Are Your Security Officers Good Enough?


How do you identify a reliable security officer? What are the skills and qualities of a person you can trust with your or your family’s life? Most people don’t realize that it takes a lot more than a scary appearance and a gun to be a real security guard. There are undoubtedly more than just the minimum standards that must be met to obtain a license. The requirements to become a licensed security guard are not the same in every country. In Texas, for example, you only need to complete a 48-hour course to become an armed security guard. To become a certified security guard, you must complete an additional 16 hours of classroom training. In less than two weeks, you can go from a state where you’ve never seen a gun to a state license that certifies you’re qualified to protect a client and everything that comes with it. Unfortunately, this training is only an introduction to some general topics with no instruction, reinforcement or testing of actual skills. I believe there are eight key competencies that all protection professionals should have.


#1. Critical Thinking/Decision Making.

A professional police officer considers, anticipates and plans for all possible scenarios. Once everything is put together, he or she can quickly reason and decide on the right course of action.


#2. Personal skills

The role of a security officer is, first and foremost, a police role. The security guard must communicate effectively with customers and work with the customer’s employees and other security personnel. Often it is the ability to make contacts and build relationships that enables him or her to perform at the highest level (the ability to set the table for a customer without a reservation in a crowded restaurant, park directly at the entrance and have direct access to the field, etc.).


#3. Knowledge of Legislation

A police officer must know what the law allows him or her to do, especially when it comes to using force and firearms.


#4. Observation Skills (Situational Awareness)

A security officer must observe his or her surroundings well and understand what he or she sees so that he or she can decide how to act, preferably before an undesirable event occurs. Although this skill is honed through experience, basic classroom work can begin with case studies and videotaping of past incidents and rehearsal of scenarios.


#5. Self-Defence Skills

All protection staff should receive ongoing training in self-defence. A good training program will introduce and practice techniques to incapacitate or disable an attacker, but these techniques must be practised and maintained continuously, or they are useless.


#6. Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is necessary to maintain a professional image as a security guard, to be able to stand for long periods, to be able to sleep, to be able to cope with stress and to be able to defend the client effectively when necessary.


#7. Stress Management

Training without practical training that causes stress is pointless. A security guard starting work for the first time should not experience a stressful situation while working. A successful training programme should expose the trainee to real-life stress scenarios in a controlled environment.


#8. Knowledge of Firearms

National firearms training is equivalent to a course for citizens applying for a firearms licence and a test that must be passed if firearms knowledge is inadequate. That’s by no means an exception. It is not even remotely sufficient to prepare a protection officer to use a firearm in a real-life scenario.


This list is by no means exhaustive. A security guard has many other valuable skills and attributes, but their actual experience cannot be quantified. However, these eight are important for anyone looking to hire a professional security guard. There is a well-known saying about training: ‘We do not rise with our expectations, we fall with our level of training’. Many check the basic government requirements. They speak well, look well and may even achieve success in the industry when they finish. However, something will inevitably go wrong in this industry. When stress and anxiety arise, the agent does what he or she is trained to do. If this training is inadequate or inappropriate, costly mistakes will occur, which is unacceptable. 

Do you need to train your protection officer? Get in touch with the professionals at Lite Security! They offer all the support and help you need to qualify. They offer recognized security training courses that meet the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and Australian Skills Quality AutAuthority (ASQA) standards.