Security services have a 32bn USD market in North America and have seen steady growth globally over the last decade. Within the US, in 2020, there were security companies that were making more than 5bn USD in revenue in a year. Organizations across industries all over the globe are relying on security companies to guard their property, assets, and people.
Even with all the modern tech such as intruder alerts, CCTV surveillance systems, and access control solutions, organizations need people on the ground to take action. While these systems can detect threats, they’re not as good as trained professionals in preventing loss of property or life.
Here are a couple of best practices that will help ensure that the security team is conducting effective patrols.
No two environments are the same when it comes to security. Different organizations or groups hiring security teams have different priorities; for some, it may be focused on preventing unauthorized access, for some it may be preventing theft, and in some cases, it may be guarding individuals and their residents. These environments need different security strategies, and to get the best results you need to plan ahead by consulting with all the stakeholders.
Security teams will also have to assess the environment they’re tasked with guarding and determine all the vulnerabilities. They’ll have to assess the risks involved and develop a plan based on this. The team will have to decide how many guards will be needed, whether they have to be armed, the checkpoints they need to cover, what they need to look out for, the patrol routes they need to take, and the entire process.
A thorough plan creates an effective security patrol.
If your security patrols are predictable, you’ll be making lives easier for potential bad actors. More than catching intruders in the act, or intercepting unauthorized people in a restricted area, guards should serve as a deterrent. Just by seeing the guards, burglars or other intruders must move on. But if they can figure out where the different team members will be at a specific time, it leaves the entire area vulnerable.
When organizing the patrol, make sure that the routes and intervals are random and unpredictable. But at the same time, it’s also important to ensure that all the areas are covered well during the patrol.
Checklists are a great tool for managing security patrols. They ensure that all the steps are followed, reduce reliance on memory, and maintain standards for patrols.
For effective patrols, create checklists for guards to go through before, during, and after patrols. The pre-patrol checklists can include things like flashlights, radio, gear, briefing, logging the details, checking their gear, and other aspects. If guards are armed, they can add inspecting and securing their weapons to the list.
Guards can also use checklists during their patrols; they can use checklists to ensure they clear all the checkpoints, secure sensitive areas, and make sure they are not missing anything.
After the patrol, they can use checklists to make sure they have secured their gear, logged all the details, and communicated any concerns they may have to the team.
Checklists ensure consistency and maintain standards; it makes sure that guards perform their duties with rigor even after a long time in the same roles.
Guards should meticulously log the details of all the patrols. The logs should include details like when the patrol began, the personnel involved in the patrol, the checkpoints covered, and if any unusual or suspicious activity was observed. The logs will help the team to spot any patterns - for instance, the presence of vandals at a specific part of the premises - and adjust their strategies accordingly.
The logs will also ensure that the guards are completing their patrols on time as per the schedule and that they’re alert and actively looking for suspicious activities.
When deploying a security team, you’ll also have to train employees or residents who will be regularly interacting with them. They should be trained to alert the guards if they notice something suspicious. In many instances, security guards are often asked to perform the duties of a personal assistant, or a member of the household staff. This prevents them from performing their duties and guarding the premises.
In high-risk environments, safety and fire drills should teach employees how to alert the responsible teams. If they spot suspicious behavior or find intruders, employees should be trained to alert the guards instead of engaging themselves.
The security requirements of an organization, a residential area, or any other environment would change over time. Maybe the crime rate in that area goes down, or maybe the organization’s priorities changed, or the security vulnerabilities in the environment changed due to new constructions or surveillance tech. Either way, you have to review these changes as well as the logs from previous security patrols to continuously assess the security threats and change the strategy.
As discussed earlier, the goal of a security team is in most instances to deter crime, or to make bad actors rethink entering the premises. And for this the security team has to be visible, they have to appear strong.
For this, they have to wear professional uniforms and be present all over the premises. Constant patrols improve visibility significantly. Patrol teams can also use vehicles to conduct patrols, if possible. If the number of occupants in the vehicle is not immediately apparent, bad actors will be hesitant to make a move.
It may also be a good idea for the guards to showcase any weapons they carry as long as it doesn’t interfere with their duties.
Technology can help minimize human intervention to a large extent. If the guarded premises have any intruder alert systems or CCTV surveillance systems, make sure the guards have access to them. It’s important that the security team is alerted if any of these systems detect suspicious activity.
You can also use technology for managing the security team as well. Apps like TargPatrol helps organizations create checklists and assign schedules for patrols. Instead of paper checklists or logs, the guards can simply enter the details in the app which can be accessed by the admin team.
By keeping track of the guards, the security team can make sure that they’re safe. If they encounter any trouble or are in distress, the team can immediately assist them.
Tracking also helps ensure that the guards cover all of their checkpoints on time. Instead of manually logging in the information, the tracking data can be used to record patrols and events during the same.
There are plenty of technologies available to keep track of security guards. For example, security teams can use the GPS on their phone to track their location. You can also use RFID or NFC tags placed along the patrol route which will then be detected by readers on the guards’ person.
It’s important that the guards are well trained for their environment and that their training is regularly updated. They should be trained to respond to different situations and scenarios as well as to use their equipment correctly. If needed they must also be trained in first aid and rescue.
During patrols, guards must be in constant communication with each other. They should know each other’s location and any suspicious activity they notice. If any of the guards are in distress, the guards should be able to reach their location as soon as possible.
TargPatrol can help an organization plan their security patrols easily. The app lets organizations create schedules and checklists for security teams and alert them when they have to go on patrols. The app also helps organizations keep track of their security teams using GPS, RFID, or NFC and raises automatic alerts if they miss any checkpoints.