When you’re responsible for commercial, industrial, or residential properties, or even construction sites, security is one of the most important things to consider.
One of the quickest and most effective solutions available is hiring security guards through a fully accredited and insured security provider.
Not only do they protect against criminal activity, but they can also become part of your team – providing more than just valuable safeguarding to your property.
In this comprehensive guide, we provide a full breakdown of the most common questions that we are asked with regards to security guards, covering:
- What types of security guards are there?
- What accreditation’s do security guards need?
- What should you expect from your security guards?
- Where are security guards best used?
- How can security guards can go above and beyond?
As well as the above, we will also cover an extensive range of common questions asked by people like you, looking for security solutions.
What Is the Purpose Of A Security Guard?
Security guards are installed to protect people and property, keeping them safe and secure at all times.
When stationed, be it on a vacant property, construction sites, or countless other vulnerable locations, it’s the security guard’s job to control authorised access and prevent criminal activity from happening – ensuring the safety and security of the premises and assets at all times.
This could involve combatting the threat of theft, vandals, trespassers and arsonists, as well as less dangerous tasks such as managing and monitoring site access and ensuring that no damage or theft occurs.
Security guards must be highly visible acting as a deterrent to any potential threat, and should quickly contact the correct authorities when required.
Where Are Security Guards Required?
The most common places security guards are needed are vacant or unoccupied sites. This might range from residential, commercial, and industrial properties, to construction sites, stately homes and grounds and even empty plots of land.
Security guards are required to protect the assets and, in certain cases, the people within their assigned locations, ensuring that nothing is stolen or damaged and making sure only authorised people are allowed on site.
It is important to hire a security guard whenever property or valuable assets are left on their own for extended periods of time, especially at short notice.
When Do I Need A Security Guard?
Essentially, you’ll need a security guard when your property or assets could potentially come under threat.
For a construction site, you’ll need a security guard during the evening, overnight over weekends and during holiday shutdowns, when the site is left vacant and valuable plant and equipment are vulnerable to theft or vandalism.
Guarding providers should be flexible, responsive and capable of delivering security guards at short notice for a variety of assignments. This ensures no property, business, or vacant stretch of land is left exposed to criminal activity.
What Types Of Security Guards Are There?
Although you understand what we mean by ‘security guards’, this is something of an umbrella term, under which there are several different types. Your individual security needs will ultimately determine which type of security guard you require.
Whether you are looking to cover multiple sites in one night, introduce a psychological deterrent, or hire a key-holding security responder with access to your site, security providers offer a range of security options.
In this section, we highlight some of the most common security guard types.
Uniformed Security Guards
Uniformed security guards are the ideal guarding solution when you are looking to provide visible security on any occasion that the property is left vacant. This could be throughout the day, overnight, weekends, or during holidays.
Usually equipped with a smartphone and constantly monitored by supervisors, uniformed guards should always have suitable PPE, high-visibility jackets and a torch.
Carrying out previously agreed duties based upon a site survey – such as manning main access points and patrolling vulnerable locations – your uniformed security guard should also regularly check for site changes, fill in logbooks, and take note of everything that happens on shift.
Security Dog Handlers
Capable of covering more area than a uniformed security guard, dog handlers provide the ultimate psychological deterrent.
Fully NASDU qualified and with regular training, security dog handlers are ideal for use in, such as isolated industrial estates or entire warehouses as they make isolated areas more secure.
Security dog handlers and their canine companions create a formidable partnership. Security dogs detect intruders through their keen sight, astonishing sense of smell and sharp hearing, then instantly alert their handlers – often long before ‘human’ senses, and even CCTV systems would notice the threat.
Mobile Security Patrols
By providing random inspections of vacant properties and sites, mobile security officers can significantly enhance the security of your site.
Mobile patrols are the ideal solution if you have multiple sites to secure in one night and when permanent attendance isn’t as essential.
Potentially covering a number of sites in one shift, mobile security guards vary their sequences meaning there is no predicting their shift pattern.
On top of this, during their visits, mobile security patrols will help ensure your physical security measures are intact and show no signs of suspicious activity; and liaise with the relevant parties to solve any issues that arise.
Your first line of defence against intruders and other criminal activity, security response guards are, as all guards should be, fully qualified and SIA licensed.
Working from a central monitoring station, the moment an intruder alarm is activated, guards are alerted to attend site and carry out extensive security checks to ensure there are no signs of suspicious activity.
As the first responder, it’s the guards’ duty to contact the correct authorities when required.
As the first point of contact on-site, it is also important that the security response liaises with any emergency repair providers such as locksmiths. Some security providers offer a key holding service that makes this process more streamlined, meaning you have less to worry about.
What Licenses and Accreditation’s Should Security Guards Have?
Once you’ve selected the type of security guard that best meets your requirements, it is important to ensure that they are fully certified and have the correct accreditations. This means that when you select a security provider, you are safe in the knowledge that your site will be protected to the latest industry standards.
After all, it’s not uncommon for some guarding services to provide guards that aren’t qualified, despite it being a legal requirement.
