Posted Security Officers vs. Patrol Security Officers – Each has their benefits.
The image of security guards standing at the entrance of Buckingham Palace is burned into the minds of just about anyone with a television. The red coats, tall fuzzy hats, and white rifle all encasing the stoic officer who hardly blinks. Equally burned into our minds are patrol officers on shows like cops. Whether it’s satire or reality, officers in uniform seeking out criminals is something we all can picture.
These two illustrations show the two fundamental forms of security; Posted security guards and security patrols. When implemented properly each of these options provide a layer of security for your home, business, community, or event. The key to determining which you require is evaluating your specific weaknesses and devising a plan to address them. Both posted security guards and security patrols have their pros and cons, but what is most important is that security professionals in whatever form you contract can reduce your vulnerabilities.
Let’s start with the benefits and proper uses of posted security guards. This approach is most effective when the goal is to secure a building, a safe, an event, a particular room, or an ingress/egress point. After all, the first step to security is to prevent potential threats from gaining entry. This is easily achieved when posted security guards are stationed at points of ingress and egress. Having such guards standing at these strategic locations also adds a passive protection element. While yes they are actively deterring crime, their mere presence could be enough to send a would-be criminal packing. This is because posted security guards automatically harden targets, making them less desirable to those intent on wreaking havoc by getting in.
These same guards are perfect for, quite literally, standing guard and watching a particular asset. When it comes to safes, vaults, displays, and the like; a set of dedicated eyes is always helpful. Again, in this case these posted security guards serve both an active and passive deterrent role. Think of posted security guards not in terms of Buckingham Palace, but rather in the context of TSA. This dedicated security force at American airports are stationed at specific locations. They control entry and monitor incoming packages and travelers. Their aim is to prevent threats from getting to the airplanes.
However, airports, buildings, and vaults are fairly condensed spaces with limited entry and access points. This brings us to patrols. Security patrols are more useful in situations where a large swath of land or many buildings need to be secured simultaneously.
Communities will largely hire patrols to ensure the safety of all residents. Patrols can catch criminals in the act and also prevent crime simply through making their rounds. Their constant movement adds an element of unknown for those planning a crime. This could make the potential threat reconsider.
Another example is a ticketed event. You want a roving patrol keeping an eye on guests to ensure safety. It is common for people to attempt to sneak alcohol or drugs into events. This can be dangerous not only for that guest, but also all other guests, and the host. Self-serving is not ideal and liabilities exist should it go sour.
The downside of patrols, is that patrol security officers, even dedicated ones, only provide response capacity while they are on-site – and thus their inherent weakness is that they need to spend a small period of time in lots of areas. That being said, for many cases when security patrols are a good choice, an even better choice is to have the patrol work in tandem with posted security guards.
Consider the same community or event from our previous scenarios. One set of security guards controlling access while another set patrols the area should someone gain access through an undesignated entryway is the ideal amount of coverage. Having both protects you from a wider array of threats.
That’s the reality of security. It’s a team effort. While there are cases when security guards will work alone, it is always best to have multiple bodies carrying out multiple duties. No one person can be in two places at once, but two certainly can.