Negligent Security: When is Standards and Training Your Problem?

By Gregory D. Lilyhorn

Posted: 20th January 2015 09:39

In the ever changing world of private security, protection officers’ roles and responsibilities are quickly adapting to a heightened security and legal environment.  Protection officer suppliers are turning to advanced training in order for their officers to be ready for whatever corporate and government security assignments come their way, but they must also ready for the legal adaption that is occurring too. 
 
In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and the current war on terrorism many security companies undertook a risk analysis and vulnerability assessment and then updated their security plans in reaction to that event.  Longer term companies are being more vigilant about performing criminal screening, comprehensive background checks and character testing on prospective employees and more comprehensive screening of vendors and strategic business partners.  They also began to recognise the value of highly trained security officers in protection of property, employees and assets.  Corporate risk managers have a better appreciation for the value that comprehensive security provides.  In the public sector there is a realisation that effective security requires a real partnership between public safety and private security organisations in meeting the challenges we now face. 
 
In the post 9/11 world, new security regulations require that chemical and petrochemical industries take a critical look at the methodology in place to secure their facilities.  Many companies were facing security regulations for the first time while other are already in compliance with the new security regulations. 
 
With this new regulation the security industry has to improve its selection and training of security officers.  I would encourage security companies world-wide to increase the security officer training standards that, in turn should result in a lessening of legal issues and security incidents. 
 
There are inconsistent industry standards for training of security personnel and performance of security services world-wide.  It has been an unregulated industry despite years of regulation efforts.  In large part to the problem is the cost effectiveness and market competition that’s counters the require investment in security officer training and comprehensive regulation.  To remain completive, many security services provide the bare minimum required, and many times this minimum standard falls short and protection or legal issue arise.  Under the current system security services are still subject to standard “low bidder” or “favoured” procurement processes.  Until legislation imposes uniform standards for this industry, the issues of training and service quality will remain inconsistent and problematic.  The security industry is not standardised in many ways and that is especially critical in terms to global terrorism and domestic violence the troubles the world currently. 
 
Training for security officers is an area in gross need of standardisation.  Training requirement and practices vary greatly by state or region and by security companies in the United States and in the world at large.  Additionally, most existing requirements are based on quantity, not quality.  Not all governments even require licensing for security officers.  Standardisation will improve security and help in providing better trained and regulated officers who are not only more effective but also more resistant to lawsuits. 
 
Currently, most security standards are established locally but there is a great disparity among those regulations even in adjoining states or regions.  Even this local standards effort has been met with mixed results and the only real solution is consistency in a greater national and international standards efforts. 
 
Professional business and security standards are sorely needed in the security and investigative profession.  Realistically, it will require legislation to achieve a national and a greater international standard, but the benefits of upgrading the professionalism of the security personnel and operations are long overdue, having had much talk but little done. 
 
In today’s world convergence of physical security with information technology is having a profound impact on all aspects of the security profession.  As has been the case in numerous other professions, intelligently applied technology tremendously enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of people and operations.  How security personnel interact with technology is of critical importance in any security operations.  The ability to use technology has become a basic requirement for the job of the 21st Century security officer.  Integration technology into the security engagements makes the job of this new age security officer easier and assets better protected.  Not every form of technology is appropriate for every engagement, but the proper integration of technology using proven standards absolutely improves overall security.  This combination of security technology and highly trained people is an important development for future growth within the security industry. 
 
With this new age the single biggest issue that faces the security industry is the lack of standardisation.  National regulations and international guidelines for training, testing and background of all applicants that would uncover criminal records and other liabilities that may exist will be greatly needed.  The manned security officer sector is a vital business that is continually seeking to hire employees.  Attracting qualified applicants to this security sector will remain a big issue considering pay and benefits. 
 
Training standards will also ensure that all security officers, regardless of what company they work or where they reside at, are properly educated and legally prepared.  Officer training should be regulated according to the material taught and the knowledge retained, not the number of hours invested.  Industry wide standards will support this investment in training and support greater efforts in quality of services given and lessen the risks of legal issues or lawsuits within the industry. 
 
In today global world one of the major issues in the security industry will continue to be the convergence of physical security with information technology, standardisation of professional practices, comprehensive, initial and on-going employee training and efficient, and cost effective delivery of protective services.  Resolving those issues will elevate the security profession and industry to the level required by modern global companies, organisations and other institution to operate securely and successfully in today’s global environment. 
 
Gregory D.  Lilyhorn, BSCrJ, CFC, CAS, CSC, CCI, CCP, CFI, SSI, CIPS, CHS-III, has an extensive and distinguished history of service and participation in law enforcement, corporate security, emergency management, education and consulting in the United States with over 40 years of experience with significant expertise and practical experience in a number of critical corporate business and government sectors. 

Mr. Lilyhorn had a successful law enforcement career covering over 30 years of practical state and federal law enforcement experience, finishing out his career as a Senior Federal Law Enforcement & Security Specialist with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of U.S. Federal Protective Services being honourably retired after 20 years of federal law enforcement service in 2004.  He then went on to serve in Corporate Security with Tenet Healthcare Corporation for five successful years leaving to start his own consulting business in 2010. 

Mr. Lilyhorn is an accomplished "Toastmaster" guest lecturer/speaker, and as a seasoned instructor with a wide expertise in a wide array of security and law enforcement disciplines.  As an experienced trial consultant he has reviewed and commented on civil and criminal matters involving lengthy reviews of security service provider negligence and public safety practices and is part of an elite cadre of professionals being a recognised court-qualified expert and a Certified Forensic Consultant. 
 
In today global world the major issues in the security industry will continue to be the convergence of physical security with information technology, standardisation of professional practices; comprehensive, initial and on-going security officer training; and efficient, cost-effective delivery of protective services.  Resolving those issues will elevate the security profession to the level required for modern companies, organisations and other institutions to operate securely and successfully in today's global environment and lessen the risks of legal issues and lawsuits.  

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