While law enforcement agents like police officers are trained to respond to criminal activities after they have been done, security guards are trained to prevent them from happening. The presence of security guards is one of the reasons why this world is still a good place to live in. Imagine a world without guards and you will see how disastrous it could be. Imagine your nearby shopping mall without security guards and all you would see is chaos. There would no order, no queues and no discipline.
Security guards have to go through a strict process and training, which teaches them both the basic and complex techniques and skills of maintaining peace. As preventing crime is their job, they have to face burglars, muggers, shoplifters and other criminals which can be life threatening at times. All the security guards have to be both mentally and physically fit to perform well in their job. Moreover, they have to keep up with the advanced technology, as most of the surveillance systems are electronic and highly advanced.
Security guards have a number of duties and responsibilities most of which requires them to spend a number of hours standing without even taking breaks. While some tasks are not tiring, most of them are strenuous and requires a lot of energy and commitment.
Duties and Responsibilities
Stay visible – It is one of the most important factors, which help prevent thieves and other criminals to make any move. Staying visible makes muggers and others think more than twice before stealing anything as they know about the serious consequences they are going to face if caught by the guards. This is probably the easiest way to prevent theft and other dastardly acts.
Observe and report – A security guard must not relax even after a criminal activity has been taken care of. It is important that he observes and makes sure that there would no further issues. Moreover, it is his duty to inform the concerned people above him about the situation.
Contact police and fire department – In case there is an armed robbery, which involves deadly weapons far more dangerous than the guard’s gun (if he has been given any), he would not be able to handle the situation by himself. However, he should call the police immediately. Similarly, if there fire due to gas leakage or anything else, he should contact the fire department without any further ado.
Be vigilant – A security guard has to look and watch out for anything that might possibly cause harm. This not only involves looking for thieves and burglars but also for things like gas leak, naked wires, shattered glass etc. He should be able to sense when someone is trying to distract him. Excellent hearing ability is also necessary as it helps a security guard to sense if there is anything wrong.
Receive guests – Sometimes when security guards are present at an entrance, they have to double as receptionists too as they are the first to meet guests. This is why it is important that security guards should have a friendly approach. Apart from keeping the places safe for guests, they might also have to show them the way. He might also have to ask the visitors to show their ID cards or invitations. As this can seem rude to some people, the security guard should make it comforting.
Respond spontaneously and correctly – If any criminal activity takes place, the guard should act fast to control the situation. Different situations would require the guard to react differently so he should be prepared for almost anything as in serious events, people rely on them the most.
Maintain order and discipline – Security guards are also responsible for making sure all the rules set by the employer are being followed. This can include checking the visitors and guests at entrance, receiving them etc. This also involves allowing only those people with appointments and dealing with others. They should also have the ability to calm people down in case of emergencies. This helps prevent stampedes and other dangerous outcomes of an emergency.
Share opinions and give tips – As a security guard is much more aware of the problems, there is a high chance that he would know about precautions that his employers could take. He should stay in touch with the employers and share his opinions with them to avoid various dangerous activities.
Other duties – Apart from watching out for thieves and discipline is maintained, a security guard often has other duties too including answering phone calls, receiving and sending messages via both e-mail and phone for his employers.
Patrolling – If a security guard is working at a residential society or a college dorm, he would have to patrol the area to make sure the residents or students are safe and secure. Some guards are given motorbikes and even cars for patrolling depending on how expanded the area is.
Keeping record – It is important that security guards keep a track and record of everything including cars. He should also monitor all the cars using CCTV cameras and monitor screens.
Remove trespassers – If he sees any trespassers in a no-go zone, he should immediately approach them and make them leave. As this can get serious at times, he should carry defense equipment with him all the time.
Investigate – If there is any suspicious activity going on, he should investigate it cleverly and without making a scene or being too obvious.
Inspect windows and locks – A security guard should make sure all windows, locks and even doors are in perfect working conditions as this ensures further safety.
Lock the building – In certain situations, it becomes necessary to check all the visitors or guests to prevent certain people from escaping. In such situations, the security guards have to lock and secure all the exits.
