The Private Security Industry [A Vicious Cycle]
The security industry has been under considerable scrutiny many times over the past two decades and the Hotel Quarantine fiasco is not different!
Security businesses that have all along stood strong and hard and fought against all the corruption and unprofessional conduct are tired and fragile and have been for a long time. Amazing security industry professionals have burnt out and left the industry. Some Private Security Business Licencees, registered security training organisations (RTO) have been forced to close there doors while other Private Security Businesses have decided to join the herd of ‘dodgy operators’ to survive.
Ultimately, the first step in ensuring we have a trusted, respected and professional industry we must go back to the drawing board and redefine the criteria for becoming a professional security operative (security guard, crowd controller). I do not believe the current controls, checks and balances (Victoria Police, Licensing and Regulation Division) and registered security training organisations provide the best security operatives possible for Victorian businesses or community.
Having worked as a security industry trainer and assessor for several security training organisations over the past decade and as a security industry employer, I have lost all confidence in the training programs required for licensing.
Registered Security Training Organisations
My 11 year old daughter can pass the Language and Numeracy Test (L&N) for entry into the Certificate II in Security Operations and to think that some RTO’s are helping students or deliberately turning a blind eye to the testing rules is very concerning. I have witnessed student undertaking L&N test over periods of hours and some using their mobile phone… perhaps to “Phone a friend”.
I witnessed students in class using the dictionary on their mobiles to translate back and forth basic English words. When trainers raise issues with RTO’s management , trainers are told that it is their job to provide the necessary support and teach in ways to ensure the student is competent.
Trainers are instructed to pair struggling student with students demonstrating competency rather than addressing the students shortcomings and learning difficulties. Trainers are expected to create miracles!
Students fail to attend classes and yet attendance sheets are forged and manipulated to show that the student was in class and students are required to submit relevant assessments, backdated – all so that the RTO can have the necessary pieces of evidence require for funding.
I’ve heard over and over again how good Security Industry Trainers & Assessors voice their concerns only to be shut down as the greed blinds most RTO operators. They ignore the catastrophic impact they’re having on the security industry i.e. supplying the industry with incompetent and undesirable but qualified security personnel.
I have witnessed students who demonstrate behaviors and attitudes that are unfit for the security industry, often making me wonder if the student has underlying drug or alcohol related issues. Some demonstrated significant anti social and mental health issues. I have witnessed students abuse female trainers or assault each other in the car park and yet RTO’s turn a blind eye.
As as a security business owner and a security industry trainer I can confidently state that I would be lucky – if there were 3 students employable in my own security business out of a class of 25 students. Perhaps if the output, the end product was of the best quality then customers might be willing to pay a ‘fair and reasonable’ price. Of course, the security business also plays a part in providing value – its not always just about the guard and the rate. I think security businesses should compete on how much value they can offer the client rather than, how cheap there guarding services is.
There are many things in the security industry that I disagree with and one of them has to be ‘choosing a security provider solely on price’ forcing security business to cut costs, cut corners to give the customer a cut throat price and this has a snowball affect. Governments awarding security contracts at rates below Security Industry Award rates makes them just as culpable but this a topic for another time.
Would you pay $50, $60 or $70 per hour for a security guard who cannot effectively communicate or problem solve or lacks professionalism, tactfulness or the verbal judo and negotiation skills required to de-escalate conflict? I wouldn’t!
1.The minimum Security Industry Training Package required for security licencing must be revamped by:
Combining all these courses into 1 course:
- Certificate II in Security Operations (Crowd Control & Unarmed Guarding, RSA, First Aid)
- Certificate III in Security Operations (Control Room Operator & Monitoring, Investigations, Bodyguarding, Cash in Transit, Screening , Batons & Handcuff)
Introducing materials to cover the following topics:
- Counter Terrorism,
- Active Armed Threat,
- Practical Fire Training,
- Suicide Prevention,
Once the security theory part of the training is complete with the RTO:
- approximately 80 hours of work placement and assessment needs to be completed across various security activities
- students are required to complete a ‘Final Exam’ either supervised by Victoria Police or conducted by an independent body.
2. Workplace Training & Assessment as a way to replace in class Role Play Assessments alternatively hire realistic settings and actors/actresses to assist with ensuring a realistic scenario and assessment.
3. Prior to selection into the course candidates must:
- Be subjected to random drug testing by a Victoria Police approved clinic
- Pass a psychological assessment conducted by a Victoria Police approved practitioner
- Pass a fitness level equivalent to the standards required of Victoria Police members.
- Have a clear National Criminal history check
- Have an excellent Financial Credit Rating
- Pass a more realistic Language & Numeracy Test that reflect the type of writing and reading security officer’s are required to undertake on a daily basis.
4. There needs to be a better communication link between ASQA / VRQA and the security industry trainers and students so that malpractices can be reported with ease.
5. Eliminate subcontracting in the security industry. There are enough casual in the industry to be able employ directly.
We often think police are first responders – in my experience its often security guards who deal with a major issue and call for police assistance and this means security guards are also first responders – so why arent we trained like first responders?