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  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • Dec 08, 2023

Moving Beyond Observe and Report Security Guards.

In recent days, there has been considerable press given (although some may say not enough) to the plight of the Security Guard and the injuries and fatalities that have taken place. As professional security providers, we have a duty to both the industry and our team members to review these terrible incidents and work to a resolution. As we have previously written, at 3D Security and Response, we strongly advocate for the implementation of graduated licensing for security guards - thereby eliminating the “one size fits all” approach.

In our opinion, one of the areas lacking, which aligns with the graduated licensing, is the arena of Training.

We have observed that many guards do not undertake any additional training after they receive their security license. Others may undergo some additional training in the form of Use of Force, (or similar “restraint” programs), first aid, etc. This may be done annually or every three years. One of our core beliefs at 3DSRS is that this is not enough training if you expect the guard to make a difference in the event of a security or emergency incident. Under pressure, in a real (or No Duff) situation, a guard must fall back on muscle memory. In our Verbal Judo course, we refer to this as ACT, or Actions Consistent with Training. If there is no training, then there will be no actions, thus moving back to an: Observe what is happening and Report on it afterwards approach.

Enter 3DSRS Engage and Contain Guard…

The Engage and Contain guard has received specific physical and mental training to prepare them to evaluate the situation and act accordingly (consistent with training). First, it must be said that the “engage” is not meant to be construed as the military definition (to engage the enemy), but simply refers to a professional security assessment and, if warranted, conversation / intervention. Using Situational Awareness, Verbal Judo/De-escalation, Threat Assessment, etc. - these guards have the confidence to size up the situation and determine a course of action to Contain or mitigate any risks. In order to contain, the guard must have both the physical capacity and the training (defensive tactics, use of force, emergency management, first aid, etc.) to successfully accomplish this objective. In addition, they must be trained/cautioned not to exceed either their authority or their training. This is a matter of seeking to eliminate ego from the equation and treat the situation objectively.

The 3DSRS Engage and Contain curriculum consists of 3 disciplines: Tactics, Communication and Reporting.

The Tactics component consists of primarily the physical skills to adequately perform the task(s). Included is the Use of Force continuum, as well as information on the Trespass to Property Act. In order to pass this portion, guards must have a practical knowledge on how to physically defend themselves and contain a threat. The training is not seeking to turn the guards into MMA fighters, but instead concentrates on their safety against common attacks and weapons. In addition, the physical skills include Security specific first aid and emergency management training.

Communication is also considered a critical component of the Engage and Contain trifecta. Guards must be taught, and practice, how to engage with different people and situations. We believe that this is a critical portion of creating assertive guards, as opposed to timid guards who do not have the confidence to engage in a situation, and therefore turn a blind eye to all but the most egregious situations. Once again, this training must be consistent and cannot fall into a “one solution for every problem” mindset. Guards must be taught to size up a situation, keeping the golden rule in mind (“Security Responder goes home safe at the end of their shift”) and respond appropriately. Understanding situational awareness, de-escalation, pre-attack indicators, etc., will be an important factor in the guard’s communication.

The final element of the Engage and Contain curriculum is the reporting. Due to the enhanced training that these guards have undergone, it is more likely that they will be engaging in more complex situations that require proper and fulsome reports. Ensuring that all the information is captured and available to the clients is imperative. If the guards are not able to articulate the reasons that they engaged in a certain situation objectively and professionally, then they are a liability to the client and to the security company. Being able to report the actions taken and the reasoning for the actions is crucial and cannot be neglected.

At 3DSRS, we are completing a 12-week course where the guards have been training, as a group, twice a week. In addition to identifying leaders and acquiring skills, this has also been a team-building period and it has been gratifying to get to know the guards better and to see the trust and respect developing between them. Although we are wrapping up this session shortly, we are looking forward to incorporating the lessons learned and continuing with this training in 2024. It is one of our core beliefs that this type of training is necessary to enhance the industry perception of private security and keep our team members safer!