. rather than simply reacting to them after they happen.
- De-escalation: A good security guard should possess both the ability and the training to de-escalate potentially volatile situations. When security guards have a guardian mentality, they are more likely to use de-escalation techniques like communication and negotiation, to resolve conflicts. In contrast, an aggressor mentality may lead to confrontational behaviour and the use of force to control situations, which can escalate conflicts and put people in danger.
- Safety: Safety is a top priority in security guarding. When security guards have a guardian mentality, they are more focused on safety, not just for themselves but for the people they are protecting. They are more likely to take a measured and calculated approach to security, rather than a confrontational one. Dealing with issues with calm and competent authority from the outset can help to prevent incidents from occurring and keep people safe.
- Perception: How customers, visitors and employees perceive the security guard is important to the overall health of your business. When security guards have an aggressor mentality, they can be perceived as intimidating or threatening, which can create an uncomfortable environment for all. In contrast, a guardian mentality can create a more welcoming and reassuring environment, which can help to build trust and confidence in both the security measures in place and the people with the responsibility of enforcing them.
Uniformed vs non-uniformed security guards
At some point in the recruitment process, you may need to decide between uniformed and non-uniformed security guards. There are arguments for and against both courses, but ultimately, this will depend on the needs of your organisation.
Here are some useful pointers to help you organise your thoughts:
Pros of Uniformed Security Guards
- Visible deterrent: Uniformed security guards act as a deterrent because the public can instantly identify them as the people in control. For events and crowd control, a uniformed security guard promotes an aura of calm authority that is likely to be respected
- Emergency response: Uniformed security guards are easy to spot which can be particularly useful in emergency situations when the public can go straight to them for help.
- Creating the right impression: When the members of a security guard team are dressed in a smart uniform they become a promotable asset to a business. This might be particularly true with corporate security guards and those working in the hotel and leisure industry
Pros of Non-Uniformed Security Guards.
- Discreetness: Overt and high-visibility security is not always desirable and in some cases may be inflammatory. Non-uniformed security guards can be more discreet, which enables them to blend more easily in environments where a security presence may be perceived as threatening, such as in a high-end retail store, a hotel or a hospital
- Blending: Non-uniformed security guards can be useful for blending in and gathering intelligence in situations where catching criminals in the act is a priority rather than acting as a deterrent.
- Cost: Non-uniformed security guards can be a cost-effective option for some businesses because they don’t require uniforms or other visible indicators of their security status.
The impact of high-quality training
Earlier we mentioned that a good security guard should have the ability to absorb and respond to training. This helps to shape and enhance the performance of a security guard. High-quality training leads to effectiveness, efficiency, and better overall protection of people, property, and assets.
Here are some ways in which training can influence the performance of a security guard:
Knowledge and Skills: When a security guard has a thorough understanding of security procedures, emergency response protocols, and conflict resolution techniques they are better equipped to handle a variety of situations.
Confidence: Proper training gives security guards the confidence they need to handle challenging situations. When they know what to do and have been trained on how to handle difficult scenarios, they are more likely to act quickly and decisively.
Adaptability: Security guards must be able to adapt to different situations and environments. High-quality training can help them to do this by exposing them to a variety of scenarios in the classroom before they go out into the real world. This can include everything from emergency response, dealing with terrorist threats, managing large crowds, and dealing with difficult individuals.
Professionalism: A security guard’s professionalism is critical and training can help to build a sense of professionalism by teaching security guards how to interact with others in a respectful and courteous manner. This can include everything from greeting visitors to managing conflict.
Compliance: Compliance with laws, regulations, and company policies is crucial in security guarding. Training that makes security guards aware of all relevant laws, regulations, and policies and understand how to comply with them helps to prevent legal and reputational risks for a company. Security guards also need to be aware of the rules and regulations as they apply individually to the client where additional on-site training might be provided.
Vetting procedures for security guards
With thorough vetting procedures in place, you are much more likely to take on the security guards who are most suitable for the job. Vetting procedures should include the following:
- Criminal Background Checks: Criminal background checks are essential to identify any criminal history that may disqualify a candidate from the position.
- Reference Checks: Reference checks can help verify a candidate’s character, employment history and skills.
- Employment History Checks: Finding gaps in employment history and seeking an explanation is always good practice. Gaps of more than 31 days are worth investigating
- Drug and Alcohol Screening: Discretionary drug and alcohol screening can help identify any substance abuse that may disqualify a candidate from the position and in some cases might be essential. For example with close protection work or mobile security that requires a lot of driving.
Does hiring a security contractor increase the quality of security guards?
Hiring a security contractor like Titan Security Europe can be an effective way to ensure that you have high-quality security guards. Security contractors will normally have a large workforce of experienced security guards that have been trained to a high standard. They also have robust vetting procedures in place to ensure that their personnel are suitable for the job.
Hiring a security contractor can offer a more cost-effective solution than employing and managing security guards in-house. By hiring a reputable security contractor to handle your security needs, you can make sure you have high-quality security guards without the cost and administrative burden of scheduling and managing them yourself.
Security Guard and Recruitment Services – Titan Security Europe
We can assist you whether you are contracting out your security or recruiting your own guards.
We receive and process hundreds of applications from around the UK, across Europe, and even further abroad. Because of this, we have a large and up-to-date list of people looking for work and also offer services for hiring and training security guards.
Security Guard Services
You might prefer to benefit from our contracted security guard services. These are based on more than three decades of experience operating throughout Europe. By going the contract route you get:
- Highly trained and top-quality security guards
- Resource and time savings
- Peace of mind knowing that your security is professionally managed and that you can concentrate on the important task of running your business
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