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Security guards – Security guard Services

A security guard or security officer is usually a privately and formally employed person who is paid to protect property, assets, and/or people. Often, security officers are uniformed and act to protect property by maintaining a high visibility presence to deter illegal and/or inappropriate actions, observing (either directly, through patrols, or by watching alarm systems or video cameras) for signs of crime, fire or disorder; then taking action and/or reporting any incidents to their client, employer and emergency services as appropriate. Since at least the Middle Ages in Europe, the term watchman was more commonly applied to this function.

Functions and Duties
Many security firms and proprietary security departments practice the “detect, deter, observe and report” methodology. Security officers are not required to make arrests but have the authority to make a citizen’s arrest) or otherwise act as an agent of law enforcement at the request of a police officer, sheriff, etcetera.

In addition to the methodology mentioned above, a private security officer’s primary duty is the prevention and deterrence of crime. Security personnel enforce company rules and can act to protect lives and property. In fact, they frequently have a contractual obligation to provide these actions. Security officers are often trained to perform arrest and control procedures (including handcuffing and restraints), operate emergency equipment, perform first aid, CPR, take accurate notes, write detailed reports, and perform other tasks as required by the contractee they are serving. Many security officers are required to go through additional training mandated by the state for the carrying of weapons such as batons, firearms, and pepper spray (e.g. the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services in California has requirements that a license for each item listed must be carried while on duty). [1] Some officers are required to complete police certification for special duties. Positions are also set to grow in the U.S., with 350,000 new security jobs expected over the next decade.[2] In recent years, due to elevated threats of terrorism, most security officers are required to have bomb-threat training and/or emergency crisis training, especially those located in soft target areas such as shopping malls, schools, and any other area where the general public congregate.

One major economic justification for security personnel is that insurance companies (particularly fire insurance carriers) will give substantial rate discounts to sites which have a 24-hour presence; for a high risk or high value venue, the discount can often exceed the money being spent on its security program. This is because having security on site increases the odds that any fire will be noticed and reported to the local fire department before a total loss occurs. Also, the presence of security personnel (particularly in combination with effective security procedures) tends to diminish “shrinkage,” theft, employee misconduct and safety rule violations, property damage, or even sabotage. Many casinos hire security guards to protect money when transferring it from the casino to the casino’s bank.

Security personnel may also perform access control at building entrances and vehicle gates; meaning, they ensure that employees and visitors display proper passes or identification before entering the facility. Security officers are often called upon to respond to minor emergencies (lost persons, lockouts, dead vehicle batteries, etc.) and to assist in serious emergencies by guiding emergency responders to the scene of the incident, helping to redirect foot traffic to safe locations, and by documenting what happened on an incident report. Armed security officers are frequently contracted to respond as law enforcement until a given situation at a client location is under control and/or public authorities arrive on the scene (in California, this is referred to as 832 P.C. training, usually offered at academies and/or college campuses). [3]

Patrolling is usually a large part of a security officer’s duties. Often these patrols are logged by use of a guard tour patrol system, which require regular patrols. The most commonly used form used to be mechanical clock systems that required a key for manual punching of a number to a strip of paper inside with the time pre-printed on it. Recently, electronic systems have risen in popularity due to their light weight, ease of use, and downloadable logging capabilities [4]. Regular patrols are, however, becoming less accepted as an industry standard, as it provides predictability for the would-be criminal, as well as monotony for the security officer on duty. Random patrols are easily programmed into these systems, allowing greater freedom of movement and unpredictability. Global positioning systems are also easing their way into the market as a more effective means of tracking officer movement and patrol behavior.

Although security officers differ greatly from police officers, military personnel, federal agents/officers, and the like, the United States has a growing proportion of security personnel that have former police or military experience, including senior management personnel. On the other hand, some security officers, young people in particular, use the job as practical experience to use in applying to law enforcement agencies.
Types of security personnel and companies
Security personnel are classified as either of the following

“in-house” or “proprietary” (i.e. employed by the same company or organization they protect, such as a mall, theme park, or casino); formerly often called works police or security police in the United Kingdom
“contract,” working for a private security company which protects many locations.
“Public Security,” “Private Police Officers,” or security police
“Private Patrol Officers”, vehicle patrol officers that protect multiple client premises.
Industry terms for various security personnel include: Security guards, security agents, watchmen, security officers, safety patrol, Armed Security, Private Police, Company police, Loss Prevention, Bodyguards, Executive Protection Agents, or Access Managers. Other job titles in the security industry include dispatcher, receptionist, driver, supervisor, alarm responder, mall security officer, private patrol officer, Private Patrol Operator, and manager.

State and local governments sometimes regulate the use of these terms by law — for example, certain words and phrases that “give an impression that he or she is connected in any way with the federal government, a state government, or any political subdivision of a state government” are forbidden for use by California security licensees by Business and Professions Code Section 7582.26. So the terms “private homicide police” or “special agent” would be unlawful for a security licensee to use in California. Similarly, in Ontario, Canada, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act specifically prohibits private security personnel from using the terms detective, private detective, law enforcement, police, or officer. Recent changes to the act have also introduced restrictions on uniform and vehicle colours and markings to make private security personnel clearly distinctive from police personnel.
An American security officer posing.There is a marked difference between persons performing the duties historically associated with watchmen and persons who take a more active role in protecting persons and property. The former, often called “guards,” are taught the mantra “observe and report,” are minimally trained, and not expected to deal with the public or confront criminals. The latter are often highly trained, sometimes armed depending on contracts agreed upon with clientele, and are more likely to interact with the general public and to confront the criminal element. These employees tend to take pride in the title “Security Officer” or “Protection Officer” and disdain the label of “guard.” Ironically enough, there may be no relationship between duties performed and compensation — many mall “security officers” who are exposed to serious risks make less per hour than “industrial security guards” with less training and responsibility.[citation needed] However, there are now more positions in the security role that separate not just the titles, but the job itself. The roles have progressed and so have the areas for which security people are needed. All security jobs vary in pay and duties at present.

The term “agent” is particularly problematic in the security industry because it can describe not only a civil legal relationship between an employee and their employer or contractor (“agent of the owner” in California PC 602), but also describes a person in government service (“Special Agent Jones of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”) However we should then also consider the fact that this title is also made available to banking agents, loan agents and real estate agents. Security “agents” found in loss prevention and personal or executive protection (bodyguards) typically work in plainclothes, without a uniform, and are usually highly trained to act lawfully in direct defense of life and/or property. There is also confusion with bail enforcement agents, or as they are popularly known “bounty hunters,” who are sometimes regulated by the same agencies which regulate private security.

Security personnel are essentailly private citizens, and therefore are bound by the same laws and regulations as the citizenry they are contracted to serve, and therefore are not allowed to represent themselves as law enforcement under penalty of law. [5][6]
Licensing
Most states require a license to work as a security officer. [7] This license may include a criminal background check and/or mandated training requirements. Most security officers do not carry weapons and have the same powers of arrest as a private citizen, called a “private person” arrest, “any person” arrest, or “citizen’s arrest.” If weapons are carried, additional permits and training are usually required. Armed security personnel are generally used to protect sensitive sites such as government and military installations, armored money transports, banks (or other financial institutions), nuclear power plants, etc. However, armed security is quickly becoming a standard for vehicle patrol officers and on many other non-government sites. Armed private security is much rarer in Europe and some other countries (and unrealized in some, such as the United Kingdom). In developing countries (with host country permission), armed security composed mostly of ex-military personnel is often used to protect corporate assets, particularly in war-torn regions. In Canada, contract security guards are not armed. They are not permitted to carry a firearm, or any type of defensive weapon.[1] Nor are they allowed to carry handcuffs or other restraint devices without the proper training, which is in contrast to their “In-House Security” counterparts that have no restrictions or mandatory training in regards to handcuffs or restraint devices[citation needed].

