• Top 5 CCTV Surveillance Signals – How to tune into incidents

    Aug 21 • Career Advice, CCTV Operations • 8061 Views

    As for all areas of security, simply completing the course and successfully applying for your SIA licence will not make you good at your job. Commitment, work experience and further training all play a part.

    The role of a CCTV operator is no different. However, articles such as this can be of assistance too. Here we look at ways in which you can tune in to incidents to spot situations as they occur.

    1. Exceptions to the rule

    Being able to spot deviations or anomalies within a situation is the number one way of picking up on a potential incident. Regulations and procedures exist in society to safeguard the public, to protect businesses and products and our property. These regulations generally have to be contravened for an incident to occur.

    Helpfully, a person will often give off signals when their intent is to contravene such regulations. A CCTV operator should watch for a person;

    • Exhibiting unusual behaviour;
    • Being in an area where they shouldn’t be;
    • Lingering around in an area for longer than seems appropriate;
    • Dressed inappropriately for the setting;
    • Acting suspiciously in general.

    In the presence of such signals a CCTV operator should intensify their focus on that person.

    2. Body language

    Sia Licence Hub - CCTV OperatorA CCTV operator needs to become an expert on body language. Body language is the key indicator that when understood properly can signal a person’s intent.

    Signs such as nervousness, stress and anxiety or over-exaggerated behaviour, (especially in a context where it seems unnecessary or unwarranted) are tell tale indicators of someone preparing themselves for untoward behaviour, (or in some cases trying to get away with an incident after the event).

    A CCTV operator working in a customs environment will rely on body language more than any other sign. A security officer in these circumstances must fine-tune these skills of analysis.

    A way a suspect watches their environment is also a good indicator. If you see someone looking around trying to spot camera positions, or maybe they are glancing over their shoulders to see who is around, you should keep a closer eye on this person. Quick rapid looks in different directions, is another possible indication of a person checking their surroundings so as not to be observed.

    3. Distractions

    CCTV Operator DistractionDistractions are normally employed when a suspect is working to commit an offence as part of a group. Designed to distract attention from an incident, members of the team can cause a commotion in one location in order to divert attention and resources, leaving the main incident to occur undetected.

    To combat this, a CCTV Operator must have the ability to divide their attention and monitor a number of actions taking place at once, (also on a series of different screens). This is not easy and will only come with time and experience.

    The effectiveness of the CCTV operator is increased where he is able to tune in to the sorts of situations that may be causing a distraction, and recognize them for what they are. Being able to detect subtle communication between apparently unrelated people is also a valuable skill, as this can forewarn an operator of a potential distraction.

    4. Shielding

    Any behaviour that blocks camera-viewing perspective should give concern to the on duty CCTV operator. If a 3rd party is blocking the view of people behind them in a way that looks as if they are shielding, or standing to block a view without apparent reason then the operator should pay attention. Similarly if a person is moving into blind spots without reason, it could be a sign that an incident is likely to occur.

    Shielding can be prevalent in shops. For instance, an accomplice may attempt to shield the person committing the offence from the cameras view, so that an item may be stolen without detection.

    CCTV centre

    5. Common sets

    Many incidents materialize in the presence of a common set of cues. For example, an old man walking along an empty street counting money in his wallet, while two rough looking young men follow up behind, is a scenario that would capture any CCTV operators attention.

    Although the example above is rather obvious, it serves to show that an operator with experience will become sensitive to the sets of cues that when pieced together will signal trouble.

    The more such cues come together, the more probable an incident is about to occur. An operator will observe, and as the number of cues increases they will be ready to track and report.

    In most circumstances the opportunity to detect an incident is very short indeed. The window may only last for a few seconds. If the CCTV operator is tuned in to the correct signals the greater the chance of him being alert to an incident as it occurs. When he is, the detection rate is obviously higher. Furthermore, if the operator is following the incident from its earliest stages, the video evidence that is produced will clearly be more useful and of a higher quality.

    Achieving the skills to be sensitive to the above signals takes time. To be a good CCTV operator takes a combination of natural talent, training and on the job coaching. However, by knowing what the signals are, and making sure you are as familiar with the conditions of your operating environment as you can be, you will find yourself detecting incidents with far greater efficiency. In short, you will be a better CCTV Operator.

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  • Frontline Security – Crime Scene Preservation

    Aug 15 • Career Advice, Door Supervisor, Security Guard • 6623 Views

    So you have passed your training and you have your SIA licence. It is the first few months of your new job as a security guard or door supervisor. Sooner or later there will be an incident that will bring your training, and experience gained so far to, into the fray.

    Hopefully you along with the help of your colleagues will deal with the actual situation, as you should. However, what about the immediate aftermath?

    We recently did an article on ‘how to write an incident report’. Here we look at what to do at the aftermath of a crime scene.

    Securing a Crime Scene

    If a serious offence occurs where you work then it will be your role to take charge of the crime scene until the police arrive. Valuable evidence can be lost if a security officer fails to preserve the scene correctly. Without that evidence, it may be difficult to trace and prosecute any offenders.

    In short, a security guard or door supervisor must take immediate physical charge of the area where the offence took place. Unfortunately the necessary tactics are barely touched upon in your SIA training, meaning new SIA licence holders have to learn from their peers and on the job.

