Looking to engage professionals in the security industry can be a difficult and potentially expensive proposition. The industry is largely unregulated, there isn’t much transparency or clear information when trying to ascertain who the most qualified suppliers. Furthermore, the security industry is constantly targeted by the media with accusations of association to criminal operators, violence, outlaw gangs and drug trafficking. When you go to canvass potential suppliers for your own security needs, whether it be to protect property or people you would be wise to keep in mind these factors recommended by industry leading security experts.
Don’t just go for cheap
The cheapest suppliers are probably cutting corners somewhere, either in the calibre of the people they are supplying or the training provided to their staff or in skimping on the operational costs which is likely to add risk to you as their customer. At worst, they are dropping their prices because they see you as an opportunity to make money elsewhere that you may not be aware of. There have been several instances of some shady security operators slashing security prices for bouncers at some venues because they wanted to control the drug trade. The best way to assure yourself that you are getting good value for money you are spending on security is to compare prices between vendors and ask them to justify the costs based on their own expenses. This will highlight where the cheapest operators are not spending their own money. You can then decide whether these are useless overheads or negligent decisions that carry risk.
Ask for reference clients
Would you want to hire personnel without any experience? Unless a prospective supplier can give you details on past or current clients and offer them as a reference then you shouldn’t consider using them at any price. Better still, ask for a current client list and ask if you can choose the customer to act as a referee. This will give you slightly better assurance of a more authentic and unbiased review.
Ask to interview the security guards
If you are going to be a long term customer, it is not unreasonable to want to interview the security guards who will be working for you on your site. You should ask them describe situations that you feel might be experienced when they are providing security services on your site and get them to articulate how they would handle these situations and what sort of resources are available if anything unplanned occurs.
Do they have necessary insurances?
The best way to weed out shady operators is to see if they are covered for professional indemnity and public liability. An effective question to ask any security vendor is to list all of the insurance they have current policies for and to explain why this is needed. You can check easily whether these types of cover are mandatory and whether any potential suppliers have neglected to take out cover that is a regulatory obligation.
Does the supplier hold all of the necessary licences and accreditations to operate?
Again, this seems obvious, but you might be surprised by the number of security companies who are supplying services without valid or current licences. These licences should also be checked at an individual level. You don’t want to situation where a company is fully licenced, but are supplying security officers that don’t hold a licence to supply security services.