John Briggs – Manned Guarding: One size doesn’t fit all

John Briggs, Operations Director of First Security
John Briggs, Operations Director of First Security

In his latest blog for Infologue, John Briggs, managing director for First Security, explains how security companies can select the most suitable security officers for different environments.

“When it comes to manned guarding, one solution doesn’t fit all; each environment and location has different requirements for both levels of security and skills.

“The way security providers select the most suitable officers for their clients is really by understanding their clients. They need to understand the priorities of their clients business, and the policies and drivers as to how the client expects employees, contractors and visitors to be welcomed, treated and protected in their buildings.

“This will then offer the security provider an idea of some of the required skills or physical attributes of the required security staff. This in turn will highlight the officers that are best suited to this work and whether they already have the skills that can perhaps be enhanced with further training.

“In some instances, officers may possess the same level of skill in the same areas, but their appearance alone may make them more suited to one environment over another and these officers need to be recruited and trained with this in mind.

Assessing the environment

“There are some places that actively encourage people to enter, such as galleries, theatres and shopping centres, and other areas where it is the role of security to actively discourage people from entering such as trading floors, government departments, warehousing, and logistics.

“In an open environment such as a shopping centre, security officers must not deter visitors; they will need to be approachable as 99% of their day will probably be about helping people rather than offering security, such as reuniting a lost child with their parents.

“In a closed environment such as a high security bank or office building, the security officer has more control over who can gain access. It is likely that security officers will also become familiar with those who frequent the building, which may make it easier to spot any suspicious activity or potential threats. Closed environments do sometimes have guests too, so guards do need to be able to be friendly and warm whilst still making them feel safe.

Delivering the tailored solution

“The impression people get from a security officer can alter their perception of the place they are in. Staff in buildings can impact a company’s ‘brand image’, and the security officer has a role to play in this. They need to give the correct first impression to make visitors feel positive about their surroundings, and that means officers must tailor their own behaviour and actions to align themselves with the company brand. The officers on site must be emulating and protecting the brand of the client whilst delivering security to the building and its occupants.

Widening the scope

“We have seen the security industry evolve from just offering physical protection to buildings and people to now including an array of added value services to better protect and serve clients, their people and property.

“Managing safety, assessing risk, delivering first aid, offering customer service, identifying terrorist activities, resolving conflict are all a part of what makes up the role of a security officer

“Allowing personnel to effectively deal in each of the situations comes from quality training.
Training security personnel across a variety of skills allows the security provider to widen the scope of services they can offer clients. Training will also ensure the security provider can deliver the services required across different locations and environments.

“In summary, the security provider has the responsibility to establish what the client wants or needs from their security; enhance and protect the client’s brand, recruit the right people, and train in the right skills or behaviours for that role. The personal attributes of each individual can play the biggest part in developing the most effective security team; a well trained, well informed and well respected security team.”

First Security, part of Interserve, the leading support services provider, has a reputation for exceptional service and excellence in manned guarding and security solutions. Our team of trained security professionals work across a range of prestigious client sites, both within London and nationwide. The eighth top security provider in the UK, First Security employs 2,500 manned guards and has a turnover in excess of £70 million.

Interserve Website

First Security Website

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