    There are four fundamental principles to effective crime scene preservation:

    1. Prevent evidence from being contaminated

    This means avoiding fingerprints/footprints etc being added to a scene. Never leave any items at the scene which were not there at the time;

    2. Prevent evidence from being destroyed

    Avoid the smudging fingerprints, or walking on footprints in blood;

    3. Prevent evidence from being removed

    Do not remove broken glass or other aspects of the scene that you think trivial, in order to have greater access.

    4. Preventing evidence from being moved

    Do not tidy up the scene, from a forensic perspective the positions of items may be of importance.

    If possible it is good practice to upheld these principles along with noting and recording (camera phones can be especially useful here) any details of the scene before anything is moved or replaced.

    Also, only allowing people near the scene who actually need to be there is vitally important. Cordon off the area, evacuate the area if necessary, the worst contamination to a scene is that of the general public.

    The quicker you alert the police of an incident so that they are able to respond the better. The faster they arrive, the less chance of scene contamination occurring. Ultimately, the decisions that a security officer makes at the outset of an incident, and how they communicate their actions to the police, can greatly affect any investigation.

    Forensic Evidence

    Forensic evidence is essential if the police are to link suspects to a crime and its victims. It is also an important tool in proving or disproving the differing stories that may occur as people have their own view on events.

    As an SIA licensed door supervisor or security guard, your story of events is an important one. You must be able to identify a possible crime scene, evaluating details from a safe distance in order to consider the best possible course of action. A security officer must consider the possibilities of forensic evidence and how best to preserve it. They must be able to react calmly and efficiently in order to clear the scene of any contamination, yet know what details will be most important to the police and be ready to report those details to the police and in a later incident report.

    All professional SIA licenced frontline officers should remember this:

    CRIME SCENE ? – EVALUATE – PRESERVE – INFORM

    By following these three actions on identifying a possible crime scene you will be doing your job as a security officer, and will assist the police on any subsequent enquiry.

    Types of Forensic Evidence

    Fingerprints

    SIA Licence Hub - Gold FingerprintsWe have all watched CSI and seen the way fingerprint evidence can work. The fact that our fingerprints are unique to us all, mean they are invaluable in connecting a particular person to a particular place.

    Just as we see in the movies, finger marks are left behind when your fingertips touch a smooth surface. The oil and sweat that we secrete leaves these marks that are actually made from the tiny ridges in our skin.

    Marks can also be made by bloodstained fingers, and may be left at the scene by a bloodstained knife or broken bottle. A door supervisor must be very careful not to leave their own marks on such items. If you smudge those of the suspect, the evidence could be destroyed.

    The best method is to cover the article with something so that it cannot be touched until the police arrive.

    A good security officer will recognize what items may be of forensic value and will ensure that they remain preserved for examination.

    Blood

    SIA Licence Hub - bloodA scene of a serious offence may well contain traces of blood. This can be used for DNA profiling and can provide extremely strong evidence in a serious offences such as murder, violent attack and sexual assaults. A scene may also contain fragments of flesh or pieces of skin that can also be used to DNA profile a suspect.

    The way blood appears in a scene is also very important. The interpretation of blood splattering is a method whereby the examiner can determine the amount of blows in an attack, the position of the victim and sometimes the sequence of events in an attack, all by the evidence left by drops of blood on a victims clothes or the splattering of blood on surfaces.

    Footprint Marks

    Footprints can be found at most crime scenes, even if not visible to the human eye. As long as they are not destroyed in the immediate aftermath of an incident, they can prove very valuable as forensic evidence.

    Believe it or not, boot or shoe prints can be recovered from all manner of surfaces as long as it is not disturbed. Also, the souls of our shoes can be surprisingly unique. As they become unevenly worn the under surface will form its own print, linking suspects to a scene if a specific footprint is found there.

    The usefulness of this evidence is again down to how the security officer reacts to a crime scene. Much like any other evidence, visible footprints should be covered to avoid any contamination until the police arrive.

    Health & Safety

    Finally, a note on health and safety. An SIA trained security officer must practice due diligence in the area of health and safety.

    The immediate safety of the public and other colleagues always comes before the preservation of a crime scene. Make sure the area is safe and clear before attempting to preserve evidence.

    In any situation where a security officer is dealing with blood or other body fluids they should always wear rubber gloves; both to avoid fingerprint contamination, and to protect themselves from possible infection.

    Comment

    Preserving the scene of a crime is just on of the many duties a security guard or door supervisor will have to deal with in the course of their career. If you have any stories, advice or comments on this, why not start a conversation below.

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  • SIA Licence Checker Online

    Security Officer Tips – How to write an Incident Report

    Aug 13 • Door Supervisor, Security Guard • 23263 Views

    For frontline security roles such as security guarding or door supervision, writing an incident report is an essential part of the job. If a situation occurs a detailed report will help you (and if necessary the police) maintain a clear picture of the event, long after it has taken place.

    Clear communication within your writing is what is required. This means using proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. (Abbreviated text-speak or Internet language has no place here.)

    The incident report you write is more often than not treated as confidential. However, at the very least your immediate superiors will end up reading what you write. And of course, when the situation demands it the police, a solicitor or fire department personnel will need to read it.

    Most employers that you work for will provide a template for you to base your report on. This keeps reporting universal throughout all shift patterns no matter which security officer is on duty.

