Security Officer Careers

How to become Security Officer

What does a Security Officer do?

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.

What's the working environment like working as a Security Officer?

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.

What does it take to become a Security Officer?

To be a security officer you should:

  • be mature, responsible and honest
  • have a polite and helpful manner
  • be healthy and physically fit
  • be able to write short reports and follow written instructions
  • have the confidence, to challenge or tackle people when necessary
  • be able to use your initiative and make quick decisions, to deal with unexpected situations
  • be good with computers and other technical equipment.

Security Officer Career Opportunities

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.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Security Officer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Security Industry Authority (SIA)
PO Box 9
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE82 6YX
Tel: 0870 243 0100

Skills for Security (Incorporating SITO)
Security House
Barbourne Road
Tel: 0845 075 0111

British Security Industry Association (BSIA)
Security House
Barbourne Road
Tel: 01905 21464

International Professional Security Association (IPSA)
Northumberland House Business Centre
11, The Pavement
Popes Lane
W5 4NG
Tel: 020 8832 7417

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

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