The deployment of security guards on or around a business premises is not a consideration all businesses need to make. Indeed, it would be a tad unsettling to approach your local newsagents to be met by a group of security guards. However, for businesses that do need to deploy security services, the list of considerations ahead of implementing the correct solution is perhaps longer than many might imagine.
Even today, the security services industry continues to be one of the most misunderstood. A common assumption is that every security company is essentially the same and that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the use of security guards can be applied to every sector.
In this piece, we confront these assumptions by highlighting the different security risks various industries face, why security services must be tailored to each specific industry, and the multiple roles that professional security guards take on.
It’s only when you really stop to contemplate the sheer scale of differences between the sectors that it becomes clear how diverse security solutions need to be. Even those with precisely zero experience of dealing with security companies will appreciate that a boutique designer label store will not have the same security requirements as a construction site.
Here, we break down some of those sectors most reliant on security personnel and how the needs amongst each differs:
One of the greatest threats to the sustainability of retail enterprises is theft. The British Retail Consortium’s 2021 Crime Survey showed that the cost of customer and employee theft topped £1BN for the first time since records began.
Theft also does more than just impact the bottom line. Where retail businesses are subject to high levels of theft, the financial losses prevent competitive pricing and the hire of extra staff. Moreover, challenging customers suspected of theft is one of the main triggers of confrontation, leading to the verbal and physical abuse of employees.
Getting the right security guard deployment is thus a key issue for retail businesses and a visual deterrent is rarely enough. In order to be effective, security guards operating in retail environments need to undertake various roles, including:
Retail security guards can also be deployed either in uniform or plain clothes and, depending on the value of items the business sells, to patrol during non-operating hours.
Key to effective surveillance that diminishes the likelihood of confrontation are security guards trained to deal with the public. Knowing who to approach and how to approach them will reduce both incidents of theft and any incidents that might subsequently arise.
One such need is the use of mobile patrols so that full sites can be covered and any incidents quickly met with a physical intervention. SIA licensed guards and officers circling a site in branded patrol vehicles provide a strong visual security presence that both deters criminal activity and reassures those visiting, working on, or residing within the grounds.
Mobile patrols can also operate 24/7 and ensure that a security presence is available at multiple locations. When coupled with a robust CCTV infrastructure, organisations with large footprints should be no more at risk than those operating out of a single building.
Common security guard services for large footprint organisations include:
This service applies to multiple sectors from corporate to hospitality, concierge and reception work however is rarely thought of in the context of security. Moreover, bringing a security dynamic to the role provides multiple benefits.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most compelling benefits is financial. Where a business employs dedicated concierge and reception staff and then goes on to hire security guards, they pay twice for services that can be professionally consolidated.
Experienced security companies will provide security personnel who are highly trained in concierge and reception responsibilities, from welcoming guests to answering phones through to monitoring CCTV screens and patrolling the premises.
Aside from the financial benefits, hiring security guards for concierge and reception work adds a welcome layer of reassurance for business owners, customers, and employees alike. For example, recently released statistics from eight police forces across the UK show that ‘violence against another person’ was by far the most common offence in hotels, motels, and guesthouses between 2021 and 2022.
Receptionists and concierge staff who can also competently deal with such incidents are thus in increasing demand. There service range can include:
Occupying the middle ground between retail enterprises, organisations with large footprints, and those with receptionist and concierge requirements are warehouse and distribution businesses. Such companies are a popular target among criminals as they often hold valuable stock and tend to be located in remote locations.
According to data from the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), in the first half of 2020, the UK recorded the highest number of major cargo losses with a value of £77 million of products stolen.
Although it’s hard to eliminate criminal activity in its entirety, warehouse and distribution companies can drastically reduce incidents by hiring security guards who:
Across these different sectors, we’ve looked at some of the threats that are unique to each and the varying roles security guards can assume. Next, we take a look at some of these roles and how they benefit the client organisation.
Straightforward security guarding remains one of the most powerful and proven measures to preserve the safety of your premises and all those who enter it.
Whether you need security guards who take on specific roles such as gatehouse security or access control to corporate spaces, or simply need visible patrols to act as a deterrence, few measures can match boots on the ground.
With security now a highly regulated and accredited profession, leading security companies will also deploy trained and multi-skilled guards who can also fulfil a range of services from performing risk assessments and health and safety checks to administering first aid and liaising with emergency services.
Where an organisation operates across a large footprint, mobile security patrols provide a fast-response to any reported incident and act as a constant, wide-reaching deterrent.
Organisations with large footprints invariably have multiple high-value assets on-site and significant numbers of people working, visiting, or residing within the perimeter. CCTV is therefore vital for deterring criminal activity and for recording incidents so that legal action can be taken against perpetrators when necessary.
However, cameras can only record. In the event an unwelcome incident occurs, you need trained guards on the scene. And quickly.
Store detectives are trained security guards who typically work in a different way to standard security guards.
Whereas standard security guards are uniformed and mostly deployed in and around the entry-points of a store, store detectives usually operate in plain clothes and perform a range of extra security-related tasks including monitoring CCTV systems, observing the behaviour of customers/employees within the main body of the store, and performing initial investigations of incidents to determine whether law enforcement is required.
To add an extra layer of security, many businesses employ a security company to store a complete set of keys to the property in a secure, off-site location. In the event that immediate access is required to the premise but keys cannot be found for whatever reason, a key holding team will immediately arrive on-site to grant entry at any time of day or night.
Churchill Support Services operates from highly protected key holding sites with our own security presence, CCTV, and a host of additional physical security measures.
Typically, key holding services are used in conjunction with an alarm response service, meaning a team of security guards are on standby to investigate alarm activations 24/7/365. We are proud of our average 30-minute response time and despatch SIA-licensed security to investigate the cause of the alarm.
With concierge security, the ‘concierge’ element is equally as important as the ‘security’ element. Top security companies offering this service will supply security officers trained in the provision of first-class customer service and who are always well-presented, courteous, and ready to assist anyone and everyone.
Moreover, the right security company will supply security guards that are trained in telephony and reception duties to ensure a smooth running of business operations.
Leaving properties vacant for prolonged periods not only leaves them open to crime and decay, but can invalidate insurance policies. Vacant property security ensures the property is secure and maintained with regular inspections.
Inspections typically include checking that windows and doors are secure, keeping a record of any damage, and carrying out meter readings and simple maintenance. Results from inspections are then digitally recorded with reports sent to the property owner upon completion of the inspection.
Leading security companies will commence the service with an assessment of the vacant property to create a bespoke inspection and security plan, whether that’s a security guard inspecting the property on a weekly basis, or a full solution including CCTV surveillance.
Founded in 1996 as Churchill Security, Churchill Support Services provides an extensive range of security services to public and private sectors across the UK.
Our processes and solutions have been recognised by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) as being “industry-leading”, and we are currently ranked in the top 1% of all approved contractors. We are committed to the provision of unmatched, expert security solutions and customer service and dedicate much time to attaining external accreditation from renowned certifiers to prove this.
Whatever the type or size of your business, Churchill Support Services will tailor a security solution that ensures all risks can be mitigated.