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The role of regulation.

Until the last decade, few security officers received adequate pre-job or on-the-job training. Regulation of the industry was, and for the most part still is, nonexistent in the United States. However, in other countries, such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, the security industry has been subject to various federal training recommendations and standards.

When the federal Task Force on Private Security published its findings on the U.S. security industry in 1976, it in essence substantiated an earlier Rand Corporation study of 1968, which found that private security was an open and unregulated giant. Both studies raised questions concerning the need for training of security personnel. In an article published last year, "Thugs in Uniform," Time drew additional focus to the security industry.

Although the private security task force recommended that contract security personnel complete a minimum of eight hours of formal preassignment training, as well as a basic training course of at least thirty-two hours within three months of assignment, surveys from the past ten years have found that this standard is far from being implemented. Only 50 percent of the states have any imposed training standards. Even in those cases, regulation by the states is at best limited and heterogeneous.

Most members of both the proprietary and contract service sectors value training. However, the problem in the contract service arena is compounded by competitive pressures of the marketplace. The onus for low training standards must be borne by employers whose overriding consideration in selecting a security service is often the lowest bid.

Still, most security executives know that proficiency in security is largely a product of the combination of experience and a thorough training program designed to improve the officer's skill and knowledge. The merits of training are reflected in the security officer's attitude and performance, improved morale, and increased incentive.

Since the industry has not been able to self-regulate training, The Hallcrest Report II: Private Security Trends 1970-2000 reiterates the need for mandatory minimum training standards. The original Hallcrest Report (Private Security and Police in America: The Hallcrest Report) recommended a balanced approach between preemptive state legislation and industry-imposed standards.

Great Britain. Industry-imposed standards appear to have worked in Great Britain, where more than 90 percent of the security industry is regulated through the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). The BSIA has adopted standards pertaining to personnel security, wage levels, supervision, training liability insurance, and physical facilities.

Canada. The Canadian General Standards Board is currently proposing that a national standard for unarmed security personnel be set up across the country. The board, which is composed of twenty-four individuals with backgrounds in a variety of fields, wants to create uniform standards for Canada. These standards would require a mandated forty hours of training for security officers and thirty-six hours for supervisors.

The recommended training for security officers is as follows:

* Professionalism and public relations--2 hours

* Duties and responsibilities (general)--4 hours

* Legal authority, duties, and responsibilities--6 hours

* Alarm systems and physical security controls--2 hours

* Traffic control--1 hour

* Explosive devices and bomb threats--2 hours

* Personnel and material access control devices and technology--3 hours

* Report writing, notetaking, and evidence--3 hours

* Fire detection, prevention, and safety--6 hours

* Patrol procedures--4 hours

* Labor relations--2 hours

* Relations with public law enforcement authorities--1 hour

* Administrative, instruction, and evaluation of candidates' knowledge--4 hours

Each of Canada's ten provinces currently has its own standards. The contract bid process can, of course, require training levels of forty hours or more. This seems to be the situation for most firms that hire contract agencies.

In addition, all federal contracts require a minimum of forty hours of training, and some in-house operations may need to meet the same standards by law. If the board is successful in its efforts, the current patchwork of regulation would be replaced with the uniform standards for all security personnel.

Australia. Australia also has a system of regulation where each state controls standards. Security personnel are thus regulated at the provincial level. The classification of security officer has never been regulated by standards. The officer classification includes individuals assigned stationary positions, such as door security officers; those carrying money; and security personnel with limited public contact.

The crowd controllers classification is for those individuals who have public contact. Section 19H(B) of the Private Agent Amendment Act of 1990 specifies some basic training for crowd controllers. However,s the provision does not apply to all states. Armed security personnel are regulated by the Firearms Act, which requires specific training as well as firearms registration. All current regulations concerning this subject are administered and monitored by the Department of Education.

Legislation is under consideration in Australia that would require standardized training for all unarmed security personnel. Training recommendations for crowd controllers and general security personnel are as follows:

* Crowd controllers (40-hour course) would include the role of the crowd controller, principles of security, personal presentation, the operational scene, personal expression, interpersonal skills, group skills, and situation analysis. Also included would be situation management, the crime scene, liaison with lawful authorities, security post operations, incident reporting, structure of the law, acts affecting the crowd controller, and offenses under the law.

* Security officers (16-hour course) would include private agents; report writing; response to emergencies; duties of stationary officers, foot, and mobile patrol; fire precautions; radio discipline; and legal aspects. Also included would be definitions related to security, crime prevention, operational procedures, and use of firearms.

New Zealand. The New Zealand Qualification Authority, working through the Ministry of Education, has recommended a national standard for security personnel called the Professional Security Officer Initial Training Qualification Program. The program mandates forty hours of training and examination. While the authority hopes to see the program enacted as law in 1993, there is already high compliance with the standard.

The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) membership in New Zealand has accepted the following training qualification program outline. Approximately 60 percent of the security industry in New Zealand is involved with ASIS.

Besides setting standards for initial training, part of phase one in a three-phase project, the New Zealand government offers advanced certification that qualifies individuals for higher pay. The second level certification at phase one requires the completion of 1,000 hours of on-the-job training followed by another examination.

The second phase is directed toward security management and has a goal of management certification. The program may be thought of in terms of an associates' degree in security since it will require approximately two years of study and will be offered in conjunctions with various educational institutions. The third phase includes plans for a diploma in security management. This program equates with approximately three to four years of college-level study.

The Initial Training Qualification Program for New Zealand would review the New Zealand Security Industry Association (NZSIA) initial training and development process, NZSIA standards and codes of practice, laws and regulations, professional requirements, the security officer's role, types of assignments, tasks, duties, and report writing.