    When you first begin to write reports the template makes it easier, giving you guidance on what you need to include. These days you will often be writing your report on a computer, meaning the automatic spell checker will help you if spelling isn’t your forte. If your incident report is hand written it is important to ensure your handwriting is clear and legible. You never know how and when the report will be needed.

    State Only the Facts

    Security Officer - Writing a reportOnly the facts are required in any incident report that you write. You are not being asked for your opinion. You might believe that a suspect is drunk, however it is much better to write down the facts that led you to that conclusion. For example, you could state that you smelled alcohol on their breath, or that the suspect had slurred speech. If you can remember any speech directly from the encounter, use quotes in your writing to signify what this was.

    Simple Language

    Your incident report should be clear and readable in its use of language. No matter the level of experience a person has, (the reader may not have an SIA licence and be fully trained in security), they should be able to understand the terminology you have used. After all, your report may one day have to be read out in a courtroom as evidence; the more people that can understand it, the better the report.

    It may be tempting to use jargon, or abbreviate common terms that are particular to your area or establishment. Try to avoid this if possible. Or if you do have to use such language write the meaning of the jargon in brackets within the report.

    Formatting

    This is an extension of the above point. Use formatting to make your report clear and readable. Don’t make it one long paragraph; break the text into sections so that each new point you are making is clearly defined.

    Bullet points can be used to great effect, or even numbered lists as they draw the reader’s attention to important content. In the end it is a case of choosing a formatting method that will communicate the facts as simply and clearly as possible.

    5 Ws, 1 H

    Who, what, when, where, why, and how – If you can remember these details and they are clearly stated in your incident report, you will not go wrong.

    In truth, if you are missing any one of these details your report is not complete. It is also important to include everyone that was present and involved with the incident, this would include any other security officers, any police, firemen, and other emergency personnel.

    As has been stated, clarity is key. Be clear about what happened and where it happened; explain the details of the events that led up to the incident and how it all progressed.

    Follow the above points and you will have a strong incident report that covers everything that would ever be needed from it.

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  • Communication - Door Supervisors

    Door Supervisor Tips – Controlling Aggressive Behaviour

    Aug 2 • Door Supervisor • 8844 Views

    In the first part of this series we looked at how to predict aggression and how it can turn to actual physical violence. In this article we will look at ways of diffusing that behaviour so that the attack does not take place.

    It is naturally just a part of the job for a door supervisor to encounter aggressive behavior from time to time. In fact, rude, insulting and antagonistic behavior towards door supervisors is so common that in many instances it is actually better to ignore the surface actions of the aggressor, rather than add fuel to flame so to speak. Experience of the job, and understanding the context of a person’s aggression will give you the tools in order to gauge this.

    Occasionally however, a person’s behaviour will go beyond what can be classed as acceptable or understandable levels of aggression, and a door supervisor will have no choice but to react.

    This reaction can either be an attempt to diffuse the situation, or it could be steps towards controlling or even defensive measures against the aggressor if circumstances have escalated in a way that requires such. Whichever measure is chosen, it is vitally important that a door supervisor is able to control their own aggression. A rational approach is far more effective than one where door supervisors have become angry and aggressive themselves. By all accounts this would be a sign that they have lost control.

    DIFFUSING AGGRESSION

    Aggression - Door Supervisor Tips Wherever possible, it is better to identify ways of diffusing the aggression in order to avoid such encounters from turning into confrontational situations. For example, simply telling someone that they have had too much to drink as they join the end of the queue rather than leaving it until they have finally reached the front of the line before refusing them entry, is a much better approach.

    Door supervisors should equip themselves with pre-planned answers to common sources of conflict. If you are confident with your knowledge of house policies, and areas of the law that are relevant to the establishment you are working for, you will be able to perform your job all the better. Furthermore, by having answers to people’s complaints and a reason for policies that they might not understand or agree with, will help solve potential conflict before it has a chance to escalate.

    Either party in a confrontational situation can provoke the other to state of aggression. It is quite possible for a door supervisor to handle an encounter badly by acting unsympathetic, rude or even threatening towards a customer. This can in turn provoke an aggressive reaction, and the situation can spiral out of control.

    One of the most important tools a door supervisor has to prevent a situation turning aggressive, is good communication skills. Being able to placate a person appropriately will help diffuse aggression better than any other tactic.

    USING COMMUNICATION

    Communication - Door SupervisorsA good approach for a door supervisor is to weigh up each situation with a set procedure, that allows them to alter their actions depending on the level of resistance they are experiencing against them. For example, if a customer refuses to do something when first asked, it would be unreasonable to use physical force immediately. Steps have to take place before that becomes an option.

    R E A C T is an important pneumonic that all door supervisors should remember. It forms a useful guide on how to exert control during an encounter or conflict.

    R – request
    E – explain
    A – appeal
    C – confirm
    T – take action

    Request

    This first stage is quite simply where the door supervisor will ask a person to comply with a request. This could be to leave the premises, move from an area, put out the cigarette etc. Very often a person will do exactly what they are told and the situation will end there. However, some will refuse or will want to argue their point, (especially if asked to leave) in the hope that the security officer will change their mind.

    Explain

    The customer may not understand the request, or may not fully understand the reasons as to why he has to abide by it. In such circumstances the door supervisor should explain the reason for the request. As stated earlier, here the door supervisor should know the house policies and particular rules inside and out, so that he can convincingly explain to the customer as to why the request has been asked.