Skills and Abilities needed
Active listening – It is important that a security guard has a good hearing ability. He should give full attention to what his employer or other people say to him. Security guards should also ask question in case they do not understand anything. It also involves detecting the differences between different sounds with different pitches. Furthermore, they should also be able to recognize the speech and voice of other people.
Clear speech – A security guard should have a clear and convincing speech. He should be able to convey his message to others effectively and quickly. He should also be able to share and explain his ideas to the higher authorities or to the employer.
Reading comprehension – The ability to read and understand sentences and short notes is a must-have.
Writing – Should be able to write down sentences or jot down points according to the needs of the audience.
Decision making and judging – Should be able to consider the factors, which can make any given situation better. Should be able to differentiate between what is wrong and what is right. He should use logic in solving every issue. Furthermore, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions is necessary. It involves both inductive and deductive reasoning, which would require them to either combine pieces of information or use basic laws to reach a conclusion.
Time management – Punctuality is one of the most important skills security guards need to possess. Moreover, they should be able to switch between different tasks and manage time accordingly.
Proper use of safety equipment – This refers to the skills of using different equipment including guns, defense shield, radio, computer, CCTV camera etc.
Selective Attention – It is the ability to focus on one thing or a task without letting anything distract. Learning – understanding and excelling in new methods for solving both current and future problems.
Teaching – Every guard should know how to give instructions and train others. He should be able to give brief description about his tasks to those learning from him.
Identifying problems – It is the ability to sense if there is anything wrong and has to be corrected. He should not ignore any issues and problems that might rise. It might also involve only identifying the problem and not solving it as it could be out of his jurisdiction.
Near and Far vision – It is important that the guard is able to see and notice details at both close and distant range. A clear vision allows him to judge the situation better.
Service orientation – Should be looking for people to help and provide service to.
English Language – A good knowledge of English language is mandatory. It involves the knowledge of sentence structures and grammar. Moreover, meaning, spelling and right pronunciation of words should also be known.
Government and Law – A security guard should be well aware of security laws. It also requires them to have complete knowledge of all related laws, legal codes and procedures etc. This not only helps them work according to the law but also keeps them aware of their boundaries and limits.
Customer service – It is the knowledge of the principles and procedures of offering customer services. This allows them to deal with customers and others in a proper manner. It even helps them asses and evaluate customer satisfaction, which points out their strengths and weaknesses.
Clerical knowledge – This requires security guards to know how to manage files and other data for future use. This also helps them know more about their employer’s policies and way of work. All basic but necessary office terminologies and tasks are cleared in this.
Public safety – The knowledge of safety equipment, strategies and policies to promote a safe environment is necessary for a security guard.
High school diploma – This requirement depends on various factors including the place of work. We have included this in this list only because most employers and companies looking for security guards prefer those who have a completed at least their high school studies.
Trained – It is important for security guards to be trained. They should know how to deal with First AID kits in case they have to use them in an emergency. Moreover, they should also know how to defend themselves in case of an attack from an outrageous crowd. If the security guard is an armed one, he should know when and how to use a gun properly. He should also carry a license for the gun.
Familiar with new technology – This involves using different security cameras and controlling them. He should also know how to other surveillance systems.
Certificates – Once the training is complete, a guard receives certificate and is registered as a security officer. Almost all employers look for such certified security guards as there is no or little training those guards would need. Such guards are trained for all relevant tasks.
Experience – A proven experience certificate is one of the most important requirements. This ensures that the guard is already aware of the different situations and tasks he would have to deal with.
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Salary and Bonuses
According to a research carried out in April 2017, the average annual salary of a security guard is $29,000. However, it fluctuates between $25,000 and $34,000. The salary depends on a number of factors including minimum wage rates, number of hours, job requirements and place of work. It also depends on the level of education and experience and the skill set of the candidate. The minimum hourly wage rate for security guards is somewhere around $11. Most security guards are satisfied with their jobs as not only they get work satisfaction but also some benefits including bonuses etc. Some companies even give their security guards health insurance including dental coverage too.
It is because of the security guards that people go to sleep at night without worrying about their cars, stores, offices, warehouses etc. Security guards not only keep our belongings safe during the day but also stay up all night looking after them and making sure no one steals or damages them. They keep their routine disturbed so that we can keep ours perfect. We should give them all the respect they deserve, as this world would become a dangerous place without them.