16 January 2024

11 Qualities Your Security Personnel Should Possess

Security threats are always evolving, which means you need to have well-trained and competent staff on your side to help protect individuals, property and assets.

Whether you’re running a business, managing an event or overseeing a residential complex, the success of your security team can make all the difference. They will not only respond in the event of an incident, but they will also take steps to prevent incidents from occurring.

To build a strong security team, you need to focus on the following attributes, skills and abilities. These are 11 qualities that you should look for every time you hire a security professional if you want to avoid mishaps:

1. Alertness

Security personnel must be vigilant and alert at all times. They should possess sharp observational skills to quickly identify potential threats or suspicious activities.

Security training covers what to do in the face of an incident, but incidents are often few and far between. The real test of a good security professional is how they remain alert and aware in the long and often boring stretches between. They need to be able to stay one step ahead of the threat by remaining alert.

Strong communication skills

2. Strong communication skills

Communication is essential when it comes to coordinating security efforts. Your security team needs to be able to talk to one another and keep key stakeholders in the loop. This includes verbal and written communication skills, but also listening skills, as they might also need to be able to take direction.

They also need to be able to use their communication skills to diffuse situations. This typically means being able to quickly build a rapport with people so they can diffuse situations before they become more problematic.

The best security guards never have to physically remove anyone from a venue because they use their body language, tone of voice and tactful words to address situations.

3. Physical fitness

While it’s true that you don’t have to be a specific height or physique to succeed as a security guard, you do need to be able to stand for extended periods and patrol a site with ease. You’ll also need to be able to respond to situations as they arise, keeping yourself safe in the process.

4. Professionalism

A security professional is often the first face that a visitor will encounter, so they need to be friendly and personable. They are required to uphold the integrity of your organisation, so they need to have an enduring sense of professionalism.

Their level of professionalism will impact how the company is perceived. It’s important that security professionals are not only strict in upholding standards, but also supportive to those that need help. This is why the role of security guard is often combined with a concierge role to maximise the contact they have with building visitors.

Problem-solving abilities

5. Problem-solving abilities

They need to be able to think on their feet and make decisions with minimal input from their superiors. They must also be able to assess situations quickly, spot the potential risks, and take action to prevent this threat from going any further.

Another key part of the security guard role is decisiveness. They cannot second guess themselves or struggle to take action. They need to be confident in their assessment of a situation and be willing to deal with the consequences of their actions, knowing that they took action based on their knowledge and training.

6. Conflict resolution

Often, being able to de-escalate situations is more helpful than being able to deal with a security incident. There is less risk to everyone involved when the security guard takes preventative action rather than only responding to situations.

A key part of security guard training involves de-escalating conflicts and diffusing tense situations are a critical aspect of security work. A key part of the security guard training programme covers conflict resolution techniques. This will enable them to handle disputes peacefully in order to prevent situations from escalating.

A key part of security guard training covers conflict resolution skills. It’s a common misconception that security guards would rather resort to force in order to deal with difficult situations – the use of force is always a last resort, and conflict resolution is the preferred method to diffuse difficult situations.

Knowledge of security procedures

7. Knowledge of security procedures

There are industry-standard security procedures that will be taught during the security guard training. It goes without saying that your security guard should be familiar with these. They should also be happy to take new instruction on board by learning the security procedures that are unique to your business.

8. Attention to detail

The best security guards notice everything and never seem to switch off. They develop skills that allow them to stay alert for long periods of time and spot signs that something is amiss. While most people would switch off after long periods of inactivity, the best security guards use techniques that enable them to continually pay attention to what is going on around them.

9. Teamwork and collaboration

Security guards rarely work alone, so they need to be able to work well as part of a larger team. They might be working with other security guards, with CCTV operators, or with law enforcement. It’s also helpful if they are able to build strong relationships with security guards from other sites in the area, as they will enable them to share information about potential threats.

Resilience and stress management

10. Resilience and stress management

Working in security can be mentally taxing so it’s essential that the security guard has effective techniques to switch off and rest in their down time. Dealing with burnout as a security guard will put everyone at risk as it means that they will be less effective in their role.

Security guards will often have to deal with the brunt of abuse from members of the public. It’s important that they can handle this stress effectively and not react emotionally when confronted with adversity.

11. Continuous learning and adaptability

Security threats are always changing and evolving, so a good security guard needs to keep on top of these changes with ongoing learning and development. As new threats arise, they need to take an active interest in learning how to deal with them. They should also be pushing for organisational change within a company if there are issues that need to be addressed.

Final thoughts

Hiring a security guard is not a simple task, as it’s not just about finding someone to man a desk. The best security guards have a mixture of natural aptitude combined with professional training to help make them as effective as possible. They also have the drive to continually update their skills and training so that they are always able to offer the very best to their organisation.

Security guards in the UK undertake standardised training which ensures they have the skills and competencies required to carry out the role effectively. All security guards should have completed an SIA-regulated course with examinations covered by Ofqual.

They should also undergo refresher training every three years to ensure their skills and knowledge are up-to-date with the latest regulations.

But this is the bare minimum – additional qualifications and a positive mindset will make all then difference between a qualified security operative and a skilled one.