High levels of crime and violence continue to shock South Africa and as a result, people turned to high walls, electric fences and security companies to keep invading criminals out.
Over the years the media has been full of incidents around security guards, but often rather than fighting crime as they have been hired to do, they are found to have been involved or simply negligent. Let’s look into some of the serious issues surrounding the security guard industry.
1. Cut Throat Competition
Security is a highly competitive industry. Bidding wars often result in undercutting costs and lowering service quality including hiring undertrained guards who simply don’t know how to do the job!
2. Lack of Training
All security guarding officers should be registered with the Private Security Regulatory Authority and there are differing grades that determine the level of responsibility of the guard. But there are still security companies who operate under the radar and their guards are not trained or registered as required by law.
3. Long Hours and Low Pay
Security guards are often expected to work extremely long hours. Sleeping on duty and failure to detect a security breach is very common. Despite the fact that the security guard is often the first person on a crime scene, long before the police, they are not well paid. Far too often they are easily bribed and fall into the temptation of colluding with criminals for financial gain.
4. Criminal Infiltration
The security guard vetting process is often far from adequate to weed out criminals applying for positions as security guards. The pool of trained and competent security guards is limited and many companies are reluctant to perform pre-employment screening because they struggle to find people to meet contractual requirements. It also ads to cost to screen employees and with the high staff turnover rate it negatively influences the bottom line to keep on screening new candidates. Clients making use of security companies often assume that the security company has taken care of screening and do not follow up to see whether this was indeed done or not.
5. Lack of Industry Oversight
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) is meant to regulate and control the private security industry but oversight is currently limited to a handful of inspectors nationally who are expected to oversee the entire industry.
Leon Myburgh, owner of Bio-Detect Truth Verification Services in Bloemfontein and former Security Manager at Blue Chip Companies for over 25-years, recommends that clients of security service providers insist on the following :
- Certified Copy of the Company PSIRA Registration Certificate
- Certified Copies of the PSIRA Registration Certificates of each Security Manager, Security Supervisor, Security Officer and Relievers deployed on site.
- Copy of a Polygraph pre-employment screening report from a Polygraph Examiner of the Client’s choice
- Copy of a pre-employment screening conducted by a reputable company not affiliated with the Security Company. The screening should at least include a criminal record check and CCMA record check.
- Do periodic audits of security personnel deployed on site to ensure that the above requirements were met for all new /replacement personnel as well. All too often the security company complies when the first officers are placed on site but as the contract matures and people gets replaced, the above is not done with new personnel.
- The client should also randomly request that security personnel be subjected to a periodic screening and that such screenings be conducted by a polygraph examiner of the clients choice.
For more information:
Cell 083 413 1259