As a requirement of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, the UK now requires all contract security guards to have a valid SIA (Security Industry Authority) license. Licenses are valid for three years and require the holders to undergo formal training, and are also to pass mandatory Criminal Records Bureau checks.

In Canada, private security falls under the jurisdiction of Canada’s ten provinces. The laws in all provinces require that contract security companies and their employees be licensed. [8] The requirements for licensing vary but many provinces require that security guards either successfully complete a training program before being issued a license or have previous experience as a peace officer (i.e. a police officer). In British Columbia contract Security Businesses, and Employees must be licensed, while “In-House” Security Organizations and Employees are currently exempt from Provincial Legislation. New Legislation is currently going through the legislative process to better regulate the Security Industry in BC. [citation needed]

In August 2007, Malaysia banned hiring of foreign security guards following a rape and murder of a student by a Pakistani security guard. [9]
Security officers and the police
Security personnel are not police officers, unless they are security police, but are often identified as such due to similar uniforms and behaviors, especially on private property. Security personnel in the U.S. derive their powers not from the state, as public police officers do, but from a contractual arrangement that give them ‘Agent of the Owner’ powers. This includes a nearly unlimited power to question with the absence of probable cause requirements that frequently dog public law enforcement officers, provided that the secuirity officer does not tread on the rights and liberties of others as guaranteed by the United Stated Constitution. This does not come without checks, however, as private security personnel do not enjoy the benefit of civil protection, as public law enforcement officers do, and can be sued directly for false arrests and illegal actions if they commit such acts.

Some jurisdictions do commission or deputize security officers and give them limited additional powers, particularly when employed in protecting public property such as mass transit stations. This is a special case that is often unique to a particular jurisdiction or locale. Additionally, security officers may also be called upon to act as an agent of law enforcement if a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, etc. is in immediate need of help and has no available backup.

Some security guard officers do reserve police powers and are typically employed directly by governmental agencies. Typically, these are sworn law enforcement personnel whose duties primarily involve the security of a government installation, and are also a special case. Other local and state governments occasionally enter into special contracts with security agencies to provide patrol services in public areas. These personnel are sometimes referred to as “private police officers.”

Sometimes police officers work as security personnel while not on duty. This is usually done for extra income, and work is particularly done in hazardous jobs such as bodyguard work and bouncers outside nightclubs. In some countries, including the United Kingdom, it is illegal for police officers to take private security work.

Except in these special cases, security personnel who misrepresent themselves as police officers are committing a crime. However, security personnel by their very nature often work in cooperation with police officials. Police are called in when a situation warrants a higher degree of authority to act upon reported observations that could not be directly acted upon safely by the security personnel.

