Security officers are an integral part of a shopping centre’s daily operations. Ensuring the safety and security of the shopping centre’s clients, personnel and assets require men and women who are expertly trained, are staunchly committed and are willing to make sacrifices. Just like the Jedi Knights of the Star Wars Universe, the security personnel are the “guardians of peace and justice” of the shopping centre that is not so far away. And just like Jedi Knights, security personnel must possess certain qualities that will allow them to do their jobs with maximum effectiveness.
While slightly different in meaning, alertness and vigilance are often used interchangeably. And both qualities are absolute must-haves for a good security officer. Both qualities convey the capability to notice imminent or potential threats to the safety and security of the public, and subsequently, take action to prevent or minimize such threats.
Alertness and vigilance are important characteristics that will enable a security officer to spot a suspicious person attempting to smuggle either stolen goods or prohibited items, realize the smell of burning electrical circuitry or hear a desperate cry for help in the hustle and bustle of a crowd.
Security officers must have the ability to remain calm and cool under pressure and not give in to anger, panic or even euphoria, especially while on duty. Security officers who can keep their emotions in check are usually the ones who are able to think quicker on their feet, are more likely to come up with the proper response to an emergency and are able to diffuse a confrontational situation without getting out of hand.
Whether it is an irate customer, a call for help for a man who suddenly fell unconscious or chasing after and subduing a theft suspect, the officer who is even-tempered will be able to deal with the situation at hand more effectively than one who responds defensively or becomes panicked.
Different environments face different threats and risks. Security officers are expected to be able to respond to these threats in the best possible way, considering the sensitivities of the environment and the people concerned. They need specialized training to know how to respond to industry-specific threats. A thorough, professional training would ensure that security officers not only are knowledgeable about security concepts and security management but are also well-equipped to respond to real-life scenarios.
Security officers often interact with a myriad of people from all walks of life, and while these interactions do not always involve deep and philosophical conversations, having good communication skills is still a necessity. Most shopping centre patrons will approach security personnel asking for help: for directions to a certain destination, help to find a missing companion or administer first aid, or to help resolve a confrontational situation. In a lot of these instances, clients would be in varying degrees of emotional stress. Therefore, a security officer needs good communication skills (which, importantly, includes the ability to listen well) to ease the client’s apprehensions and to be able to address the client’s concerns in the most effective way.
Integrity is perhaps the most important characteristic that a security officer must possess. Security officers are trusted not only with the lives of shopping centre clients and personnel, but with sensitive information pertaining to the shopping centre, as well, such as key entry and exit points, location and access to sensitive operational areas (i.e. security centre, money vault, delivery bays) and the timetable of key transactions (i.e. arrival of armoured cars containing currency, delivery of dangerous or sensitive goods like firearms or jewellery). Therefore, security officers must possess unshakeable integrity and a strong moral compass – they must place the highest priority in carrying out their duties and must not be susceptible to bribery or blackmail.
Security officers are deployed in different working environments and therefore need to possess certain characteristics to adapt to different situations. Use this list as a guide when hiring a security provider to ensure that the security officers are cut out to work in a shopping centre environment.
At Prosek Security, our security officers are not just professionally trained to handle security scenarios. They are also well-oriented on how retail businesses work and what is expected of them in such environments. Contact us now so we can talk more about your security requirements and how our team can provide you with your specific security needs.