What does Security Guarding mean to the dictionary
To answer the question of "What is security guarding", we should really start with the dictionary definition:
Security: "the state of being free from danger or threat."
Guard: "watch over in order to protect or control."
So, we can accept that if we're working to dictionary definition of what a security guard does is to watch over their charge to protect it and keep it free from danger of threat; sounds simple? As you'll see from your search for a provider or search for a career, all security guarding providers have a slightly different take on what they think this should mean, and how they go about it. The old adage that "there's more than one way to cook an egg" is true to an extent; but it comes down to how you want your business protected.
What does Security Guarding mean to K9 Protection
At K9 Protection, Security Guarding means: "Providing a suitably rested, qualified & monitored security guard to keep our client's property safe". Lets tell you some of the things we do and why we do them - these might not be in the logical order, but they're all important:
Recruiting The Right Guards
Each time we advertise any guarding position, we typically get between 20 and 100 candidates show an interest in the role. We typically offer a position to around 1 in 7 of those that attend an interview, so it's not simply a case of taking on everyone that applies and hoping they don't let us down. Our typical recruitment process will include:
- Advertisement on a job board: Typically at this stage we will usually get the above mentioned numbers applying for the position.
- Application Form: Prior to inviting anyone for an interview, we ask all security guarding candidates to fill in an application form. We will use the form to assess whether someone's skills match with our requirements and also collect sufficient information to start the next stage of vetting. It's typical for us to only receive one application form for every 10 people that show an interest on a job board. It's also typical for us to take a couple of abusive calls because we won't see people without a form.
- Interview: Our application form is a long and involved form, so the right thing for us to do is give everyone who's completed one an opportunity to attend an interview (subject to the position remaining open). Our interview process is a structured affair with a series of 5 scenario based questions and a video based observation exercise which doubles as a report writing assessment. Prior to interview we will have agreed a score for the exercises which a candidate must attain in order to be offered a position (the most common reason we find ourselves unable to offer someone a position is a poor score in the observation exercise).
- Job Offer: After all candidates have been interviewed, offers will be made to those who we feel would be a good match for our team. The candidates' details will be passed to our screening coordinator who will make contact to offer them a position on our security guarding team, working with the candidate to ensure vetting & screening can be carried out as smoothly as possible.
Vetting & Screening
It's easy to say you vet and screen your guards, and most security companies will tell you that they do this. You'll see BS7858 mentioned widely, which is the standard we're obliged to check our staff to. In order to achieve this standard, we have to carry out:
- Credit Checking
- 5 Year Employment Checking
- Sanction Checking
- Address/Identity Checking
- Director Checks
- International Sanction Checks
- Social Media Checks
As you can imagine, the whole process takes some time and a large chunk of it relies on past employers being responsive. Any company that advertises "immediate start" roles is cutting some serious corners. Security is a small world, and when staff move around, it's interesting how rarely we actually get asked to provide a reference.
At K9 Protection, we go a little further than the standard requires, such as:
- Character References are required (the standard removed this requirement on the 2019 update)
- DBS Checks are required on any sites working with vulnerable persons.
- We will not start a lone working security guard until all vetting is completed.
Clients often ask us why we do things this way and have even mentioned we "make it difficult for ourselves". The reason is simple. We've learned over the years. Like every security company, we've been caught out by the BS7858 standard not catching those with a shady history; so we insist on being as sure as we can be when filling a security guarding role that the team we employ are going to be the best ones for the job. With so many employers giving "date confirmation" references nowadays and refusing to give any details of employment, we've found character references give us a better picture of the candidate. We DBS check our staff, as we've noticed over the years that the communication between the courts and SIA isn't always the best, and whilst someone may be DBS checked when their licence is issued, three years is a potentially long time. On the subject of not starting security guarding staff until full vetting is completed, it's simple - We've had situations where staff have failed vetting, but in that time the clients have become attached. Nobody wants to say "no" to a client, so it's easier and less painful for all of us if you don't meet the team until they're ready to roll.
It's worth a mention - If vetting is not completed for guards, they are likely uninsured as per the small print of every security insurance policy we've ever seen
To patrol: to keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or travelling around it.
Patrolling to us is the key part of our role, and making the patrol count is taken very seriously. Whereas different security providers will have a different take on patrols, ours is simple - we'll carry out regular checks of your property throughout the course of a shift. We try to discourage patterns: No "security you can set your watch by", and minimal "planned patrol routes"; instead, we utilise a proprietary patrol logging system which can be set with parameters and time windows, allowing our guards to mix up and randomise their patrols, but still ensuring that they're checking the site effectively. The reason we do things this way are simple:
- It makes it harder to predict the guard's activity to anyone carrying out hostile reconnaissance.
- It ensures the guard looks at the site from different angles
- It reduces the "zombie effect" where a guard's focus is more on drawing a "dot to dot" picture between tags than actually taking in their surroundings.
Whether the purpose of a patrol is to deter intruders, detect theft, or simply a walking fire-watch then our approach has been proven over the years to deliver results.
At K9 Protection, we utilise a digital reporting system which is linked in to our guard management software and ties in to patrols. Rather than filling in a paper daily occurrence log, our guards are all issued with a smart phone which feeds back reporting information to a central server located securely in the cloud. Each note that is made, patrol tag that is hit, or incident that is logged is processed by our software and stored away from the premises. The guard can access the notes for the site through their staff portal, and clients are sent the report at the start of each day. There are many reasons for operating this way, least of all to save paper. Some of ours are:
- Security - There's no chance of unauthorised persons seeing or photographing the security guarding notes relating to the site.
- Integrity - Once a note has been made, it's permanent record. No lost sheets of paper, no scribbling out, and no spilled coffee is going to erase that note or modify the time stamp.
- Visibility - Our operations team can observe the activity of our guards in real time and monitor notes that are being made.
- Environment - Our note taking system utilises the same energy efficient server carrying out our lone worker management and billing, so it's already running; saving paper and not costing additional processing time.
At K9 Protection, we share intelligence between our team and maintain a database of both suspicious persons and suspicious vehicles. Our security guarding team can be informed quickly of any people or vehicles of interest within the vicinity of their site, along with our on call supervisor.
What does security guarding mean to you?
For all of our clients, the purpose behind security guarding is to keep their premises or patrons safe from harm. A security service has to be a cost effective and professional solution that meets with the very definition of the phrase. As a business, our mission is to deliver that service within the framework of the law and to a level set by the relevant British Standards. Our end goal is that our clients feel able to relax in the knowledge that their business is safe.
At K9 Protection, we make the following guarantees:
- Our guards will always be screened and vetted over and above the current standard
- We will work with our clients to ensure the security provision is as effective
- Our management team will be available to you 24/7, should you need them
- We will never place a security guard over 30 minutes* from the nearest support (either our office or patrol region)
- Our guards will be paid the living wage
- Our insurance will always cover the services we provide
- All of our guards will be employed; meaning no grey areas, full employment rights, and no HMRC surprises
If you'd like to discuss your security guarding requirements in further detail, give us a call on 01633504543 and one of our team will be happy to discuss your requirements.