In British Columbia, Canada contract Security Guards are NOT permitted to carry firearms (guns), batons, pepper spray, or handcuffs. [citation needed]The fine for doing so is $575,[citation needed] and the possibility of losing their Security License. Provincial Inspectors, designated as Special Provincial Constables conduct inspections to ensure compliance with Provincial Regulations. “In-House” Security organizations, and their employees are currently exempt from Provincial Regulations. This means “In-House” Security Officers could, if permitted by their employer, carry and use handcuffs, and/or a baton. The Province of BC is currently re-drafting the provincial legislation to cover all security, and certain restrictions, as the current legislation is 26 years old. [citation needed]
Criticisms
One of many myths of private contract security is that since it is often a low-paying job,[10] adequate background checks are not performed (there are certain states that require it before standing post, such as California and Oregon). [11][12] People often have the misconception that security officers are thugs or ex-cons that are not screened properly, though this is not the case. For example, Oregon has a list of disqualifiers that invalidate an ex-con’s eligibility for the job for either seven years, ten years or life. [13]
Trends
Economist Robert B. Reich, in his 1991 book The Work of Nations, stated that in the United States, the number of private security guards and officers was comparable to the number of publicly-paid police officers. He used this phenomenon as an example of the general withdrawal of the affluent from existing communities whose governments provide public services; instead, the wealthy provide their own premium services, through voluntary, exclusive associations. As taxpayer resistance has limited government budgets, and as the demand for secure homes in gated communities has grown, these trends have continued in the 1990s and 2000s.
History
The vigiles were soldiers assigned to guard the city of Rome, often credited as the origin of both security personnel and police, although their principal duty was as a fire brigade. There have been night watchmen since at least the Middle Ages in Europe; walled cities of ancient times also had watchmen. A special chair appeared in Europe sometime in the late Middle Ages, called the watchman’s chair; this unupolstered wooden chair had a forward slanting seat to prevent the watchman from dozing off during his watch.
Notable security guards
The security guard Frank Wills detected the Watergate burglars, ultimately leading to the resignation of Richard M. Nixon as President of the United States.
Christoph Meili, night guard at a Swiss bank, became a whistle blower in 1997, bringing out that the bank destroyed records of holocaust victims whose money the bank was supposed to return their heirs.
In 2001, Gary Coleman, former child actor, was employed as a shopping mall security guard in the Los Angeles area. Whilst shopping for a bullet-proof vest for his job, Coleman assaulted a female autograph collector. Coleman said he felt “threatened by her insistence” and punched her in the head.[2] He was later charged for the assault and ordered to pay her $1,665 for hospital bills.
Derrick Brun, an unarmed security guard employed by the Red Lake School District in Minnesota, was praised by President Bush for his heroic role in the 2005 Red Lake High School Massacre: “Derrick’s bravery cost him his life, and some Americans honor him… …Although he was unarmed, Derrick ignored the pleas of a colleague to run for his life… …by engaging the assailant; he bought vital time for a fellow security guard to rush a group of students to safety.”
In 1980, musician John Lennon was fatally shot in front of his own apartment house, The Dakota, by a former security guard, Mark David Chapman.
Security Guards are parodied on The 12th Man where their role is grossly overexaggerated. Examples include wanting to shoot Max Walker to stop him from entering the commentary box, shooting Bill Lawry and Tony Greig in an attempt to have them leave the broadcasting area, and the actual shooting down of the commentary box to remove Max Walker, conducted by a SWAT Team.

Unionization
In June, 1947, the United States Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act placing many restrictions on labor unions. Section 9 (B) (3) of the act prevents the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from certifying for collective bargaining any unit which mixes security employees with non-security employees. That restriction makes it illegal for security employees to join any union that also represents other types of employees. They may only be part of an independent, “security-only” union, not affiliated with any coalition of other types of labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Two of the largest security unions are the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) and the United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA).

In 1948 with the Taft-Hartley restrictions well into effect, the Detroit, Michigan area security guards of United Auto Workers (UAW) Amalgamated Local 114 were forced to break away and start a separate “Plant Guards Organizing Committee”. The NLRB ruled that as an affiliate of the CIO, the committee was indirectly affiliated with production unions and therefore ineligible for certification under the new restrictions. The committee was then forced to completely withdraw from the CIO and start the independent United Plant Guard Workers of America. By the 1990s, this union had evolved to include many other types of security officers and changed its name to the SPFPA.

In 1992, the USGOA was formed. It specializes in organizing federal, state, and local government security officers, but since May, 2000 has been open to representing other types of security personnel as well.

There is controversy surrounding recent efforts by certain unions to become involved in the security industry, such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) because it primarily represents janitors, trash collectors, and other building service employees.

Depending on individual locations & companies, Security Officers in Canada are part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Local 333) or the United Steelworkers Union (the Canadian wing of the United Steelworkers Union of America (USWA)). In contrast to the union restrictions in the United States, Canadian security officers may be in a Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)-affiliated union or in the same union with other classifications of employees.
See also
Access control
Bodyguard
Bouncer (doorman)
Bounty hunter
Certified Protection Officer
Commissionaire
Loss prevention
Physical Security
Police
Private investigator
shift work
Security
Security police
Store detective
Transportation security officer
Watchmen (law enforcers)
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