Do not call them “guards”: security guards are respected professionals today, and no body in the profession uses this term, which in fact turns out to be very simplistic to describe their missions. The number of security or surveillance officers has just recently surpassed that of other professionals with whom they are often compared: police officers. But more than opposing these two professions, they now need to combine them, the work of some being complementary to that of others. Through the uninterrupted professionalization of their profession, the diversification of their missions, the ever more demanding requirements of their employers and their clients, they now represent effective partners capable of best serving companies and of positively conveying their image.

What are the missions of a security guard today? What are the professional obligations that he must respect and the qualities that he must demonstrate? According to what criteria do you choose the agent (s) best suited to your needs, and at what price?

The role of a security guard and his area of intervention

Contrary to what many professionals might imagine, the fundamental role of a security guard is not so much to intervene in the event of an incident but to ensure the prevention of a certain number of risks concerning the safety of their employees. clients. From this fundamental role derive several types of possible missions and areas of intervention.

Role of a security guard

The role of an agent is above all one of prevention. Through its surveillance, it deters and effectively prevents attacks on property and people, as well as on information and data in the area it is monitoring. In cases of urgency and only in cases of urgency, he may have to intervene directly to enforce safety rules, within the limits of his powers. But his role in the event of an incident is above all to contact the appropriate specialist services.

The prevention role can be directed to the dangers represented by malicious people or to events that may affect the safety of property and people. An example of this second case is fire, which is quite specific since monitoring is entrusted to specialized agents: the agent of the Fire Safety and Personal Assistance Services or SSIAP agent. The presence of this type of agent is mandatory in establishments open to the public at a rate of more than 3,000 people per day, or apartment buildings over 50 meters (28 meters for any other type of building). The role of SSIAP agents is then to monitor the effectiveness of all fire-fighting systems, from alarms to evacuation routes, including fire extinguishers and fire-fighters, to alert the emergency services and evacuate the public.

These roles mirror those of any surveillance and security officer, who should:

  • Prevent incidents by carrying out surveillance rounds and controlling alarm systems,
  • Notify the police or the gendarmerie in the event of a problem,
  • And participate in the site’s safeguarding actions while awaiting their arrival.

Areas of intervention

Based on this simple principle, the areas of intervention of agents are very varied.

They can be grouped together in terms of functional areas of intervention, and in terms of situations.

The functional areas of intervention are themselves numerous:

  • For security and surveillance missions strictly speaking, this involves ensuring that security processes are respected, carrying out surveillance rounds, controlling alarm and security devices, and discouraging behavior identified as dangerous , and if necessary to expel people adopting these behaviors;
  • For access control missions, check entry and exit in accordance with company policies, remotely or on site, by controlling the use of barriers;
  • For customer service missions, register visitors and guide them;
  • For emergency missions, provide first aid and first aid, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if necessary with a defibrillator.

This list is obviously not exhaustive.

In fact, the list of interventions must be adapted to the context, that is to say to the area of intervention in terms of the situation or the work environment.

The missions will therefore be different in their detail:

  • For night security guards,
  • For security guards for events,
  • For mobile security guards,
  • For shopping center security guards,
  • For hotel security guards, etc.

Professional obligations and required qualities

To be able to practice their profession, agents must comply with a number of professional obligations.

To be able to exercise it well, they must demonstrate a certain number of personal qualities.

Professional obligations

An agent is subject to a number of professional obligations.

Some are governed by the law, others by its ethics and the contract.

To exercise, agents must therefore meet three legal conditions:

  • To be of age ;
  • Have a clean criminal record;
  • Hold a professional card (proving that he has completed qualifying training at a certified institution)

Certain agents must also have specific professional qualifications.:

  • Certified defense dog handler for dog officers;
  • Certified operator in telesecurity for video surveillance operators;
  • SSIAP 1, 2 or 3 certifications for agents specializing in fire safety.

Beyond these legal obligations, the profession imposes on agents:

  • To respect the orders of his company of security guards who employ him,
  • And the client’s information on the risks on the site where he is working, generally detailed in an instruction book.

Required qualities

Self-control, autonomy, authority, good physical condition … Far from being accessible to everyone, the job of surveillance and security officer requires a number of qualities. Knowing them is essential to make a judicious recruitment.

Thus, the main qualities that a professional will have to demonstrate are certainly:

  • Patience, calm and self-control: verbal or physical aggression, discomfort, crowd movements … Officers cannot afford to panic and must be able to maintain their composure in all situations;
  • Vigilance: spotting suspicious behavior and dysfunctions is an essential part of the job. The agent must therefore have his eye everywhere to be able to react to the slightest anomaly;
  • Autonomy: in the event of a problem, agents must be able to make the best decision very quickly. While respecting the general framework of the instructions, they must nevertheless have the right reflexes, adapted to the situation, to be able to manage crises effectively;
  • Dialogue: psychology is the agents’ best weapon. They must in fact be able to disarm a dangerous situation while avoiding recourse to any physical contact as much as possible;
  • Knowing how to show (tactfully) authority is also necessary;
  • Excellent physical condition: making patrols, staying up for long hours, working at night … The missions of surveillance and security officers generally require that they be in very good physical shape, both in the event of a problem. ‘they have to intervene, but also for their daily routine;
  • A good written expression: it is too often forgotten, but one of the first routines of an agent is to write end-of-service reports. Minimum qualities of written expression and synthesis are therefore necessary;
  • Familiarity with technology: the work of a security guard in our time is not done only with a weapon and a barrier. More and more, the agent must handle software, video surveillance equipment, biometric tools …;
  • An excellent presentation: in fact, the agents are not there only to make demonstrations of force; smile and quality of welcome are essential. It cannot be repeated enough, but security and surveillance officers are the first images visitors see of the company that uses their services. They must therefore understand the image of this company and reflect it positively in their daily contacts with users; – Respect for the rules: the time of the cowboys’ wild west is over. The activity is now strictly regulated. Professionals must therefore not only comply with the legislation but also the instructions given to them by their employer.

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