    Appeal

    If the customer should continue to refuse to comply, before resorting to any kind of physical action, the door supervisor should repeat the request and appeal for the customer to do what has been asked. This should then be affirmed by explaining exactly what will happen if the customer is non compliant. ie, explaining that they could be physically removed from the premises and in appropriate circumstances that the police might be called.

    Confirm

    If even after all of the above, the customer continues to act belligerently there is one more step that the door supervisor should take before resorting to physical force. That is to confirm that the customer understands exactly what is about to happen, and then in a defensive attempt to give the customer a final chance to back down. This can come in a phrase such as: “Is there anything I can say to you that will make you co-operate?”

    If the answer is no, the door supervisor clearly has no choice but to take physical action.

    Take Action

    This means acting in an appropriate manner depending on the customer’s breach of house policies. If the customer has to be physically removed from the premises, a door supervisor should summon the assistance of his colleagues and eject the person using the minimum force required to do so. With extensive CCTV cameras in place in licensed premises, and legal issues surrounding the use of physical force, it is important to only use that which is reasonable and necessary.

    Take Action ButtonRemembering REACT will help you as a door supervisor take all the necessary steps to diffuse a potential aggressive confrontation. If you have attempted to communicate with the customer on these terms and they still persist in non-compliance, they will have no standing in trying to allege that they were not given a chance before the resulting action was taken.

    If you are a door supervisor/security officer and have your own experience and comments on how to diffuse an aggressive situation feel free to leave a message below.

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  • SIA Training - Safety Tips

    3 Essential Safety Tips For Security Guards

    Aug 2 • Career Advice, Security Guard • 7293 Views

    Your security guard SIA training will have taught you much of what you need to stay safe as a security guard. However, once you start working it is easy to forget some of the points from your training days.

    You may begin to get comfortable in your role. There is very little conflict and your shift all to often finishes without any major event. Good, all security guards would like to keep it that way.

    However, when you least expect it, trouble may well occur. You have to be vigilant during the dull periods and ready to react when in layman’s terms, ‘the shit hits the fan’.

    At this point you will need to call upon the skills you learned to get your SIA licence in the first place.

    These next points will hopefully ring bells. By remembering these you should be able to cope with incidents that may occur.

    • Be aware of your surroundings
    • Be quick on your feet
    • Have a plan

    Lets take a look at these in a bit more detail…

    Security Guard Awareness

    Being Aware of Your Surroundings

    Not only should you know the area you are patrolling like the back of your hand, you also need to know what is happening around you at any given time.

    By being acutely aware of your surroundings, your brain will register signs of suspicious activity.

    Part of your job is to closely observe the area that you have been employed to guard. You should be aware of smaller details like the placement of different objects. If something looks out of place, you know it is time to investigate.

    Sounds are especially important. Don’t sit at your desk on the night shift with headphones on. Sounds can alert you to trouble and the possible presence of an intruder. Remember your SIA training and the need to be alert at all times.

    SIA Training - Security Guard quick on your feet

    Quick on Your Feet

    As we have already mentioned, you cannot afford to become complacent. If trouble starts you need to be quick on your feet.

    This involves looking after your self physically. Having the ability to move fast will help you stay safe.

    You should plan take to daily exercise, including aerobic and anaerobic. Whether this is through running outside of work, or going to the gym, it doesn’t matter; just make sure you don’t fall into the unfair movie stereotype of the unfit mall security guard, munching on bad food throughout his shift.

    This is your career, and your health is your life. You should be in great shape if you want to be prepared for all incidents.

    You should also be fully accustomed with any tools that you have for protection or offensive security guard tactics. Again, having a fresh mind on what you learnt on your SIA training course is highly important.

    You cannot afford to waste time trying to figure out your tools while in pursuit of a suspect. You need to practice frequently so that your instincts and reaction time remain as quick as they possibly can be.

    SIA Training - Security Guard Plan

    Have a Plan

    Finally, you should always have a plan. Spend time to imagine situations that might occur where you work. What would you do in these circumstances? This connects with being aware of your surroundings.

    Your training should have taught you the need of careful planning. You should be prepared for the best way to protect yourself, others around you and the building and property of your employers.

    A plan of action will include, knowing exactly where all exits are in your building, what are the safety protocols?

    Do you work with other security guards? What modes of communication do you have, what contingencies do you have if these fail? How do you coordinate yourselves in a team, what roles would each play in any given scenario.

    These are areas that need to be discussed. Your supervisor should assist in some of these. Coordinate your efforts by developing a plan together.

    These three simple rules will help you perform better as a security guard. They will help keep you safe and will help ensure the safety of those around you.

    Do you have any mental safety tips that you use while on the job as a security guard? If you were training a new recruit, what would you say is the most important thing to remember? As always, feel free to comment below.

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  • interview questions

    Top 10 Tips to Finding Work in the Security Industry

    Jul 24 • Career Advice, CCTV Operations, Close Protection Officer, Door Supervisor, Other Security Roles, Security Guard • 16944 Views

    The first part of this article gives an introduction to the industry, the types of roles available and the kind of wages, hours and working conditions etc you might expect if employed in the UK security industry.

    If you would like to get straight to the ‘Top 10 tips to find work in the security industryclick here.

