Standing still at the door


Credit: Metc123, Wikipedia

I walked into my local stationery store. Just inside the entry stood two staff members. One, a store employee. The other, a contracted security officer. The employee was on their phone. The guard was leaning on a shelf behind them. The employee looked and offered a greeting as I walked by. The guard was looking at the floor. As I roamed around the shelves, I noticed there was a second guard at the rear entrance. He looked to his colleague, who joined him at the rear entrance, where they had a good laugh before disappearing for a few minutes into the car park. The employee walked off too. The entries were unattended.

This is a scenario that plays out all over the security industry. It’s frustrating, but it’s the reality. The clear intention is loss prevention – a show of force (so to speak) at the entry may deter the opportunist and allow the business to interact with its customers. But the reality? There is a clear decision in a lot of cases to employ ‘window dressers’ and a lack of ‘why’ instilled in those performing door duties. The result has the potential to make you more vulnerable than not having them there in the first place. This is because it produces a false sense of security.

You could save the cost of two contracted guards by putting internal staff in a hi-vis vest on a rotational basis between retail and door duties. Of course, the reason for putting a uniformed security officer there gives the impression that an offender is likely to be stopped, and that security will have more training and experience in handling offences than store staff. So, use this security resource that is being paid for to:

  • Greet customers as they enter and bid them farewell on departure
  • Check bags and purchases on exit
  • Monitor a CCTV feed of the store from a screen near the entry
  • Keep in touch with staff in the store by rotating them with store employees so they can rove the aisles
  • Patrol known trouble spots in the store or in the car park/surrounds on rotation
  • Take care of basic mail and deliveries into the store
  • Direct customers to the right person to help

To the security companies who deploy staff – it can be difficult to find time to visit your client sites and audit personnel. How do you ensure quality service not only to the top end of town but the one-off or one-guard sites that plod along day in, day out? It is easy to allocate resources elsewhere, and yet these are the sites that offer your business the regular work needed to retain decent staff.

To the guards – how do you maintain your professionalism? We all leave our homes each day to make an honest living, so it is important that we protect the opportunity. Our licences are an investment. Continuing to develop ourselves, ensuring we understand our role and to do our best will push us, and the industry forward.

Spending time to put together a basic security plan, your Yellow Security Instructions and speaking with a Consultant can increase your security, reduce your opportunity for loss and improve safety and security at your premise.

GuardHERE Consulting (that’s us!) can help you review your current security arrangements and plans, or how your security business deploys guards and controls quality. Get in touch with us to find out more. We’re here to help you.

Your comments are welcome below.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, and it could inspire someone else too!