The Philippines’ first and only industry magazine that deals with safety and security matters pervading the environment today.

Security Operations As A Service

Other than just being a manpower provider, security operations is a real component of the enterprise  it serves.

In my little over ten years in the private security industry in the Philippines, I’ve learned a few things, such as that the security industry is much more like public safety than it is the military. Thus, having come from the law enforcement/public safety sector, I have been able to bring in a significant amount of innovation to an industry that has been predominantly populated by individuals who are products of the military sector. I, too, have some military background from my four years in Army ROTC, which I thought was an advantage when I joined law enforcement. But to my dismay, I learned very quickly that it was only the uniform and discipline of the military that applied to police work.

Drawing from my experience in law enforcement, I proceeded to apply most of those skills to the private security field and, in due time, learned what worked and what didn’t work for security in the Philippines. Security operations in the Philippines appear to entail much more than what is required of security operations in the US. Unlike in US security operations where they can rely on the police to respond and cover them when needed, the Philippine private security operations have to rely on their own. Security operations in the Philippines need to be more comprehensive.

As we all know, the security operations backbone lies in the ability to “shoot, move and communicate” effectively, much like that of the military. Knowing that though, it appears that the ability to move and communicate has been largely neglected by the security industry in the Philippines. OK, yes, security companies have acquired utility vehicles and a sprinkling of radios, but these are not adequate nor appropriately adapted for the security industry. Vehicles are being generally used as transporters and radio communications have no protocols.

Let us begin the concept of operation in security with the most important element, the ability to communicate, with mobility an immediate second, and the ability to shoot just as important but, as a last resort, very unlike the military.

Communicate first and communicate effectively and by this I mean to have a central point of contact for all the security personnel, the public, and for all our monitoring and surveillance capabilities. This we would call our control point or dispatch center, much like the command and control center in the military. Each security guard and each patrol vehicle should be equipped with a multi-channel radio. The security guards must be trained on how to use this tactically in order to elicit the best performance.

Communication means to be able to inform the security operations of any security issues that may be afoot. Communication shall be maintained in order to achieve constant situational awareness until the issue or incident is resolved.

Secondly, the ability to ‘move’ is very important and not only to transport security personnel to their post, but the ability to interdict these security issues or incidents in the most expeditious manner, either by foot, bicycle, patrol vehicle or some type of personal high mobility equipment. The concept of posted security guards at fixed positions is archaic and almost completely redundant in this day and age of technology driven security. There literally is no reason to have a security guard in a position where no human interaction for security purposes is required. The job of the security guard is to cover an area of responsibility and monitor it for any security or safety issues, whether ongoing or possibly becoming a security issue, then move quickly upon it, interdicting the incident in order to establish containment. Here, one realizes that the more mobile the security guard is, the larger the area of coverage is possible and the more expeditiously the security guard can act upon a security incident. But again the security guard must constantly communicate these actions, even prior to his movement upon the incident. This keeps everyone on the network aware and able to move up and/or around the threat or incident.

The shoot aspect of the security guard operations is one that is most constantly attended to in the Philippine security scene. Although it’s important to develop the shoot capability of the individual security guard, much of the methods used miss the point. To me, most important is the liability issue of using the firearm, which is the shoot factor. This is why it is important to develop the competency of the security guard in the use of his firearm and of any other weapon he carries. We need to first understand why the security guard has a gun and it is not to for creating a perceived deterrence but it is there for self-defense of the security guard and his client from any threat to their lives (only). Everyone should read and understand the law under Republic Act 3815, Article 11 for justifying circumstances.

Okay, now that we have those capabilities provided to our security personnel on operations, we build on the security guard mantra of “No ID, No entry.” This is the basics of access control and what the patrolling guard does all day, all night. If he sees someone in his area (sector) during his patrol that he doesn’t recognize, especially if they’re engaged in suspicious activity, the security guard will move to interdict and establish identification, upon containment – the positive identification of that person and the person’s business in the area. The security guard calls via radio to the control point his observations and the intent to interdict. The security guard relays all the information given him to the control point where a constant annotation of these data – the time and location of the issue, the identification of the person and his business, then whether permission is granted or detained for proper disposition – is done.

In the control point a constant, on time, chronological recording of all activities is being conducted. Video surveillance and sensor monitoring are being conducted. When a security or safety issue is monitored by the control point or reported to the control point, it is immediately dispatched to the security guard in that area for interdiction and verification.

The essence of the operation is early detection of security and safety issues, immediate interdiction, establishing containment, and moving to resolve issues appropriately in order to return the area to normal.

As always, stay sharp, be constantly vigilant, and stay safe.