Standard Operating Procedures for Security Companies

Security companies are essential for the protection and preservation of many important aspects of our lives. Their services range from routine activities like key holding, door supervision, out-of-hours security and CCTV monitoring through more public-facing duties like events security and marshalling to what is perceived as the glamorous world of close personal protection for high-profile individuals. This last category is particularly relevant to a security company in London since the capital is the seat of our parliament, the centre of our financial industry and a significant part of the entertainment business.

Providing security is as complex as it is vital. It must operate within a very strict legal framework as well as a rigorous professional and ethical code. The demands of security-sensitive environments frequently include the ability to make quick judgments about the actions of others, the anticipation of risk and the ability to foresee escalation. While there is legislation to govern the conduct of security companies, it is very important for individual companies to develop and enforce their own standard operating procedures (SOP).

Key Considerations of an SOP Policy

All security personnel must abide by their employer’s SOP. Before any employee is assigned to any duty, they need to be fully trained on its contents and understand how it applies in any particular situation. Procedures will of course vary depending on the employer and on the job: mobile patrols are very different from crowd control at a music festival, for example. But every eventuality must be covered in the document.

Professionalism is essential at all times. That begins with appearance and manner but extends into behaviour. It’s necessary to remain firm but courteous, determined but calm. The best security operatives will de-escalate and control rather than confront and pursue. If the role requires a uniform to be worn, then it is important to be visible at all times so that people are aware of what should be a reassuring presence.

Training is crucial. Security guards need to be physically and mentally fit, but they also need to be thoroughly retrained in the techniques required in every kind of emergency situation, from first aid and CPR through the correct use of the communication chain to methods of rescue and restraint. They also need to be fully briefed on how to interact and coordinate their work with that of the police and emergency services.

In the UK, security guards are not permitted to carry weaponry of any kind – not guns, batons, tasers or pepper spray. Just as limited is their hands-on powers, such as personal searches, which they may only carry out with the subject’s permission. In situations where an indictable offence has occurred, the security operative has the ability (just as every other person in the UK) to make a citizen’s arrest however, there is a significant duty of care that the operative must abide by when such an arrest and detention is made before handing the arrestee over to the Police. Remember – any / all force used must be proportionate, necessary, reasonable, justifiable and the security operative must be accountable for it.

The administration is an unavoidable part of the job, and security personnel will be required to keep a duty log as well as write incident reports. Security is a sensitive matter, and documentary evidence on incidents, even if they are not controversial, will be needed to clarify the course of events. Rigorous record-keeping and transparency are a necessity, and this itself brings further issues given the consideration of GDPR and commercial sensitivity etc.

Any member of a security team will quickly appreciate the enormous benefits of internal co-operation with other members. They are often working on the frontline without the authority and powers of the police but often taking on by default similar responsibilities. Being able to rely on each other is a lesson that will be learned in practice but should be well drilled into all newcomers as a part of the onboarding process.

Is there a Bigger Choice of Security Company in London?

According to Statista, there are nearly 9,500 companies in Britain and Northern Ireland, with over 2,200 of these in the UK’s capital, this is nearly 25%. Because there is a much higher demand, it may be easier to find a security company in London however, every security company should ensure that each site/contract has a set of Assignment Instructions which are then supported by a standard operating procedures document, whatever the scale of the activities they are involved in. It’s no overstatement to say that it is impossible to run a reputable security business without them.

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