Businesses and communities depend on security guards to protect their homes, businesses, property, and people from potential threats. Unlike law enforcement agents who employ a reactive approach to criminal events, such as police officers who intervene or respond after a criminal act has occurred, security guards use preventive measures to reduce risks and stop crime. They’re trained to be on the lookout for looming danger and report any unusual incidents that may require further action to mitigate risks. In doing so, security guards protect the people and property around the places they’re guarding.
The responsibilities of security guards revolve around crime prevention, which requires them to be alert, vigilant, and observative at all times. This, in turn, helps to deter potential lawbreakers looking for the opportunity to commit theft, vandalism, physical violence, sabotage, and other forms of criminal behaviour. If they spot suspicious activity or when an incident occurs, they may make a citizen’s arrest and summon the police. If the situation is too dangerous to intervene, they may request backup by calling 911. In some cases, they may even be required to provide witness testimony in court.
The duties of a security guard are considered routine depending on the employer or job setting. For example, they may be required to open and lock doors to control access to buildings and premises, watch surveillance footage round the clock, monitor alarms, or patrol certain areas.
Different employers may have various job demands for their security guards as follows:
Security guards employed in retail stores are expected to protect consumers, employees, suppliers, and other people who are visiting the store. They are also expected to protect the merchandise, money, records, and store equipment, patrol parking lots, and detail shoplifting suspects while waiting for the police. Depending on the size of the store, guards may work with store detectives who are undercover as a loss prevention measure to prevent theft by employees and customers.
Security guards stationed at office buildings, such as hotels, banks, and hospitals, are expected to maintain order at the location; protect the organization’s staff, customers, and property; and perform basic administrative support operations such as:
Security guards working at museums are required to protect the paintings, artifacts, and exhibits by employing the relevant access control measures. This may include watching visitors and inspecting packages when people are entering or leaving the building. They should also be trained in emergency response procedures to guide the people and provide assistance in the event of fires, crimes, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
Security guards in these locations are required to watch over the area to prevent any kind of misconduct. They also require skills in crowd control, directing traffic, supervising parking and seating, and ensuring that all security and safety precautions are adhered to. The latter may include giving presentations to attendees or students on personal safety, how to protect their belongings from potential thieves, and so on.
These locations require security guards for access control to protect the people, information, and equipment within the boundaries. Their work involves checking and verifying the IDs and credentials of vehicles and people entering and leaving restricted areas, as well as writing entries to report all events that occur during their shift. When facing intruders with weapons, security guards may not be well equipped to manage the situation, so they should be in a position to swiftly summon the authorities to bring a dangerous situation under control and prevent the loss of lives.
Security guards may double as bouncers to control access to bars and maintain the proper conduct of clients at the premises. Their work includes collecting cover charges at the entrance, restricting entry of under-age people, and maintaining order among clients. Depending on the activities offered at the nightclub, security guards may be required to observe the area through video cameras and CCTV systems.
Security guards working in transportation and logistics settings may be required to protect people, vehicles, equipment, and freight at a specific transportation facility, such as fleet yards, train stations, ports, or airports. Depending on threat levels, the security guards may be required to use monitoring systems such as alarms, motion sensors, and cameras, as well as lethal weapons (handguns or shotguns) or non-lethal weapons (tasers, batons, and pepper sprays).
Security guards are important authoritative figures in large events and concerts where behaviour is largely unpredictable, especially where attendants are young and drinking alcohol. Event guards can be stationed at the location to support security and law enforcement personnel in crowd control, traffic control, safety, emergency response, and so on.
Generally, the level of security required and the means to protect the assets depends on individual clients and what they want to protect. So, security guards have to adhere to the policies provided by the employer regarding the task, such as preventing photography, restricting access to certain areas, and verifying appointments.
The presence of security guards helps to bolster safety, whether in public or private spaces, buildings, or residences. Many companies hire security guards to protect their assets (people, equipment, property, or money) and can specify whether to hire armed or unarmed guards. Or, those trained to use specialized equipment and tactics for specific jobs, such as alarms, video cameras, motion sensors, and weapons, both lethal or non-lethal.
That said, all security guards must adhere to government regulations proposed by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), which regulates the training curriculum and issues licenses to security guards. Security guards trained to use firearms must receive the proper license to carry one. Moreover, all applicants must also undergo an extensive background check and provide verifiable references so employers can have peace of mind when hiring security guards to protect their assets.