Updated: May 12, 2021
This is an interesting topic within the security industry as training has always been evolving to meet the ever-changing security threat levels as well as the innovation of the technology. Therefore, some companies may have been keeping up to date with the changes but some still are behind and it is important to understand it.
Businesses expect that when they have honoured a contract to a security company to secure their premises that security officers are trained to the highest standards. Depending on which part of the world you are operating or living in, but you will find that each security company has a different training program and each country has different legislation or has no legislation on the private security industry.
There are various business sectors such as financial, retail, transportation, warehouse and distribution, hospitality, manufacturing, diplomatic, Oil and Gas, Mining and agriculture which the security officer must be trained by the company despite having attained any license. It is often seen that reducing training cut costs and maximise profit for the company. This will risk losing business and reputation if a serious incident occurs and the officer is found to have been improperly trained.
A security manager or a company representative is responsible for ensuring that the security team is trained to the highest standards because the officers need to carry out their roles following the legislation and international standards. It has been observed that often some security companies will try to impress the client during the tender negotiation but fail to deliver fully trained officers.
Most companies have internal policies on security and hire the best security managers to oversee the selection and training of security officers. But other firms rely on their security representative who is not a security professional to make the decision and ensuring that the security officers provided by the hiring firms are trained. Companies that have no experienced security manager will be affected and exposed to security risks for hiring unqualified security officers.
The best practice is to conduct your research and hire the best in the industry. During your tendering process, you must visit the security companies their training centres and training manuals for verification and validation. Also, speak to the security officers and supervisors and ask them about training and regular training that have been provided by their company. You can ask to see file records and certification issues to the officers.
You will find that most security companies in the world have the best training standards on top of the certification training and have regular training for the officers. However, it comes at a price and doesn’t go for cheap to save cost by recruiting a firm that has no proper internal training which consequently will cost you more if an incident occurred and the officer is negligible for carrying out his role.
Security Officer Certification
The security officer is not a gate opener or receptionist. The role is very demanding and the officer’s responsibility is to ensure that people and assets are protected at all times. Other roles involving security such as handling a firearm, alarm response and handling dogs which require training to the highest standards and the officers selected to carry out the roles must meet the requirements.
In Europe and the United States of America, security officers are expected to attend at least one week of security officers training and apply for a license to work in the industry which carries out background checks before the officer is hired by a security company. For smaller companies wanting to save money, they won’t induct the officer because he/she has attained a security license.
Compared to under-developed countries, there are no regulated bodies to reinforce security officers to undergo training to the international standards. Selection and training of officers are often very poor and poor quality of security officers provided which often lead to insider threat and costing assets and reputation of businesses. Again, the Security manager or a company representative will have a challenging task to ensure that the officers are trained to the highest standards to reduce the risks and ensure that staff and assets are protected.
Other countries in Africa are now introducing new laws regarding a private security industry and all companies must comply regarding the selection and training of security officers. They are taking steps to improve the security industry following terrorist incidents in the country as well as securing protecting businesses and preserving lives.
However, the training is different which covers legislation, understanding of the industry, security officers responsibility, conflict management and fire safety. The officer doesn’t need to be trained in first aid even though he/she will be the first person to respond in case of an emergency. Upon obtaining their license, security companies accept them and deploy him/her anywhere. The license runs for 3 years and renewable afterwards without refresher training and there are strict guidelines for maintaining the certification. But the training is not sufficient due to ever-changing security threat levels and the responsibility lies on a security company to continue to develop the security officer. There are no on-job training to assess the officer performance and this is up to the security company to carry it out.
The security industry is changing worldwide and companies must adapt to the changes to ensure that the training of security officers meets these changes.
It is recommended that at least security officers should have 48 hours of training within the first 3 months and refreshed afterwards. Again, security officers do not attend refresher courses as well as on job training and they are not up to date with security threats levels.
Case studies have suggested that proper selection, screening and training procedures to the international standards will not only motivate security officers with knowledge to do their job but also helps to prevent crime and protecting your business. Cost for training should not be a question as at the end of the day your reputation will be damaged and cost your business. If the security officers are not properly trained and it will mean that he/she also poorly paid. How can this officer be motivated to carry out their role effectively?
Conclusively, a security manager must ensure that despite the security officer attending the required training, the additional training according to the business he/she deployed is carried out and a training plan after three months and continuous training is prepared for the officer to deliver quality service and equip him/her with the required knowledge to the highest standards. You must not assume that the hired company have carried out the training without checking.
There are independent training companies that can assist and deliver training for your company if you are struggling to train your officers to the required standards.