The life of a Security Officer.

Tue, 18/09/2012 - 13:00
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By Tryst 46-Most people think a security job in a Shopping Mall is easy. We just stand around watching people, chat on the 2-way radio, answer the occasional query from the public, directing them to specific shops or the toilets, attending the odd slip, fall or when someone passes out and notifying the cleaning crew if there is a spillage, putting up signs to notify people to keep clear until the cleaners arrive.

Well that sums up about 10% of our job.

The other 90% is made up of chasing bicycles and asking the owners to leave them outside, asking that dogs be removed from the Shopping Mall, politely requesting that parents don't let their kids use skates, wheelies, scooters and other similar things around the Mall, rendering backup to shops when they catch shoplifters, chasing shoplifters through the Mall, keeping out those who have been banned for previous bad behaviour and finally, ensuring the safety of everyone who uses the Mall.

This is where the problems really start.

Cyclists often protest that they don't have a chain to lock up their bike or they are just bringing the bike in to cause trouble, the same goes for dog owners, mum or dad doesn't like us telling them to stop their kids doing as they please, shoplifters obviously don't want to get caught and often use violence and kids and other people who have been banned for bad behaviour don't suddenly become meek just because of the ban.

During the 10 years that I was doing Mall security, I have been punched, kicked, threatened with knives and hypodermic needles etc, had my car vandalised, had a dog set on me and that's only a small part of it.

I would advise anyone doing retail security now to wear a stab proof vest at the very least, while the cost is extortionate, it's better than losing your life or getting infected with HIV from a dirty needle.

A Security Officers group has tried to put pressure on the government to enforce stab proof vests as part of the uniform supplied by the security company.

As usual, the government just ignored us.

I personally won't do Mall or retail security in my own town because of two reasons:
• If they know where I live and know my shifts, my house can be broken into while I am at work or my family could be threatened.

I don't want these people on my doorstep exacting revenge.
• If I am seen in town on my days off, I am at risk of a revenge attack and I have no backup from other security guards like I would have at work.

Feral kids are just about the worst part of the job. Not only mouthy but they can also be violent.

They know full well that if you touch them, they can get police involved and it is you who gets arrested.

You can lose your licence and your job and be unable to get another security job anywhere due to not having a licence.

Most of these kids are known to the police, most have had or are in the process of getting ASBO's.

To them, an ASBO is a badge of honour, it means absolutely nothing because there is no associated punishment to go with it.

You're not a part of the "gang" unless you have an ASBO and they go out of their way to obtain one.

Even with training in Conflict Management, it is very difficult to keep your cool when dealing with a mouthy and often, violent little 10 year old kid.

When I was a kid, that sort of behaviour would result in not being able to sit down for a while and your backside glowing brighter than a Belisha Beacon.

A clip around the ear for mouthing off, even from a stranger was quite common and kids had more of a tendency to behave as a result.

Oh where did it go wrong?

Well, we all know the soft touch society and the PC laws have a lot to do with it.

As a Security Officer, you have taken the SITO exam which is little more than a health and safety standards certificate and also a Conflict Management course.

While conflict management deals with verbal aggression and how to calm someone down in a heated argument, it does not really deal with physically aggressive people.

You are told to back off when things get violent but showing such weakness often results in the person becoming even more violent.

You also have the "duty of care" to other people in the shop as it is your duty to ensure their safety, so customers and staff could be put at risk if you don't handle it.

For this reason, most Security Officers do Karate or some other form of Martial Arts at their own expense.

One of the other things that the Security Officers Group tried to have enforced was a course on C&R (Control and Restraint), which is the same as Police and Prisoner Escort Officers are trained in which includes the use of handcuffs etc when necessary. Again, the government ignored us.

Now we come to the biggest problem of all, Asylum Seekers!

They arrive here from countries whose security often carry guns and/or night sticks and are used to getting a severe beating when they get caught shoplifting.

They automatically assume our security guards do the same and they can be really violent.

Despite being given everything they want when they arrive here, a home, no bills and a very respectable benefit cheque, they still go out shoplifting.

The government handouts have allowed them to have a car, leather jacket, new top of the line mobile phone, and mostly designer clothes. So why?

I won't speculate here though but suffice to say that these people can be dangerous and any Security Officer would be well advised to use extreme caution when dealing with them.

One of my biggest complaints of all as a Security Officer is the police. Although we are doing part of their job, we get very little support from them.

We have the authority to perform only a "citizen’s arrest" which entitles us to detain a person for no more than 30 minutes while the police arrive, any longer and we are really pushing the boundaries of our authority and could face prosecution for unlawful detention.

It is quite common for police to turn up maybe an hour later despite the fact that, in the first Shopping Mall I worked in, the police station was less than a 5 minute walk away.

