613-908-8888 1-888-299-8903

Ottawa Location Toronto Location

  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • Aug 19, 2021

Private Security and Investigative Services

According to the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, Security Guards are designated to protect people, property, and intelligence. However, the reality for many is that they are there to observe people, property, and intelligence! Many companies (usually big-box organizations) have opted to have a “hands-off” approach when it comes to security. Understandably, this keeps both the training and insurance costs low. A company can pull anyone off the street, sit them in front of a camera, and say “when/if something goes wrong, call 9-1-1”.

In a time of escalating crime, with the police funding at risk of being cut, it is necessary for private security to step up and not take the lazy way out. Understandably, it is time-consuming and frustrating to weed through the candidates (we have had candidates state in the interview that they need to be posted to a job site with internet so that they can do their homework while they work) to find the gems, but it is worth it once they become your team.

Once you have found the diamond in the rough, it is necessary to train them properly.

What we have adopted is the “left of bang” mentality, in that it is always better to deal with an issue before it becomes an event. But having said that, the guards need to be prepared for both the event and the aftermath.

Ideally, a situation will be resolved before it escalates into what we term a “Security Event”. In order for that to happen, guards must be trained to recognize the warning signs of violence and to have the ability to try to de-escalate the situation. This is accomplished by situational awareness training, which teaches the guards to recognize pre-attack indicators (PAIN) and make tactical decisions based on the information that they are getting. Another important aspect, when dealing with people, is the training in Verbal Judo, Mental Health First Aid (to aid people in mental distress), and De-Escalation Communication. Combining these soft skills with the ability to recognize signs of violence will increase the odds of the guard being able to defuse the issue before it explodes.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst: despite our best efforts, events will still occur. With training and practice, the guards will not freeze up when the worst is realized. With use of force training, guards are taught simple self-defense, the criminal code and what their limitations as guards are, the Trespass to Property Act, and handcuffing / arresting techniques. This training is rounded out with more self-defense training in the guise of Defensive Tactics. We take the opportunity to use the development of these skills as a team-building exercise when we meet at the office to train on Saturday mornings.

Dealing with the aftermath of an event is just as important as dealing with the actual event. The province requires that all security guards have Emergency First Aid / CPR before they can obtain a security license. We have moved to providing Standard First Aid / CPR (a step higher) to our team members and have certified some of the supervisors as Medical First Responders (MFR). It is equally important for the guards to capture all the information at the time of the event for their reports, as these documents may need to be reviewed at a later date. For this reason, we take the time to expand on the subject of professional report writing and ensure that the guard’s notebook, daily activity log, and incident reports are professionally written and maintained.

For security providers, it is very easy to take the lazy way out and say “no one will pay for experienced security” and that people will always select the lowest bidder regardless of service levels. There is some truth to that (believe me, I know - I work in condominiums!). But there is an adage that says, “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the one you want”. We believe that there are people/companies that exist (or will eventually) that, through either their own foresight, or in the aftermath of a disastrous security event, will appreciate the value of professional private security.

Let’s be prepared to service that need and increase the perception of private security, rather than confirm the general opinion that security guards are nothing better than a neighborhood watch.