Security personnel can play a very important role in numerous types of businesses. However, the way in which they go about playing said role can vary. Factors such as the nature of a business and the types of crimes that may be committed on the premises will influence your business’ security policies.
When deciding how security guards will operate at your business, consider the following issues. They’ll help ensure your policies are designed to maximize everyone’s safety and comfort.
Whether They Should be Armed
Some security personnel are tasked with simply keeping an eye out for minor threats or crimes. For instance, the security personnel at a typical retail store or mall are most likely only going to be responsible for handling such tasks as identifying shoplifters.
However, in some settings, it’s possible security personnel may need to immediately respond to acts of violence and similar threats. If so, it might be wise to equip said personnel with handguns. While they’ll hopefully never have to use their weapons, situations could arise when doing so is necessary.
(Naturally, if you do hire armed guards, make sure they’re thoroughly trained and qualified.)
It’s also important to consider what additional types of safety gear you should equip your security teams with. For example, if it’s determined that hiring armed security guards is necessary, it may also be wise to provide them with some form of body armor.
Whether They’ll Be Seen
Sometimes it’s ideal for security personnel to be conspicuous. When it’s easy to see that a security guard is present, customers and employees may feel more comfortable on the property. Perhaps more importantly, the clear presence of security personnel will possibly deter potential wrongdoers from targeting your business. The presence of a guard will tell them targeting your business simply isn’t worth the risk.
On the other hand, there are instances and scenarios when it may make more sense for security personnel to be slightly less noticeable. While you always want security guards to be somewhat visible, a little discretion is also more appropriate in some settings. For example, at a family amusement park, you don’t want people to feel unsafe, but you also don’t want the clear presence of armed security guards to have a negative impact on the customer experience.
Whether They’ll Make Citizen’s Arrests
The laws regarding whether security guards can make citizen’s arrests (and when they can make them) vary from one state to another. For instance, in California, a security guard can only make a citizen’s arrest for a misdemeanor if they saw the crime being committed. They don’t have to have seen the crime being committed to make a citizen’s arrest if the crime in question is a felony. Be sure you and your security guards are thoroughly familiar with the laws in your state.
That said, even if the laws in your state do allow security guards to make citizen’s arrests in various circumstances, you may nevertheless consider establishing your own set of policies (that are, of course, in accordance with the law) regarding this topic.
Maybe you want to err on the side of caution and thus will never permit your guards to make citizen’s arrests. You can let them know their role is to observe and report crimes, allowing the police to make arrests. This might be an option to consider if, given the nature of the types of crimes that may occur at your business, you feel the potential risk of a criminal turning violent during a citizen’s arrest outweighs the benefits of allowing a guard to apprehend them.
Again, there are no universal answers to the questions you must ask yourself when determining how security personnel will operate at your business. The right approach to security at one business won’t necessarily be right at another. Regardless, asking yourself these questions when hiring security guards and developing security policies is essential.