    Introduction

    The security industry has grown exponentially over the last 10 years. Every major public or private organization now invests heavily in onsite security, whether it be for the protection of personnel and property, (the focus of this website of course), or the security of data.

    All this means that the industry is strong, and there is a wide scope of opportunity for those wanting to train and work within it. There is an ever-increasing range of careers available.

    security guard careers

    Security Careers Available

    We here at the Hub focus only on frontline security careers. We have articles and resources all over the site dedicated to each security officer role. Head to the sections to find out more:

    Close Protection
    CCTV Operation
    Door Supervision
    Security Guarding
    Other Security Roles

    The size of the UK security sector

    The latest official figures from a study completed in 2012 state that over 150,000 people were employed in the UK’s security-related industries. (And this did not include the surge of security personnel trained and employed for the London Olympics)

    However, there are other estimates that state the size of the UK security industry to be closer to half a million. (Unfortunately, the discrepancy between the two figures has not been explained by the relevant statisticians, all the same the numbers involved to go a long way to show just how large the industry has become in recent years.)

    Where is the UK’s Security industry predominantly based?

    As with a lot of sectors that have large central organizations, the southeast of England (with London and areas close to the capital being a significant draw) sees the largest concentration of Security workers.

    A 2006 study shows the breakdown of people employed in security guard and related occupations, as follows:

    London: 26,500 (18.4%)
    Midlands: 23,300 (16.2%)
    South East: 23,200 (16.1%)
    Northern Ireland: 3,300 (2.3%)
    North East: 3,800 (2.6%)
    Wales: 5,100 (3.5%)

    Although the figures detailing the amount of people working in each area will have increased over the last 6 years, the percentages will remain much the same. Post recession, these figures continue to reflect the employment status throughout the UK.

    Who works in the security industry?

    Being such a large industry, with multiple career directions, ensures that a wide range of people from all sorts of social, economical and educational background work within it. It really is a diverse employment sector. Some frontline roles have proven a popular UK employment choice for Non-EU applicants.

    If a candidate is able to meet the English language requirement to successfully complete the relevant SIA licence training, they will very rarely suffer from discrimination when applying for a role. Also, the UK security sector is becoming well represented by woman at a senior level of staffing.

    With the range of jobs available, the clichéd image of a burley door supervisor just accounts for one section of the industry, (and is not particularly representative at that). The sector truly welcomes all that have the relevant training and drive to succeed.

    working around-clock-white-backgroundHours of employment

    In many instances the need for 24hr security protection, or frontline licensed premises employment, means a security officer can be expected to work any hour of the day. What’s more, shift patterns could mean long hours of work at any one time.

    However, with improved legislation concerning the general workforce, front line staff are facing less pressure to work such long hours. The implications of the working time directive (that contract companies are abiding by) and competitive pressure from firms within the industry, is ensuring greater rights for the employee and fairer working hours throughout the security sector.

    (The choice to opt out of the working hour restrictions is available for employees, for those where the work is available. This means overtime, (although often at the standard hourly rate) for which workers can increase the income. The choice to do this is the important development overall).

    Availability of Jobs

    Before the global recession, the UK like most of the developed world was enjoying the highest amount of people within work for decades. Times were good, opportunities were plenty.

    There was under-staffing in roles across the board, which led to the job papers and websites offering new security roles on a daily basis. However, as the global economic stagnation continues, so to does the amount of security jobs available. It certainly is a different picture from 2007.

    That does not mean to say it is all doom and gloom though. The nature of the security sector as a necessity within today’s society, the industry has not suffered as greatly as most. Competition from other job seekers may be increased, but positions still exist.

    Head to our jobs board to see for yourself. Opportunities are available with the amount of listings remaining healthy.

    Security Industry Professional body

    The SIA (Security Industry Association) is the main organization overseeing the UK’s security Industry. It is a legal requirement to have an SIA licence, and complete relevant SIA regulated training to be able to work as a security officer in this country.

    Head to our article on ‘what is the SIA?’ to find out about the organisation.

    I’m over 45 – am I too old to work in the Security Industry

    This of course is nonsense. Many people come into the security industry as a second career. Close protection and door supervision in particular, when a lot of the personnel have experience in the military or police forces.

    The industry is by no means ageist. It is possible to train for the SIA licence if you are within the working age group. True, close protection work is more physically demanding than that of a CCTV operative, however the choice remains with the individual, and by no means should your age put you off if you are committed to completing your training and starting work as a security officer.

    What Academic requirements are there?

    Academic credentials are not normally a prerequisite to working in the security industry. Skills and personal attributes are a more important consideration. In the line of hostile environment close protection, experience in the field is definitely required. This normally comes from working in the armed forces with time spent working in comparable environments.

    Basic English is a must to be able to pass the various SIA licence examinations. The SIA training standards control the entry level expertise required of all personnel.

    As explained above, your dedication and commitment can then take you to varying levels within the industry, based on your aptitude and experience. To facilitate this, a number of qualifications do exist, from NVQ’s to highly specialized Docterates, meaning academic qualifications can play a significant part in your career progression depending on the direction you choose.

    I have a criminal record can I still apply for an SIA Licence?

    The truth of the matter is, if you have a criminal conviction, you will find it more difficult to successfully apply for your SIA licence and start your career as a security officer. Furthermore, if you do manage to obtain your licence, employers can be less entitled to employ you in a security role if you have a past conviction.

