Security is one of the most important issues facing private individuals, businesses, and public entities across the world. Although cybersecurity is often talked about, physical security something which more and more people are becoming concerned about. The fact is that trained, qualified security guards make people feel safe in a wide range of situations, be that at work, traveling, or even at home.
With the globalized world continually showing that it brings hazards as well as opportunities, the issue of physical safety is one worry a great many employers would like to take care of.
As with many other mobile industries, security guards have to go where the work is, possibly at very short notice. By its very nature, security work is a trusted profession, with those working in it requiring high levels of police checks to ensure they are able to take up positions.
Growing Market for Security Guards
A recent report commissioned by a leading provider of security services shows that the security guard market has seen “exponential” growth in the years up to 2020, and also predicts that this trend will continue until at least 2025.
The report has findings from the top 16 global providers, including G4S and Securitas; and includes providers from the US and China. With all of these companies showing positive performance, they are consequently proving attractive to investors.
Security work is divided into two types; service and equipment. The former includes everything from personal bodyguards to patrolling neighborhoods and/or facilities. Equipment security, on the other hand, provides a specific service to protect high-quality assets from computer servers to jewelry collections.
On the basis of job application types, the industry comprises of personal and commercial applications; i.e. where an individual applies for a job, or a provider tenders a bid for security work.
Police Checks for Work as a Security Guard
In general, the type of police check required for a security guard position would be intermediate. In terms of the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) system, this would be the Standard DBS check.
This is slightly enhanced from the Basic check, and cannot be applied for by individuals; the Standard level requires an application from a potential employer. As would be expected, security employers like to know specific things about an applicant’s past which may affect their suitability for this type of work.
The main difference between Basic and Standard checks is the question of spent convictions. For a Basic check, these do not have to be declared and are therefore not searched for. At the standard level, these will be disclosed; it is then up to the employer to decide which if any spent convictions are relevant to the job being applied for.
The Standard check also discloses current and spent cautions, reprimands, and warnings. Again, a potential employer will look at these and decide on their relevance to the person specification for a particular job.
ACRO Police Checks for Security Work
The ACRO certification system provides the same level of police checks for UK citizens looking for security work abroad. When applying for a work visa, a document stating the level of checks carried out by ACRO will be taken as evidence that the UK’s DBS system has been followed.
However, as the Standard level of check will be required, this can only be requested by registered bodies such as employers. In the case of ACRO checks, this can be done by registered providers such as CRB Direct.
As ACRO is the equivalent of the international arm of the British police, the vast majority of employing countries accept ACRO checks obtained through the correct channels.
In the case of security guard work, the process should run smoothly unless an employer has provided special conditions such as working with children.
Consequences of Brexit on the Security Guard Industry
Before the current health crisis hit the world, the likely outcome of the protracted Brexit process on security work was beginning to clarify itself, both in Britain and beyond.
The main factor here is that a large proportion of security guard jobs in the UK had been carried out by EU nationals; now that the country has finally left the bloc, those jobs will be there on offer to British nationals.
On the other hand, Brexit could have some negative consequences on the industry. For example, financial services businesses moving their headquarters to other countries would mean a large drop in security guard numbers.
This in turn could lead to the HQs of global security businesses also relocating. Following this through, however, an absence of these big hitters could provide opportunities for homegrown security companies.
The Covid Pandemic and its effects on Security Work
The likely effects of Brexit were just beginning to be worked out when the Covid 19 pandemic hit. In many ways, this phenomenon has put any predictions regarding Brexit back to square one.
For instance, it had been hoped that, once nightclubs and other institutions in hospitality and entertainment found they needed security guards from outside the EU, this would be a positive step for British workers in the industry. As has just been reinforced, however, hospitality and entertainment are likely to be the very last sectors of the British economy that will be able to reopen fully.
The pandemic itself, however, has shown exactly how important security guards are. It’s a horrible statistic that male security guards are amongst the worst hit globally by Covid 19. Managers of institutions such as shopping centers, which are now reopening to the public, are finding that the need for physical security is greater now than at any time since the last terrorist threat.
Even if it is just to reassure the public, having a physical security presence on the ground adds significant value for many such managers. It is to be hoped that this shows through in employment statistics once the pandemic and subsequent restrictions finally fade into the background.