Only one town had dedicated officers patrolling the high street who would be on the scene within 10 minutes or so, I take my hat off to those two, Jason was an "old school copper" and probably the only one I've met that really did the job properly, along with Kelly, the younger female officer he was teamed with.

Jason and Kelly, they were probably the best team on the force and I will give them credit for that, well done and I wish there were more police like those two.

I had to restrain a female shoplifter who got violent and in all the times I have had to do it in the past Kelly was the only police officer to take the time to talk to me about it afterward to help me get over the incident, knowing that I was upset by it.

Those two police officers were the only ones who took the time to get to know all the Security Officers who worked in town personally and both knew that I didn't like using restraint unless absolutely necessary, especially on a woman.

Both would take the time to visit me at work and sit and have a coffee and a chat, even though they were off duty night or day and other Security Officers said they often had off duty visits too, just for a social chat.

OK, we are told to be PC which is all well and good but there are many things we are NOT told. Things like religious do's and don'ts.

As Nationalists, you may disagree with some of these but, bear in mind that a Security Officer doesn't look for trouble and wants only to do their job with the minimum of fuss and without causing offence or causing the person to become violent due to being offended.

Another is that you have arrested them for a reason and you don't want to do something that will get the case thrown out due to your behaviour toward them.

Everyone knows only too well that a criminal will use any excuse to get away with their crime and your behaviour is the first thing a defence lawyer will jump on to get their clients case dismissed.

For this reason we should be told certain things, for example:
• NEVER for ANY reason, touch a Muslim on the head; it is considered a major insult.
• If you have to arrest a Muslim woman, do not attempt to touch her or restrain her physically unless she becomes violent since touching a Muslim woman is an insult, even guiding her with your hand on her arm or back. Use your body and arms, while keeping a distance from her to block her path of escape if she looks like she will run.
• If a Sikh man is carrying a knife, it is not a weapon; it is part of their religious attire. Do not attempt to take it from them unless they reach to draw it or threaten you with it.
• Pointing in some cultures is considered rude, use the flat of your hand to indicate a direction when taking them to the office etc.
• Do NOT give or accept something from someone using the Left hand, in some cultures, it is considered very rude and this doesn't just apply to Muslims as some may think. Although most immigrants will accept that Westerners don't follow this rule, you don't want to give them any reason to have the case thrown out of court.
• Most of all and as a matter of standard procedure, unless they refuse to go, they should be taken to the office for detention before taking details from them like name, address and such and detained by yourself and another member of staff or another Security Officer, particularly if it is someone of the opposite sex.

Doing this in public can be seen as deliberately embarrassing them in front of other shoppers, detention alone with you means it's their word against yours and if it's someone of the opposite sex, all manner of accusations against you can result.

If they refuse to go, make a note of it in your notebook and make sure you have another Security Officer/member of staff as a witness.

This is something I have seen done wrong on so many occasions and can be cause for a dismissal of the case and some serious trouble for yourself.

There are a lot more than those above but it is an example of how badly we are trained to deal with other cultures.

I only know those above from my time in other countries, many Security Officers don't have a clue about them.

As a Security Officer, I see it as despicable that we are expected to do the job without proper training, as a Nationalist, I have my suspicions as to why.

Be aware that most Security Officers only get minimum wage for all this, we don't get any extra to offset the danger we often face.
Despite my political views, I do my job properly.

I don't care if the perpetrator of the crime is black, white or any colour in between, or even if it was a fellow BNP supporter, you will all be treated the same way by me.

I don't sleep on duty at night and a rule I keep is that I do not promote my political affiliation while on duty. I may air my PERSONAL views on current government policy if it comes up in conversation but I don't try to recruit members to the party.

I keep my private life and political affiliations out of the workplace, partly to protect my job. I remain courteous and polite to everybody regardless of their race or religion because that is what's required in my job.

Not that I particularly like being courteous to some people who I personally feel would be better served with a swift kick to their rear end, the feral kids being the first in line for that.

Well that kind of sums up my time in retail security and indicates how I feel the government and the security industry are letting Security Officers down.

We do a job that is only a small step down from what the police do on a fraction of their wages, with none of their protective clothing, equipment or training and with the same rights of arrest and detention that every normal citizen has.

So next time you are in town and see a Security Officer dealing with a violent drunk or drug addict or some feral kid, remember that they are standing between you and what that person would do to you or others around you.

They are doing it primarily because they believe in keeping people safe from troublemakers like that, certainly not for the money. If it was for the money, I would have been in a nice safe office earning twice as much as I was.

As a footnote, I am now 52 years old and getting a bit long in the tooth for chasing shoplifters, I'll leave that to the youngsters now. I can still outrun almost anyone less than half my age but maybe not for as long as I used to though.

I now work as a corporate Security Officer in building sites and gate houses and do 69 hours over 5 days (3x15 hour shifts and 2x12 hour shifts), just to pay the bills.

The criminals are just as nasty there but not quite as frequent.

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