    The SIA do not intentionally put people off apply for a licence, and you can sometimes provide mitigating evidence. Head to our article regarding SIA licence criminality checks here.

    sia licence hub find a job

    Top 10 tips to finding work in the Security Industry

    With the abundance of job and recruitment websites, newspaper listings, security guard agencies etc, access to most areas of security industry employment opportunities can be relatively straightforward. However, actually finding the job you want and beating the competition to get it, is a completely different issue altogether. Following these 10 tips should make the whole ordeal that little less painful.

    1. Your CV should be perfect

    Make sure your CV is tailored exactly for the security position you are after. Ensure your key skills are listed. There are plenty of CV writing guides online. Use them. Get friends to check spelling, grammar and readability. Keep it to 2 pages max. No colourful motif’s or elaborate fonts. Simple, effective and to the point. All job searches start with the CV. Get it right.

    2. Make a list of all the security companies in your area

    Go online and research and make a list of all the security companies in your area. Find out the areas of security that they specialize in, and if they prove relevant to you, give them a call. Many will allow you to send your CV and sign up via the Internet. Try to find out which security companies are dealing with upcoming events in your area. If they are busy, they will be looking to sign more people onto their books. Be there when that happens. A little bit of research will put you ahead of other candidates.

    3. Sign up to online job sites and recruitment agencies

    We all hate this one, as it is time consuming and recruitment agents can be terrible to work with. However, they do prove a way in for many looking for work. Signup to all those that cover the type security work you are looking for. Organise an appointment with the agency and go in to sign up properly.

    Those that offer online signup vary rarely bother to get back to you. Only once they have met you in person can you ensure that they are actually actively looking for work on your behalf.

    Create an email address specifically for job hunting, and get targeted job emails sent to you from the various online sources. Be sure to check everyday, and try to filter out the jobs you want to apply for.

    job-centre jobs available

    4. Visit your local job centre

    Your job centre has hundreds of jobs listed on their internal network. Many government/council security jobs will appear here first. Walk down to your local job centre and get a print out of the relevant security jobs in your area.

    Also, organize a meeting with one of their careers advisers, they may be able to help with information on firms that are currently recruiting.

    5. Keep Track of your efforts

    Keeping track of all your efforts is a full time job within itself. It is also vitally important. Use a simple spreadsheet; enter all the details of agencies you’ve joined, job sites you’ve signed up to (keeping track of all login information).

    Keep details of all applications, save any covering letters you’ve written. These can be reshaped for multiple job applications depending on what you need to say.

    Be as organized as you can. It will make the process a whole lot less painful.

    6. Speak to security officers you meet

    Speak to any security operatives that you meet during the day, ask them which firm they found their job through and whether they know if they are recruiting. Some security officers may well hurry you along without a response; others will take the time to answer a couple of quick questions and will be happy to help out a fellow officer. You lose nothing by asking.

    7. Use Social Media

    Do not be afraid to broadcast to the world that you are job hunting. Post an update on Facebook asking if anyone knows of jobs available, or of anyone who is currently working in the industry that you might be able to speak to. Never underestimate the power of social media for getting a message out there. Through friends of friends your network can be wide reaching.

    Interview be prepared

    8. Prepare for your interview

    If you get asked for an interview, make sure you research the background of the company. Use this information so you are able to asking relevant questions during the meeting. An employer will always be impressed if you have done your research and come knowing a bit about them.

    9. Look good for your interview

    First impressions count. Do not take any risks with your personal presentation. During your research, ascertain the company’s style. As a security officer you will be expected to look and be professional while on the job. Make sure you project this image when meeting any potential employer.

    10. Don’t Give Up

    And finally, do not give up. Job searching is never easy or fun, and in our current economic climate it is the hardest it has been for a number of years. However, keep at it, if you follow the steps above the right position will be yours before you know it.

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  • Top 10 SIA Licence FAQ’s

    Jul 17 • Career Advice, SIA Licence • 13947 Views

    The SIA has many enquiries from licence holders and SIA licence applicants. However, it is only natural that to some extent the same questions come up over and over again. Here are the top 10 frequently asked questions that the SIA face every year.

    1. How do I apply for an SIA licence?

    This makes an obvious number 1. Most people contacting the SIA are doing so in order to apply or renew their licence. There is detailed information on our website covering this.
    For our advice on how to renew your licence, head here.

    2. How long will it take to process my SIA licence application?

    The SIA state that they attempt to process a minimum of 80% of all completed applications that are handed in and completed correctly, within a 25 working day period.

    The 25 day clock starts to click once your application has been entered onto the SIA licence administration system. The time ends on the day the SIA make their decision.

    If for any reason your application has to be sent back to you for reasons that fall within your remit, (ie you have failed to provide relevant supporting documentation, or have filled in the form incorrectly), the clock is reset once your amended application has reached the SIA.

    Complex applications that involve extensive criminality checks or where the applying party is based overseas will often take longer than 25 working days to complete.

    3. How much does the SIA licence cost?

    The SIA licence is a standard £220. The SIA will only accept payments made in UK pounds sterling.

    The fee is payable in full at the same time as you submit your application. If your application is eventually denied, you will not be entitled to a refund. (There are means to challenge an SIA decision however)

    In some situations you may benefit from your employer covering the cost of your SIA licence application, however this is rare.

