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Security Manual, 5th ed.

Security Manual, Fifth Edition Author: Eric Oliver and John Wilson Publisher: Gower Publishing Company Limited, Hants, England/Gower Publishing Company, Brookfield, VT, 1988; 239 pages, softback: $12.95 Reviewer: Charles A. Sennewald, CPP, President, Charles A. Sennewald and Associates, Escondido, CA; Member of ASIS The title of this British publication is misleading to American readers because we tend to perceive manuals as three-ring, loose-leaf binders or other 8-1/2" x 11" bound works. Such manuals tend to be somewhat stiff or are technically written. Manuals are usually far from pleasurable reading.

Not so this Security Manual. This scrappy little paperback, which fits in one's hip pocket, is a delight to read irrespective of its references to the crown and various British laws and acts that govern criminal and civil law in Great Britain.

The manual is designed to be used as both a training guide for those responsible for security officer operations, and a reference source for line security officers. The little book is packed with information and written in a style that tickles the imagination. For example: "The first impression that a visitor gleams of a company is often from the approack and appearance of the security officer who greets him [or her]. If you receive callers you must give the impression of being capable and efficient. A courteous manner and well-turned-out appearance help."

Or this: "Recent events have shown that the most highly paid and seemingly respectable members of the business and community may not be immune to temptation and lapses of integrity, and, this being so, it would be naive to think that the canker is not even more pronounced amongst the less affluent. . . . As a consequence more personnel are now employed solely for security purposes. The effectiveness of the service they render their employers will depend on their training and efficiency and the respect they are accorded by the public--which has to be earned."

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this work, besides being thorough in addressing the basics, is its focus on the responsibility of and dignity in the security officer's mission. There isn't a chapter that does not in some way upgrade the importance and quality of the officer's role and performance.

Performance is everything. Rather than the list of don'ts, which is so commonplace, the authors point out the dos, perforamnce tips with built-in logic. For example, in protecting parking lots: "It follows that a security guard in many instances will achieve more by standing quietly looking and listening than by marching noisily up and down the rows." Members of our Society know this, but how many uniformed security officers fully understand this message, let alone receive such specific, albeit subtle instructions?

Each of the 19 chapters deals with a logical area of concentration. For example, chapter 4 addresses protection of premises and alarm systems; chapter 8, the use of notebooks and reports; and chapter 14, fire precautions. The appendixes include a model of standing orders, specimen reports, and a code of conduct.

It's true that some of the material speaks directly to security concerns as they are affected by British law and as a consequence are not applicable in the United States. But the text's strength, aside from the legal aspects of protection work, makes it a worthy addition to any security manager's library.

As a student of general security literature, including security custom and practice, I found Britain's laws to be informative and fascinating. The laws are remarkably similar to ours, as well they should be since they are the very source of our judicial system. Take for example the British version of our Miranda requirements: "You do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you say may be given in evidence."

This book obviously cannot be placed in the hands of security officers, but it can be used as a model for future manuals for pertinent content as well as philosophical orientation. In fact, I am tempted to use this work as a model for a US version--one that could be placed in our security officers' hip pockets.

Security Manual, already in its fifth edition, speaks for itself, and the authors are unquestionably professionals. The men and women security officers whom they address play a vital role in the protection profession--players worthy of esteem.

If this work indeed reflects the quality of security officers in Great Britain and what that society expects of its security officers, then we in the United States still have a long way to go. If you have anything to do with security officers, I recommend this book to you.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Sennewald, Charles A.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1989
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