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  • Improving Efficiency of a security Check Point

    February 08, 2017 Improving Efficiency of a security Check Point

    Improving efficiency of

    Security Check-points

    The number one concern of security forces is keeping people safe.  The current economic environment puts increasing pressure to do more with less.  It seems security threats are evolving on a monthly or even on a weekly basis.  Security teams need to be equally active in adapting to the current threats.  How can security stay ahead of the threats when their own budgets are constantly under attack?  The following is a list of ways to help security teams do more with less.

    Reducing Turn over

    Labor has quickly become one of the highest costs of security.  A basic principle of any industry is high turnover will increase operating expenses and decrease efficiency. One of the key ways to improve the efficiency of the security team is the retention of current staff.   It is estimated that replacing an employee can cost twice the employee’s salary, while also hurting the moral of remaining staff.  When a staff members are happy in a job they are likely to be more productive and compliant with policies and procedures.  The first step is to make sure the correct people are hired.  It may not be just a factor of training or experience but, to also ensure candidates have the right attitude and personality to fit in with the team. 
    Many times, a government facility will contract another company to provide security guards while the upper levels of the security team are employed directly by the government agency.  This sort of scenario while cost effective can create a disconnect between the guards and management.  It is even more important in this case to give recognition to those that set an example and help build unity amongst the security team.  Employees that feel appreciated are more likely to stick around even with lower compensation.  If employees feel they are making meaningful contributions to the organizations security goals the whole group will feel more like a team and not replaceable cogs in a machine.
    A team will both rely on and support other team members.  When a team has worked together for a while they get used to what the others will do in stressfull situations.  They will also be less likely to shirk their responsibilities off onto the next guy.  That attitude can have disastrous consequences when it comes to security.  Having a team with members that respect each other and the job means they will be less likely to let a potential risk pass by simply because “it was too much trouble” to check it out.   The longer a team is together the more they will understand the importance of remaining vigilant to protect those they serve.  This attitude is what will enable everyone to work together to be more effective even with smaller numbers.

    Better Training

    Keeping your staff around longer helps improve efficiency because senior staff are better able to handle a situation independently, a better training program will enable even the new staff to be pro-active on the job and reduce the demand for further intervention by senior staff members.   A good training program will reduce the situations in which staff have to question what they should do next.  A good employee may fail to take action simply because they are too embarrassed to ask for help.  In many situations, a guard may not want to interrupt the flow of a check point or inconvenience someone who seems important when something doesn’t seem right.  Give the security team the confidence to act accordingly with the proper training.
    Security policies can change rapidly depending on several variables.  When changes happen too frequently a team may get confused with regards to which policies are being enforced or when to enforce them.  If policies are not adequately explained an organization may have an issue where policies are enforced differently depending on the location or entry point.  Inconsistencies will not only create security vulnerabilities but will reduce the team moral.  Whenever possible give training in advance so that everyone has a chance to adjust to the new practice before it becomes critical.
    Many times, training is only offered when a new employee is hired.  This can be problematic for many reasons.  Someone starting a new job already has a lot of new information they need to take on all at once and might have trouble remembering how to handle situation that may be rarer.  Any time a new team member doesn’t practice something they were told in the first couple of weeks they are less likely to remember what to do later.  This why it is important to hold recurring training session for everyone.  This also gives members of the team a break from the monotony of their everyday routine.  If a policy has changed recently new hires may be trained differently than what is being practiced out in the field, if current staff haven’t received training since starting the job.  This will make changes take longer to implement since new hires will continue to emulate what they see in practice.
    Another helpful tool is “Role Playing”.  This can be in several forms, from a round table discussion to a more hands on interactive approach.  Regardless, this is a quick way to offer refreshers or practice policy changes.  When the situation is presented in this manner staff may feel more comfortable to ask for help when they don’t know what to do.  Staff will also be more accepting of redirection in role playing then if they are reprimanded on the job.  This also gives management a chance to mingle with the team and discuss how everyone can improve together.  Sometimes an idea sounds good in the office but isn’t practical in the field. When that is the case, short cuts will get taken and the policy usually does not get fully implemented.  Using role playing out in the field to create teachable moments helps everyone on the security team feel more comfortable with what should be done when difficult situations arise.

    Better Tools

    Give your staff the tools they need to do the job right.  Right along with staffing the right people and equipping them with training and knowledge to complete their job a security team needs the right equipment.  This doesn’t mean they need the most expensive tools or gadgets but give them the tools that make the job easier not harder.  When a team, doesn’t have what they need they will cut corners to get the job done.  Today security teams need more then weapons and radios to do the job.  When you want to do more with less people a security team needs to focus on automation.  There are many ways to let people help themselves so a trained security team can focus on what they have been trained to do.
    The greatest tool a security team needs today is information.  They need to know what the threats are, but more importantly they need to know who is not a threat.  There are many tools available today to automate the process of threat detection in variety of situations.  When managing a security check point, a team needs to be able to identify who is not a threat so that the focus can be directed to who might be a threat.  A good visitor management system can unify the many members of a security team by giving them the needed information about who is passing through the check point.  This system can automate the vetting process by gathering the person’s information well in advance of their arrival.  A determination of fitness for access can be made in advance and then the guard does not have to make that decision during a morning rush and hold up the line.
    When a visit request is entered by the visitor’s sponsor they become a member of the security team.  In a sense, everyone can participate in keeping a facility secure in this way.  Employees will become more familiar with the process of requesting a visit and of what they should be aware.  When all visitor data is contained in a single system it becomes an active asset to protecting critical infrastructure.  Not only will known threats be flagged but a pattern might indicate a visitor who is not a known threat may need to be watched.   A good visitor management system will also help ensure sponsors are providing the appropriate escorts.
    When visitors are pre-cleared they can use automated kiosks to check in.  A Kiosk will always follow the rules it is programed to follow.  This will allow guards to watch the people and not the computer screen.  These kiosks when equipped with the right technology can authenticate credentials or Identification documents to assist in ID proofing. 
    The right tools can help a few guards to the work of many.
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