    The SIA accept various payment methods from applicants. They include cheque from a UK bank account, UK debit or credit card, banker’s draft or postal order. Any cheques should be made out to the “Security Industry Authority”.

    4. What do I do if my licence is lost, stolen or damaged?

    We have a page devoted to this irritating outcome here.

    In short you have to report the circumstances of the missing licence to the SIA. They will generally send you a new one free of charge.

    5. What are the SIA’s licence conditions?

    Your SIA licence is subject to various conditions that you must abide by. The SIA has a right to revoke or suspend your licence if those conditions are not met.

    The best place to view in these conditions in complete detail is at the SIA website. You can find the relevant page here.

    6. Can I appeal an SIA decision to refuse my licence application?

    The answer is yes you can. However, you only have 21 days from the date on the SIA decision letter notifying you of their refusal in which to appeal.

    Your appeal should be based on factual errors in the SIA assessment should you expect to have any chance of success. This could include an error of identity, an error in assessing your qualifications or the nature of a criminal conviction for instance.

    If your criminal history is a point of conjecture, in some circumstances you will be invited to supply mitigating information. This can include character references or detailed evidence of your rehabilitation since the offence took place. The letter from the SIA with details of their refusal will advise you on whether they are in a position to consider your case for mitigation.

    If you do not appeal within the 21 day period, the decision of refusal will automatically take effect. Once this has happened, the only way to appeal from this point onwards is to seek a right of appeal is through the Magistrate’s Court, Sheriff Court or District Court.

    However, if your application and appeal reaches this stage you do risk substantial court costs in both lodging the appeal and then the potential of losing the appeal at court.

    7. What are the penalties if I get caught working without an SIA licence?

    If you are found working in a licensable role without an SIA licence, the penalties can be quite severe. (And remember, you will be held responsible, the part your employer may play in the circumstances is actually irrelevant – they can be charged separately)

    However, for you as an individual working without a licence, upon summary conviction at a Magistrate’s Court, Sheriff Court or District Court, you could find yourself facing a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

    Best avoided you might agree.

    8. How do I renew my SIA licence?

    You can find out the procedure for renewing your licence here

    9. If my motor vehicle is clamped, blocked or towed away, can I complain to the SIA?

    The SIA website has a detailed explanation on an individual’s rights in such circumstances. You can find the relevant page here.

    10. If I have changed my name or address, how do I inform the SIA?

    We have a page with all the information on this little situation here.

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  • SIA Training Awarding Organisations

    Jul 8 • SIA Licence, Training • 8135 Views

    There are several SIA Training awarding organizations. Whenever you sign up to a training course, each will use one of these organizations to set the exams that you take and to mark them. Part of the job of the SIA is to ensure that each awarding organization complies to best practice guidelines, and that no matter where you take your SIA training there is a universal standard of testing throughout.

    You would not want to discover that one awarding organization was passing candidates on a lower testing threshold, than another.

    Your SIA training provider will had to have been vetted by the awarding organisation that it chooses to use, before it can offer training courses. This overseeing of the training provider will continue for as long as they conduct SIA training courses.

    malpractice

    SIA Training Malpractice

    Training malpractice is treated very seriously by the SIA and the respective awarding organisations.

    The SIA works closely alongside awarding organisations to ensure training malpractice does not occur. This is why it is essential to always book your course through an SIA approved training provider.

    In many ways the SIA relies on those that attend the courses to speak up and report back when they feel a training provider is guilty of malpractice. Systems are in place to facilitate any complaints you may have.

    If you suspect that malpractice has taken place within a training centre, you can file a report with the awarding organisation associated with your chosen provider.

    Each has a compliance departments that will investigate your complaint and will take appropriate action if deemed necessary. And don’t worry, if you choose to make a complaint, each is dealt with seriously and in confidence.

    However, SIA training malpractice is rare. If your training provider is SIA approved you should face no real issue.

    As stated, any training provider wishing to offer SIA related training courses will need to be approved by the relevant awarding organisation.

    Area of SIA training each organisation deals with

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  • Front Line Security – How To Predict Aggression

    Jul 2 • Door Supervisor • 5537 Views

    Predicting aggression and understanding when a person’s behaviour is about to turn to actual physical violence is a key skill that all front line security officers have to learn. This article will give you an idea of what to look for, in order to be able to do this.

    In a situation that is escalating, the aggressor will often become more angry and emotional about his position. This of course is also exacerbated if the aggressor has consumed any drugs and/or alcohol. As a door supervisor, it is vitally important to watch the person carefully in order to be prepared for when the situation may turn violent. Body language is obviously a key indicator for this, giving you pre-warning of potential physical violence.

    [For an interesting article on Alcohol, Violence, and Aggression head here]

    Signs that indicate a shift in temperament to one of violence include, extended use of eye contact from the aggressor, a change of facial expression to one that is more threatening, a raised voice, shouting and profanity. Change of body stance with the legs shifting and the head tilted back in a position to lunge. At this time, arm and hand movements could be exaggerated, as the aggressor moves closer preparing to fight.

    In the role of a door supervisor you will learn to recognise these signals as preparation for violence, and in time gauge the level of threat that a person possesses. In this way you can prepare yourself accordingly, both physically and mentally for an attack, and in the way of gaining support, summoning assistance from either other colleagues of if necessary the police.

