Security guards can provide a favorable first impression to customers and visitors, and a security guards are often the first person a client or employee interacts with when arriving at a location. Guards are also the main line of defense in protecting people, property and products. In this role, they provide a significant sense of security to employees and protect businesses.

However, non-professionals and low-performing guards can create an image of carelessness that negatively reflects on an organization. Ineffective guards are unlikely to be adequate deterrents to security incidents or to respond effectively in an emergency. Guards can also become an expensive resource if their usefulness is not maximized.

Fortunately, minimizing the chances of poor performance and poor service delivery is possible. A small investment of time in targeted surveillance and a show of interest is usually all that is required to secure a top guard force.

Guard program successes and failures

In addition to enhancing an organization’s image and protecting assets, dedicated security guards save lives. Survivors of the November 2015 terrorist attack at the Bataclan Theater in Paris, France, credit a security guard by rescuing hundreds of people. The attack killed 90, but while the gunmen were firing, a guard remained in the building, guiding the people to the emergency exits. One survivor said, “He could run. Everyone was running for their lives. But he did not. He took care of us. ”

Unfortunately, not all guards fit this heroic profile. Two security guards who worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball team were charged in January 2017 with stealing the team’s assets and reselling them online. The two men are accused of using masks and gloves to enter an enclosed area of ​​equipment to steal uniforms and souvenirs between January 2013 and February 2016. To catch the thieves, the team had to set up cameras to monitor the storage.

The nature of the industry creates vulnerabilities

Global demand for private security services was estimated at about $ 244 billion in the US in 2016, according to market research firm Freedonia, and security guarding providers accounted for more than half of this revenue. Security companies are a dominant industry in many countries, with multinational, national and local providers.

The global “security” market is very competitive and intensive. Guard companies may find it difficult to attract and retain skilled personnel, resulting in companies appointing guards who do not have the required training and may not have sufficient control. These are important vulnerabilities. Untrained guards are unlikely to perform their duties fully. Not-Thoroughly inspected guards may pose a security threat. Manpower shortages can also result in improper guarding of a contract.

How to optimize the service

Getting the most out of a security program requires effort, but the benefits of presenting a professional image and protecting your business or organization are well worth it.

The following are industry-recognized steps you can take to optimize guard efficiency:

Ask the guard company to provide documentation that verifies that the guards are licensed for security work and have been properly checked. Make sure the guard company carries out criminal records and employment checks on all contracted guards. Ask to see the training records of the assigned guards and check the training sessions if possible. Make sure training and industry guidance are provided.
Make sure there are written instructions outlining the guard’s responsibilities and that the guards know their contents. This includes confirming that the guards understand and are able to perform emergency procedures and protocols.
Guard supervisors should plan and conduct routine and emergency protocol drills. Key staff members must attend or participate in the exercises.
Check regularly to see that all security posts are fully staffed by approved security guards. Inform the guard company immediately for any deficiencies or anomalies in personnel and verify that they have been corrected. Check to see if the next charges accurately reflect staff shortages.
Show that the security program has the support of senior and top management. Consider having written announcements from management that make it clear that security guards are an important part of the company.
Interact regularly with security guards to find out about their concerns while performing their duties.

Beware of very low offers

Be careful with security service providers who offer very low prices. Profit margins in the security industry are very small and very low bidders may tend to improve their profitability by “sculpting corners” in guard quality (very low salary to guards), control and training. This usually leads to poor performance. Accepting a competitive but fair offer can help avoid these problems.

Supervision and commitment are worth it

A well-organized security program can contribute significantly to an organization’s reputation, productivity and success. Effective security guards can detect emerging situations and intervene before emergencies occur.

There is no magic ingredient to optimizing the performance of a guard force. It simply takes effort, attention and commitment from all parties.