I belong to an organization called PRIVATE OFFICER INTERNATIONAL, which focuses on security and security training.
I recently received a release of information from POI regarding injuries and deaths of security officers for the year 2012. It’s eye opening.
Officers on Duty – 112 deaths
Workplace violence directed at Security-70,000 incidents
Injuries and assaults increased 17% from prior year
Breakdown of perpetrators by age and gender
Male – 103
Female – 9
Median Age – 46
Youngest – 19
Oldest – 88
Most dangerous places to work
Armored car companies
Retail stores (Convenience stores)
Hospital Emergency rooms
The above sites are where security is the first line of protection. In addition, they are exposed to assaults directed toward them personally.
What this means is that security guards deserve the respect of the people they protect, and that security companies should be accountable for the training these guards receive. In addition, the establishments that utilize the services of security guard companies should do their due diligence in regards to the hiring process. They also should see to it that those hired to protect that specific organization are fully on board with the expectations of the firm, the layout of the building, have all needed equipment and human resource assistance, as well as anything else necessary for them to do their job well. In other words, if an organization is going to hire security guards, the in-house training process needs to thorough, and the outfit cannot be in the mindset of getting “cheap help.”
The stigma toward security guards needs to end, these people need to be treated as professionals, and paid as such.
I have been an advocate for state licensing, in which any person wanting to enter the security field would need to pass a state approved aptitude test, along with a state background check.
Each security company needs to have proof of training for each guard on file, and have a state run review at least yearly to make sure all employees are in compliance.
Some people might find this extreme, but would you want a possible felon or someone not trained, or even incapable of doing the job watching over your assets?
I am not suggesting that trained personnel will not make errors or not be injured while on duty, but with the proper training, it would narrow the margin greatly. I know that Alabama is making changes in the way security is addressed in this state, and these changes are for the good. We at Madison Security are licensing our security officers and there will be a training module that needs to be followed precisely. Now that the state is doing its job, let’s educate the clients hiring security guards, and help them understand that they need to look at these people as professionals, as well as be willing to compensate as such.
One more problem–I have seen security officers in their uniform looking like they just got out of bed, or their uniform does not fit. This again is the problem of the security firm they work for. This lack of respect for the image a security guard projects does not sit well in the public eye. It makes the public think that all this guard does is provide a way for the security company to make money. Not all, but quite a few treat their people this way, which adds to the stereotype.
There are two major problems that most security guards will complain about: their wages and that their check is wrong. They will say that the company they are protecting does not care. Again, this is the person protecting your assets, and they deserve better.
Changes are coming, not soon enough.