Asking Appropriate Questions

Conducting a security investigation is a primary function of any security organization. Most security officers and supervisors will be called upon to conduct preliminary investigations due to a theft, injury or other type of incident. Most of these investigations will be of a non-criminal nature but are, nevertheless, important since they may result in civil litigation.

Types of Security Investigations

In any type of investigation, there are usually two phases. Most security officers will be involved with preliminary investigations.

  1. W. Wilson described the preliminary investigation as follows:

P – Proceed to the scene with safety & speed

R – Render assistance to the injured.

E – Effect arrest of perpetrator.

L – Locate and identify witnesses.

I – Interview complainant & witnesses.

M – Maintain scene & protect evidence.

I – Interrogate suspects.

N – Note all conditions, events, & remarks.

A – Arrange for collection of evidence.

R – Report incident fully & accurately.

Y – Yield responsibility to investigators

Care should be given in minimizing destruction of evidence when treating victims. A second step at the scene is to gain control of the situation so that further injury to victims is minimized. This may require a security officer requesting assistance from other security personnel and, possibly, from public emergency services (i.e. police, fire, rescue).

Proceed to the Scene

  • Get there as fast as possible.
  • Get there safely; don’t violate laws or become reckless.
  • Think as you are in route:
    • What might you come into contact with?
    • Rely upon past experiences to help you. Have you had similar incidents? In some cases it may be a situation involving the same people or equipment.
  • Begin to make mental notes:
    • Will you have to call for outside emergency services?
    • Will there be someone else at the scene who will assume responsibility or will you be the person in charge?