By Lt Col Alex Cann
Deputy Command Operations Officer
Headquarters, Southern Command,
Ghana Armed Forces
Technology and development have affected protection of assets globally, however, the place of security guards remains critical in the protection of assets space, and security guards play essential role as part of the security systems in most organisations.
This is because though a number of equipment have been introduced to do some of the jobs of the security guard, there are some roles that can only be performed effectively by security guards.
These roles include report writing, searching and screening, calling police or fire department, patrols, authorizing entrance and departure of employees, parking management, monitoring control rooms and escorts etc.
Due to cost implications few institution or companies recruit, train and manage their own security guards. The function of guards has been outsourced in many organisations, but although this is good it comes with its own challenges. The tasks of these guards are to provide physical protection of the properties of the institution which contract them. Unfortunately, some private security companies employ the wrong people who sometimes even fail to report for duty.
Some companies employ or assign guards at their premise for other tasks, which is prevalent in the banking sector in some countries. Some of these guards are sometimes observed at banking halls, either helping customers to fill their pay-in or withdrawal slips, with disregarded to their core duties, while others are also employed as messengers.
The guards are willing to run these errands because, they are sometimes given cash tips at the end of the day, unfortunately, when these non-security tasks are taken on, it does not allow the guards to do their work properly, and this puts the occupants of these premises at risk and vulnerable to the threats they have been employed, either to reduce or eliminate. Proper supervision can help in reducing these practices.
Guard force management is one of the challenges of private security companies, however, when guards are not properly deployed to work in a staggering manner, they easily get fatigued and hence, sleep on duty. This is sad because some of these guards are seen sleeping on duty even during the day; guards who sleep on duty, create insecurity for the people and properties they are to protect.
One of the best ways of ensuring that criminals are not recruited into an organization is through background checks: Backgrounds checks are not foolproof but it assists to a large extent, in ensuring that bad guys are eliminated at an early stage of any recruitment process.
Background checks are not the responsibilities of security guards to be employed, but if it is not done properly, wrong people would be recruited, who later become threats themselves, instead of protecting people from these same threats.
Security guards require certain equipment to work effectively; some of which include baton, radios, handcuffs, whistle, torchlight, Tasers and others. These equipment are required for a purpose, therefore when the security guard does not have them, it can create insecurity for the people and properties they are tasked to protect.
POST GUARD ORDERS
Post-guard orders are formal instructions given to security guards before they are deployed. Much as contents of the post-guard are critical, how they are delivered and who delivers them, are more important.
With the advent of time, post-guards need to be reviewed to meet current trends or situation. Based on the education and background of the guards, post guard may be written in the language the guards understand. When security guards are not properly briefed, they will not execute their tasks as expected and may create insecurities for the people and properties, they have been contracted to protect, including themselves.
Physical appearance is important because of the messages it carries. A security guard who appears unkempt, most probably, may not be a good security guard and would be a bad representation of the company they work for, for guards are required to appear clean at all times.
Areas of emphasis should be uniform, haircuts, trimming of beard; the appearance of the security guard sends a message out, which serves as a confidence booster for the people they protect. When security guards appear unkempt, they create insecurities for the people they are tasked to protect.
A drunk security guard is as dangerous as the threat he/she has been paid to prevent from achieving their objective. It is professionally wrong for guards to go to work drunk, but some security guards do so anyway. There is a high tendency for a drunk security guard to sleep whiles on duty.
Additionally, the guard may not be able to either use the equipment provided for him to work with, or may misconduct himself when dealing with clients. Drunk security guards create insecurity where they work
Training makes a huge difference in every endeavour; poorly trained security guards are liabilities to both the company that recruits them, as well as those they work for.
One of the major challenges of the private security industry in Ghana, is poor training of security guards and some of the factors that account for this include huge operational costs and high turnover and qualified training staff.
Poorly trained security guards are deficient in professional orientation, therefore poorly trained security guards create insecurities where they work.