    However, when these situations do occur, and you are confronted with a violent person, ultimately the door supervisor has to prepare himself for physical attack. Again, body language will give vital clues as to the intention of the aggressor. Areas to watch out for are as follows.

    HEAD

    As stated above, the head is normally held slightly back while a person shows aggression, however, just before a physical attack the head drops forward in an automatic motion to protect the throat.

    angry eyes

    EYES

    They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and whether that be true or not, they certainly do aid a door supervisor in that they can give important clues as to what an aggressor is thinking.

    During the first stages of aggressive behaviour a person’s pupils dilate. However, at the point the aggressor is about to attack the pupils will contract in a reaction to the feelings of anger and hatred. A sudden contraction of the pupils is a great sign that a door supervisor should immediately take the appropriate defensive action.

    Eye contact is also an important tactic for Door supervisors to use themselves. When on the verge of facing an attack, direct, unbroken eye contact can be enough to dissuade a person from actually attacking. Training and experience will give you the tools to do this. When used alongside other assertive body language techniques a door supervisor can often persuade the aggressor that they are confident in the face of any attack, and it really would not be worth their while in doing so. This confidence can make the aggressor reconsider, is it really worth them attacking you if you are ready to defend yourself?

    Another important signal to remember is that just before a person hits something it is only natural that he looks at it first. If you see your aggressor’s eyes suddenly twitch to your stomach area or chin or cheek, you should prepare yourself for him to strike you there.

    angry-man-lips

    LIPS

    A person’s lips will often tighten over their teeth just before launching an attack. The lips can also pull back showing clenched teeth. Both are signs that the aggressor has reached the point where an assault is imminent.

    angry red face

    FACIAL COLOUR

    It is natural that a person’s face is flushed with colour in moments of anger or stress. However, if during a conflict, the face suddenly drains of colour, it could be a sign that a person has reached a stage of complete loss of control. This can be dangerous as in such a state a person may be very unpredictable. Again, the use of physical violence on the part of the aggressor becomes more likely.

    BREATHING

    In a need to draw more oxygen before the physical exertion of conflict, a person’s breathing will visibly deepen when they are about to attack. You will be able to see the chest rise and fall with greater depth and speed, another vital sign indicating you should prepare yourself.

    UPPER LIMBS

    The upper limbs of the body will naturally tense just before a fight. A person’s shoulders will rise, the arms will bend at the elbow and of course the main tools of attack, the aggressor’s fists will be clenched and raised above waist height. If the situation has reached this stage, it is pretty obvious the person is about to attack.

    LOWER LIMBS

    Even an inexperienced fighter will naturally alter their body position into the best position to attack. Turning their body so it is at a slight angle to yours, with the fist that the person wishes to use raised and ready to strike. Also, to be able to lunge at you, the aggressor may drop slightly on the front foot, the spring action naturally supplying the punch with more force.

    All of these signs can take place, and must be read almost subconsciously as you do your job as a door supervisor. Right up to the point of attack, your job is to try and prepare yourself at the same time as attempting to diffuse the situation so that no physical violence takes place. At the end of the day, no wants that outcome. It generally means the involvement of the police with more paper work and a longer shift for you. (The aggressor after all may end up with an unwanted night in a police cell).

    The next part of our guide will look at just that: How to diffuse a situation of potential violence so no one gets hurt.

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  • Security Careers in Brief – Average salary & training costs

    Jun 26 • Career Advice • 7575 Views

    Security Guard

    Average hourly pay: £6.50 (£8 in London)

    The minimum training required for an SIA licence is 3 days

    Course Price £120 – £200

    If you take the security guard course you will be restricted to doing only security guard work. You will not be able to work on any premises where alcohol is served. If you wish to have a licence that allows more opportunity, becoming a licensed door supervisor may be preferred. If you complete your door supervisor training you will be able to carry out duties of a CCTV operator, apply for the role of a normal security guard as well as work licensed premises. Maximum choice and flexibility.

    For more information on gaining your Security Guard SIA licence, head here.

    Door Supervisor Insurance

    To legally work as a Door Supervisor in the U.K, you will first need an SIA Licence

    Door Supervisor

    Average hourly pay: £8-£15

    You will need to complete a 4 day training course

    Course prices start at £140 – £220 and depend on the provider and location

    You will be able to work in all licensed premises (pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants), retail stores, concerts and office buildings. As stated above, you can also carry out some CCTV operator duties.

    For more information on gaining your Door Supervisor SIA licence, head here.

    Working as a CCTV operator can be very demanding

    Working as a CCTV operator can be very demanding

    CCTV Operator

    Average hourly pay: £10

    A 4 day course for licence purposes

    Course price between £180 – £250

    With this licence you can only work as a CCTV operator.

    For more information on gaining your CCTV SIA licence, head here.

    Close Protection Officers

    The role of a close protection officer is one of the most dangerous in the security industry

    Close Protection Officer

    Average hourly pay: £150-£250

    An intensive 14 day training course, including close combat techniques. You will also need an appropriate first aid qualification before applying for your licence.

    Course price ranges between £1500 and £3000

    With this licence you can work as a unarmed close protection officer.

    For more information on gaining your Close Protection SIA licence, head here.

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