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  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • Jul 24, 2022

Are our Security Guardians Capable?

The uniformed security industry, much like most industries at this time, are going through a labour shortage. It is getting increasingly harder to find staff members, let alone to find and hire motivated, professional uniformed security team members. This is a fact that must be addressed by professional security managers, rather than expending energy on lamenting on the work ethics of the industry.

Routine Activity Theory (one of the main components of Environmental Criminology) states that, for crime to be committed, 3 factors must be present:

1. An accessible target

2. The absence of a capable guardian

3. The presence of a motivated offender

A capable guardian is usually defined as either an object or person (usually with a human element) who, by their mere presence, would deter potential offenders from perpetrating criminal activity on the site.

Some would argue that a camera system could be considered a capable guardian. Opponents to this statement would argue that, with some of the population wearing masks, the popularity of hoodies, and the fact that the cameras may not be monitored in real time, they may not pass the “capable” portion of the Capable Guardian statement. Also, there are those that may state that when we look at the human factor, we also must evaluate the ability of the security guards to surpass the basic threshold level of "capable". As most know, to work as a security guard in Ontario, you must attend a 40-hour course and then pass a provincial exam (as well as have a valid first aid certificate). At 3D Security and Response Services (3DSRS), it is our professional belief that this is the point where the training begins, not where it ends.

At the risk of sounding facetious, it is our belief that there are security clients out there who would argue that some of the guards that they have received at their site do not meet the very simple “capable” threshold. There are reports of wearing earbuds while on patrol, sleeping while on duty, being so engrossed with their cell phone that they are not aware of a person right in front of them, and the list goes on. Our belief is that this is a failure of the supervisors and managers, rather than the employees. An often-repeated mantra is “What does not get checked, does not get done”. Our goal is to find the problems and address them before they either result in a serious security breach, or before the client discovers the issue and raises a complaint (or worse).

It is a firm belief at 3DSRS that professional security guards are not discovered, they are cultivated and trained. This is one of the reasons that we started the 3DSRS Mentoring Program to help younger team members get the experienced and training on supervising other staff. It is very common in the security industry to see staff being promoted simply because of time served in the company, without any training on how to properly manage a security team.

The scarcity of the labour pool makes it challenging for Uniformed Security companies to hire professional security guards, but it is not a challenge without a solution. At 3DSRS, we use our supervisors to evaluate new team members and look for positions that would be a good fit. Once we have found a good fit for them, then we ensure that they receive on-going training to ensure that they are growing within the company. Currently, we have 6 guards working through a 10-part mini-series on obtaining their Capable Guardian patch. These sections include leadership in the field, dealing with emergency situations, report and note writing, and many others. In addition to being a way to keep the team motivated and learning, we have also found it to be a great team-building exercise and enjoy the group discussions.