There is often a disconnect between what customers expect a security officer to be able to do and what they are lawfully able to do or are obliged to do.
In our time in business we have often received requests for security officers to: “hide on the property and jump out and catch the ….. in the act of stealing. Rough him up a bit and hold him till the police arrive” or “chase him / her and get my stuff back!” … and many more in the same vein. While requests like this might seem reasonable, it is entering into a grey area and the security officer if not careful might expose themselves to accusations of assault, deprivation of liberty, false imprisonment even kidnapping. Consequently, we have turned down these requests for obvious reasons but left the customer feeling dissatisfied.
What are Security Officers actually allowed to do?
It is vital that you know what a security officer is allowed to do and especially what they cannot do so you as a customer also don’t expose yourself to the risk of being held jointly liable for some activity conducted on your behalf.
Security officers receive training for 3 weeks and that training covers a broad range of topics from the law to first aid to self defence. There is not enough time for the course to delve in depth into many of these subjects and the person completing a security operations course is not a martial arts expert, not a licenced law enforcement officer.
What they are able to do though is deter crime, observe people, vehicles, activities and report to the police and the customer. If they are conducting themselves well, they will be a great deterrent to crime taking place on your property. In order to deter crime, they need to be visible and so should be wearing a hi-vis vest or shirt, carry a good torch, conduct regular and random patrols of the property and be very observant.
If you request a security officer from a company, they should be able to find and roster an appropriate guard within 3 – 4 hours of the request and often much quicker. If you need a guard immediately, it is common practice for companies to commence the shift with a mobile patrol officer (because they are already on the road) and replace them with a static guard. Just be aware that mobile patrol officers are usually a little more expensive because you are paying for the ir immediate response and they are being removed from pre-existing work to jour job.
In the event of an alarm activation, it is reasonable to expect the patrol officer to respond within 30 minutes, but this dependent upon external factors like traffic, other alarms and weather. The current Australian Standards dictate a maximum response time of 45 minutes so anything up to this length of time should be invoiceable.
If a mobile patrol officer responds to an alarm response from your property, it is again reasonable to expect them to remain on site if the building is insecure due to a break-in. Often though they wont be able to remain due to the pressing nature of their other jobs and they will request a static guard to take over from them. These static guards should be organised by the company without your involvement – but you should get a report that the site was found to be insecure and a guard was placed at ‘x’ time to ‘y’ time.
Who can organise the security service?
Often customers leave the organisation and provision of guards and mobile patrols to their alarm company – for a fee. You are, however, quite within your right to request a particular company or organise it yourself. Remember you as the customer are in the driving seat and you can ask for whichever company to represent you after hours that you feel best suits your needs.
If you would like to learn more, or receive a quote for your security services, please contact Perth Security Services.