There has been some talk in the media this week about how the security industry is starting to take the place of the traditional police officer. We have already seen security staff being recruited to do “front of house” roles in police stations and now we are seeing security guards being employed to walk the streets of Manchester to keep city centre stores and customers safe.
So what is the big deal and why is it worrying people? The main argument seems to be that security guards may not be correctly trained and vetted to carry out quasi-police type roles. The other point which has been raised is that the security industry is taking over because the police force can no longer afford to do the job we are all used to them doing.
It is true that police budgets have been cut dramatically and the police force has been decimated by redundancies. The police seem to spend much of their time engaged in paperwork and office based roles and are no longer on the streets where they should be. The recruitment of security trained individuals seems to be the way that local councils and the police force themselves are getting around the issue of low levels of enforcement on our streets.
But is there any truth to the question that security staff may not be correctly trained or vetted? If you are looking into becoming a security guard you will already know that you must adhere to strict rules before you can get an SIA licence. You need to have your background looked into and any convictions are likely to mean you will be turned down unless they are spent and were minor and you can expect that you will have this level of scrutiny each and every time you reapply for your licence. The SIA licencing and checking system is rigorous, so you cannot simply walk into a security job with a dodgy background.
When it comes to security training, this is also carefully monitored. The SIA take their Approved Contractor Scheme very seriously and any company which is offering security training must also adhere to strict rules. The training itself must be thorough and relevant to your role. Getting a security licence is not easy and you will be correctly trained for the security role you are going into, whether it is door supervising or CCTV operating.
So it appears that having security guards working in conjunction with the police is useful and safe for society. It increases the amount of security trained individuals on the streets, keeping us all sleeping easier in our beds. The police force need to tackle the issue of underfunding themselves, but employing security guards is certainly a way of doing this and it is a useful one.
Tags: city security, private guards, replacing police