In addition, the program covers security's role in fires and floods, criminal damage, theft, earthquakes, confidentiality and privacy, uniform standards, equipment, officers and patrol dogs, patrol techniques, security hazards, vehicle patrols, emergency action, bomb threats, safety signs and hazard symbols, customer relations, use of force, legislation, and powers of arrest.

ALTHOUGH THE SECURITY INDUSTRY IN the United States lacks regulation, two notable efforts to standardize security officer training deserve mention. These proposals will probably set the stage for any legislation that comes before the 103rd Congress.

The Gore bill. The first of these efforts came in 1991 from Vice President (then senator) Albert Gore, Jr. Senate Bill 1258 proposed minimum standardized training for essentially all security personnel, although it would only be mandatory for those involved in government security operations either directly or as contractors. The Gore Bill proposes training in the following areas:

* Fire protection and fire prevention

* First aid

* Legal information relevant to providing security services

* Investigation and detention procedures

* Building safety

* Methods of handling crisis situations

* Methods of crowd control

* Use of equipment needed in providing security services

* Technical writing for reports

The bill mandates examination and commensurate certification procedures to ensure the quality of the basic training, but specifics are not spelled out.

The Martinez bill. A second initiative was made in 1992 under the direction of Representative Matthew Martinez (D-CA), House Bill 5931. The Martinez package is much more specific than the Gore bill.

The Martinez proposal provides for a minimum of eight hours of basic classroom instruction and successful completion of a written examination, plus a minimum of four hours of on-the-job training. Individual states would set standards for individuals or entities conducting the classroom instruction.

The bill also states that the classroom portion of the training shall include but may be expanded beyond (at the discretion of the instructor or state licensing agency) the following:

* Legal powers and limitations of a security officer, including law of arrest, search, seizure, and use of force

* Safety and fire detection and reporting

* When and how to notify public authorities

* Employers policy, including reporting incidents and preparing an incident report

* Fundamentals of patrolling

* Deportment and ethics

* General information, including specific assignments and equipment use

Both bills would have controlled unarmed security personnel. Additional measures would need to be considered for armed security personnel.

Although both bills showed movement in the right direction, they would not have led to uniform standards. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are attempting to develop uniform standards for their countries. The United States, always sensitive to states' rights, is suggesting a minimum standard that states will be free to enhance.

Some states will enact only what is mandated, while others will take the effort seriously and develop comprehensive security training programs. The United States will thus have fifty-plus security programs, a situation that parallels police training standards.

Neither bill clearly defines who will be responsible for each program--a second concern. Two obvious possibilities exist based on prior federally mandated programs for a law enforcement. Other possible approaches are not discussed, since the pattern has already been established.

The first possibility would be to use existing police training boards. This approach seems logical since the boards have extensive experience in developing and monitoring current police licensing and certification programs. Still, the potential for political maneuvering is present. In addition, police training boards have enough difficulties carrying out their present mandates, given limited budgets and small staffs. The politics of the situation would require additional funds for these agencies to administer an expanded program effectively.

A second option would be to use current licensing boards, where much of the present training is recorded, or create an entirely new department. The problem is that, given past experience with state licensing boards, limited funding often hampers a board's ability to monitor its own programs.

While both bills include proprietary as well as contract security under their umbrella, the impact on proprietary systems would be minimal. As noted in most of the studies on private security, proprietary security operations usually exceed the minimum training standards as suggested in the task force report.

Still another concern is the impact of mandated standards on smaller firms. Larger firms have the resources to provide training. Small operations may be forced to sell out to larger competitors, leaving the contracting business in the hands of the large- and medium-sized agencies.

Currently, at least two security officer programs exist that would specifically meet the standards proposed by the two bills. One is the Certified Protection Officer (CPO) program offered by the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) of Bellingham, Washington. The second is the Effective Security Officer Training Manual presented by Practical Education Services of Akron, Ohio.

IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THE PARALLELS among the various efforts to bring security training under some type of centralized control. The topics covered in all countries appear to be consistent, although the United States does not propose a standardized national approach.

More emphasis should be placed on liability, public relations, negligence, and intentional torts. Still, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States are working to improve a vital service.

In the United States, although security organizations have taken the initiative to set up training courses and certification, it is obvious that industry-controlled standards are not going to be forthcoming soon. The marketplace will continue to seek the lowest bid over quality security as private security's role expands.

The security field already employs more than 1.1 million individuals, and growth far outstrips the fiscally troubled public sector. In fact, private security is supplementing and in some cases replacing public law enforcement. It is far more likely that the average citizen will come in contact with a private security officer in their daily activities than with a police officer. The demand for standards can be expected to increase along with the public's awareness of private security.


Cunningham, William, John J. Strauchs, and Clifford W. VanMeter, The Hallcrest Report II: Private Security Trends 1970-2000. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1990.

Cunningham, William, and Todd H. Taylor, Private Security and Police in America: The Hallcrest Report. Portland, OR: Chancellor Press, 1986.

Fischer, Robert J., and Gion Green. Introducton to Security. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1992.

Fischer, Robert, and Norman R. Bottom, Jr. "The Security Officer Employment Standards Act of 1991, S. 1258." Journal of Security Administration, vol. 15, no. 1 (July 1992): 1-4.

Private Security: Report of the Task Force on Private Security. Washington, D.C.: National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, 1976.

Zalud, Bill. "Law and Order and Security." Security (June 1990): 55.

John Chuvala III, CPP, is an associate professor in the law enforcement administration department at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He is a member of the ASIS Standing Committees on Academic Programs and Educational Institutions. Robert J. Fischer, PhD, is a professor in the law enforcement administration department at Western Illinois University. Both are members of ASIS.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:private security agencies
Author:Chuvala, John, III; Fischer, Robert J.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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