Potential physical security threats can take on many forms, but more often than not, they can be seen in an individual displaying suspicious behavior and/or an unnatural demeanor. While not always obvious to the innocent bystander, a trained security should be able to spot them in a crowd, and take the appropriate action.

What are the signs of a potential security threat?

A dedicated security guard (armed or unarmed) should be on the lookout for the following signs in any individual on or close to the premises:

  • Shouting often or loudly
  • Being verbally abusive or making threats
  • Talking casually about violence
  • Invading the privacy or space of others around them
  • Unusual or suspicious body language, such as balled fists, a red face or flared nostrils

Trained to deescalate potentially violent situations, a good security guard will deal with the individual(s) in the following 3 ways:

  1. Listen to them – by taking the time to listen to what the person wants to say, they will encourage them to engage calmly, and believe that whatever they’re upset or angry about, is worth being heard. Whether it is or it isn’t is neither here nor there, but the person must be made to believe that.
  2. Communicate with them – listening to the individual is the first step, and this should always be followed by an appropriate form of communication. Actively listen to what they want to say, and where possible, interject a question or two that isn’t designed to antagonize, rather find out what they want to achieve. Bylistening and talking to them one-to-one, a good security guard should be able to deescalate the situation and help the person find a solution to their problem (whether the problem be real or perceived).
  3. Offer solutions – After listening and communicating calmly with them, the security guard should then help the person with a solution to their ‘problem’. This may involve some quick thinking and diplomacy, and may only be a stalling tactic until the police arrive (if the situation warrants a police presence), but it’s an important stage of the deescalating process.

Security guard roles can be challenging ones, and in busy locations, guards must always be prepared for the unexpected, and never let their guard down (excuse the pun!). With experience, skill and a calm persona, however, security guards can diffuse potentially dangerous situations and help keep your business safe for everyone.

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