Security officers, or security guards, ensure that buildings, valuables or people are safe and secure. They help prevent theft and damage, and deal with emergencies.
The work may be in the following areas: door supervision in a large organisation (see Door Supervisor profile); patrolling property and securing premises; monitoring premises from a control room using closed circuit television (CCTV); guarding cash or other valuables in transit in a security vehicle; airport security, which involves searching aircraft, passengers and luggage and guarding the airport boundaries.
Some security officers may use guard dogs (see Dog Handler profile). The work can also involve customer care, signing in visitors and giving directions.
Security officers need to keep accurate records and write short reports, which may be needed by the police or courts.
Security officers work long hours - up to 48 hours a week with additional overtime. Working hours vary depending on the type of security work involved but evening and shift work is very common.
Many jobs involve driving, and for cash-in-transit work you spend much of your time in a security van. The work can mean sitting still most of the time, or standing and walking around a great deal.
You may work on your own or in a small team.
Uniforms are usually worn as well as protective clothing, especially for cash-in-transit work.
To be a security officer you should:
The demand for security officers is increasing all over the country. They work directly for an organisation, or for a private security company, many of which are small, local firms. It is important to look for a reputable company, who will give you training, and reasonable pay and conditions. Many good security companies are registered with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and the International Professional Security Association (IPSA). Lists of companies who have been inspected and approved are available through the websites of BSIA and IPSA (see Further Information).
Some security officers, once they have enough experience and knowledge of the business, run their own security companies.
With experience, promotion would be to senior or chief security officer, then supervisor. With additional qualifications it may be possible to progress to security management or training.
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