With this in mind, we’ve provided a comprehensive list of the licenses and accreditations that you should look for when hiring security guards.
SIA or the Security Industry Authority, created following the 2001 Private Security Industry Act, is the official regulator of the UK’s private security industry. Obtaining this license ensures the security provider and their guards are approved and can operate legally within the private security industry.
On top of the SIA license, NASDU (the National Association of Specialist Dog Users), certificates are required in order to meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for dog handling in security environments.
Since it was established in 1996, NASDU has helped raise and promote the standards, training, and education of security dog handlers, by providing essential training for individuals and businesses in the sector.
BSIA (The British Security Industry Association)
BISA is a trade association for professional security in the UK. They act as the face and voice for security companies and security guards nationwide, helping to improve the levels of professionalism and see the sector flourish.
Though not compulsory, if your security agency is a member of BSIA it demonstrates that they are well-represented, ensuring that the level of security you receive will be of a high standard.
Do Security Guards Have To Meet British Standards?
Like all goods and services, security guard services must conform to their relevant British Standards. Such standards are produced by the BSI Group to ensure that basic requirements are being met as a minimum.
When it comes to security guards, there are two key British Standards that are required to be met.
BS 7858 is a security screening of individuals that are employed for security purposes and helps employees screen personnel prior to hiring them by checking personal data and criminal records.
Meaning that when it comes to protecting your property, you will be safe in the knowledge that your guards are up to the standards of your security provider.
Providing recommendations for overall security operations, of security services on both static and mobile patrols, BS 7499 helps security guard providers ensure that they have the right safety measures in place by stipulating the relevant procedures and terms & conditions.
This means that all security guards are working to the same, approved standards that are being upheld.
How Can Security Guards Go Above & Beyond?
When selecting your security guard provider, it’s also important to consider what they do on top of their minimum expectations.
Some security providers install security guards with one role in mind; guarding.
Although this is the minimum required, the highest quality security guards become a part of your team and go above and beyond, identifying risks and taking mitigating actions where necessary on your sites.
Security guard providers should carry out in-depth site surveys and be able to spot potential threats, making sure that both you and your guards, fully understand the sites’ requirements; offering additional consultancy wherever necessary, even at short notice.
Through this approach, security guards can truly become a highly valued asset to your site.
What Tools & Technology Should Security Guards Use?
All security guards should be provided with ‘the basics’. This includes suitable PPE, high-visibility jackets, smartphones and a torch. However, some guarding providers offer additional technology to ensure that your site is protected to the highest possible standards.
As a means of simultaneously covering multiple site access points without having to hire multiple security guards, infrared detectors can be installed. Your security guard, equipped with a connected device, will be alerted when a detector is triggered, enabling a faster response to deter potential intruders.
Security guards can also use electronic, geo-fenced booking systems to check-in and out. With electronic logbooks, you can regularly check to make sure the guard you hire is exactly where they need to be.
How Quickly Can Security Guards Get To My Site?
In the most urgent scenario’s, security guards should be prepared and operating on-site in as little as 3 hours.
However, when guards are deployed quickly or in an emergency, it’s always best practice to retrospectively survey the site and complete a full consultation as soon as possible. This ensures the sites’ needs are met moving forward and additional care and attention can be paid to all necessary aspects of your site.
When it comes to choosing your security guard provider, it’s important to ask yourself, ‘why?’. Is it because they can be on-site in the quickest time? Or do they also provide a comprehensive service that will provide you with the best security over time?
Is The Security Guards’ Welfare Considered?
Security guard welfare should always be considered and taken extremely seriously. They often work long hours through the night, alone, and may need to put themselves at risk in order to protect your site and assets.
When selecting your security guard provider, it is important you choose a company that believes the welfare of its security guards is paramount.
With supervisor support, security guards know that they are never alone and there is always someone to communicate with, especially whilst responding to alarms or emergencies.
Regular and random Supervisor visits help to ensure guard welfare is of a high standard and that you are receiving the best possible services from happy, healthy and motivated guards.
How Much Do Security Guards Cost?
Depending on your requirements, the type of guard you need, and the specific security providers’ service levels, security guard pricing can vary.
As security guards are often paid by the hour, it’s important to remember that the minimum wage in the UK is just under £9/hour. If you’ve been quoted a security guard service in that price range, it means that they’re unlikely to be skilled or motivated to do the job properly.
Likewise, if security dog handlers are required, the price is likely to be higher- typically around £3/hour – more than static guards.
As we’ve discussed, security guards are a fantastic security solution that can quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively protect your site, property and land.
With a number of different types of security guards to choose from, it’s important to understand your specific requirements and ensure they have the correct qualifications and accreditations upon hiring.
Security guards should be more than just contracted support too. They should strive to become a member of your team, be well renumerated with constant welfare checks and ensure that the best possible job is being done.
All of these factors are important to consider when selecting a provider, so if you’re considering the use of security guard services, speak to our security experts and find out more today.