The Security Officer’s Role In Preventing Violence And Providing Assistance When Violent Situations Occur

This training is provided to the security officer for the purpose of learning to recognize and appropriately respond to disruptive instances in the workplace. As a professional in public relations and law enforcement, the security officer’s skillfulness in carrying out the duties is a reflection of the officer and the organization they represent.

The security officer’s primary goal in a potentially violent situation is to defuse the situation – not incite a physical confrontation.

In order to have an effective role, the security officer must become proficient at recognizing or assessing potentially violent behavior, utilizing verbal skills designed to minimize the risk of agitating the potentially violent individual and learning and utilizing only non-offensive physical techniques when appropriate.

The presence of a uniformed security officer is usually a visual deterrent to violence, particularly when there is a show of force. Security officers should be requested to “standby” in the immediate vicinity when management anticipates a violent situation might occur, such as when an employee with a past history of violence is being terminated. A “standby” may be referred to as a precautionary measure taken by management to permit security to intervene early with a potentially violent person. Prior to any management person giving the potentially violent person any ultimatum, the presence of uniformed security officers should be ensured. This may cause the situation to de-escalate. This form of early intervention is utilized in most mental health care settings and is deemed very appropriate when handling potentially violent individuals.

The primary goal of preventing violence whenever possible, must always be remembered. There are times when a person becomes violent regardless of the presence of several security officers standing by in the immediate area and regardless of the skill level of the person verbalizing with the individual. When management is aware of an individual’s potential for violence and that individual is going to be disciplined or discharged, etc., the security officers should be called early and a “game plan” developed in the event violence occurs.

This plan should include:

  • Who is going to call the police?
  • When should the police be called?
  • When should the security officers move to restrain the individual?
  • Where should the person be taken once restrained?
  • Should handcuffs be utilized?
  • Does anyone have handcuffs?
  • Should the person be physically ejected from the property rather than restrained?

The security officer in charge should discuss and assist in developing the plan with the appropriate management person on the scene.

A subject that rears it’s ugly head during times of violence, although it is the most inappropriate time for such discussion, is “I don’t get paid enough to do this.” Anyone considering a career in security must be aware that violence can and does occur in the workplace.