Should security be closer to Israel of ‘16 or the United States of the 50s?
Let me start out by making a derogatory statement towards the field that gave me my start; In the United States we are much closer to the security field of the 50s than we are to the proactive professional security of Israel. Providers, clients & companies who employ security officers and refuse to allow them to do their jobs.
They want their lowly, insert any derogatory term for officers here, to do nothing but observe & report. https://todays-training.com/2015/06/23/observe-report-is-obsolete/
That is the difference between the United States and Israel in the way security is handled. Here, all we want is someone to observe & report. Which for lack of a better phrase, it’s the 50s approach to security, and lazy.
In Israel, most officers don’t wait to just observe & report. They are proactive. Intently observing, listening, collecting information, and the like. Once they get a handle on a potential situation, then they act. It’s not just report to someone and let it go, as in the US.
The mentality of security in Israel is that it can be fatal not to react. In the United States it’s becoming that way as well with workplace violence & terrorism, not to mention being costly to everyone involved. https://todays-training.com/2015/04/14/security-contractor-fined-47-million-over-wpv-incident/
Unfortunately it is a fact of life in one of the most strife ridden and war torn areas of the world at this moment in history. So why can’t we learn from the Israeli model of private security? Let me give a few observations I have on the industry;
- Stupidity because nothing bad will ever happen here!
- It’s a cost center and returns nothing on the investment!
- It’s a necessary evil so employees will feel safe and we get an insurance break
- It’s a nuisance because they are always trying to enforce rules (that we put in place) that don’t work anymore
- It’s a great insurance break, because they give us a break and we save thousands of $$$$$ by not using it on security!
Now let me answer those questions specifically. And I could post for weeks on those, but…
- Stupidity – the rate of workplace violence, terrorism, theft, injury to a derelict, or something else is unlikely by statistics. But what would happen if it did?
Cost center – As a matter of fact Good security costs a lot of money. Security, if adequate, can save hundreds or thousands and no one will ever know
- Necessary evil – “All they do is hinder employees, deliveries, and visitors from having easy & open access to the facility. But someone will act stupid and try to sue us if we don’t have them”
- Nuisance – “All they can think about is ways to stop and prevent us from doing our jobs! They harass us to do this and not do that. They can be such a horrible thing to have around!”
- Insurance break – It’s true that companies can usually get a good break on their liability and property insurance rates with security on site. The issue comes in when the extra money is added to the company coffers and not used for security. Back when I started, 1983, it was about $30,000 per year for a 75 hour per week account & the client got a $100,000 break.
We need to have our security officers more appropriately mirror those in Israel. No more of the 1950s observe & report mentality. We need professional security officers that think for themselves and the clients/companies.
Security officers in these days of workplace violence, terrorism, massive theft, bomb making chemicals in practically every manufacturing plant. Hospital, facility, & office buildings need to be just that. Professionals. And it all starts with OUR perception of them. They have to be called officers not guards.
Then comes the training, supervision, customer service, and the myriad of items that go into making a professional. None of us reading this post would like to be called a rent-a-cop, mall cop, wanna be cop, Barney Fife, or the innumerable derogatory names I’ve been called in 33 years (and those were the nicer ones)!
But as long as the C-suite and clients have the mentality that all they want is a warm body… And as long as the security company sales people insist on under cutting each other for pennies to garner another account…
This isn’t the dark ages where we settled things by running each other through or slitting another’s throat. But unfortunately, in the security business that is exactly what we do. Instead of focusing on what the real challenge is we only want to add to our company’s bottom line.
I think we need to begin to sell security and not just warm bodies that happen to fulfill a shift, post, or insurance requirement. It’s time we start acting like we are security professionals and begin to secure what we can…better and more professionally. Which also means getting the money from the C-suite to do what needs to be done to ensure better security.
To read more on the Israeli model and how it should relate to the security profession here in the United States I refer you to the Chameleon Associates blog of March 23, 2016 entitled Seeking to Engage, www.chameleonassociates.com
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent nearly 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear