OBSERVATION & DOCUMENTATION (Lesson 14 of 26)
The primary purpose of security is to prevent and deter loss. A key element in this strategy is the use of patrols conducted by security officers. Patrolling is defined as the act of moving about an area to provide protection and to conduct observation.
Patrols have existed since security measures were first implemented. Security Supervision states, “Patrols are necessary to insure the integrity of the overall security program. Frequent and total coverage of the protected area is needed to provide the most timely discovery and correction of security, safety and fire hazards.”
Patrols can be very effective in the overall role of fire prevention provided the security officer is attentive to equipment which may have been unintentionally left on by an employee. Examples would include: coffee pots, typewriters, copier equipment and certain machinery or equipment which a security officer can turn-off, provided they have received instructions to do so. Equipment such as personal computers should never be turned off by a security officer since information stored in the computer’s memory may be lost if the equipment loses power.
While patrolling, a security officer should be observant to fire hazards such as the improper storage of combustible or flammable material, blocked fire exits, exposed wiring, fire extinguishers which are inoperable or inaccessible, and equipment which may be malfunctioning. It is essential that prior to any patrols, a security officer has been instructed as to what to look for when patrolling, how to determine when an abnormal situation exists, and what to do and who is to be notified to report an abnormal situation.
While patrolling, a security officer must know what doors and windows are normally open/closed, locked and unlocked. Again, if a door or window is open when it is to be closed and locked, what action should the security officer take? Does he merely close and lock the door and note the same on his shift report, or should someone be immediately notified? There are many situations when, depending upon the circumstances, the police are to be notified if a certain door or window is found unsecured.
Often while patrolling, a security officer will notice that there are several other persons in the facility. How does the security officer know that these persons are authorized to be in the facility? Do employees and visitors wear identification badges? Are certain areas restricted from access for certain employees? It is essential that prior to patrolling, a security officer obtain as much information as possible as to which employees/visitors are in the facility? When are these persons scheduled to depart? After they depart, which areas are to be secured? Once all of this information has been obtained, a security officer should not be startled to find other persons in the facility, assuming these persons are authorized. Much of this information should be known by the security officer who is going off duty.
A final part of theft prevention when patrolling will occasionally require a security officer to inspect equipment being removed from the facility. The security officer must know what material can be removed from the facility with proper paperwork and authorization. Are shipping documents, or material removal passes provided to the security officer before removal? If no paperwork is required, the security officer should note in the shift log the identity and description of the person removing the material and what material was being removed.