The importance of training cannot be emphasized enough. Be it in the public or private sector, training continues to be an essential element towards the accomplishment of the organizational mission. Such mission simply cannot be done successfully without first instructing the persons and teams who will perform the individual tasks needed to fulfill it. Even before members join their current organizations, many, if not all, have already had some knowledge on what needs to be done by virtue of their formal education and training acquired up to that point in time when they join their new organizations. Some are more advanced than others in this regard. To accomplish the current mission, new members need only to be taught the specific tasks they need to individually perform towards the fulfillment of the overall objective. These members therefore, receive some type of formal (or even informal) training required by their roles from their organizations.
The private security industry is certainly one that necessitates formal training if only by the very nature of its function. But what really are the types of training needed in this industry? It is actually difficult, even impractical, to prescribe specific training good for the entire industry. The types of training to be conducted will have to depend upon the actual security service needs of each and every individual business client. Most businesses are now serviced by various types of security systems and solutions. This article obviously focuses on one of these solutions that find training relevant – the security guard. Although guards receive some form of universal training from their agencies as mandated by the regulating body, the basic training acquired still need to be augmented by other specific training demanded by clients where guards are deployed. And the kind of specific training added depends upon several factors. The first factor is the client’s industry. A client in the mining industry may require more guards, especially former servicemen who are experienced in dealing with insurgents in the field. Whereas, another client in the retail industry may want a security service provider which can deploy guards who are good in spotting and apprehending suspected thieves with some regularity. Still, a third client with militant union employees will surely ask for security partners who are firm towards dealing with potential pickets and strikes. The clients from these various industries will want to have security partners who are specifically trained to deal with the different kinds of threats that they face.
A second factor is the balance between cost and threat size. This balancing act may have to be carefully weighed by the client when choosing which security service provider to partner with. Security service cost is generally cheaper in the provinces than in the cities. However, oftentimes it is in the provinces where the threat facing the client may be stronger. For instance, insurgents tend to be bolder in the provinces where their mass bases are stronger and which afford them better maneuver space and sanctuaries. But, it is also in the rural areas where the cost of living is lower. The security guards in these areas are therefore lesser paid than their counterparts in the cities. This bit of threat – pay imbalance may need to be assessed further by clients as it could impact their business. A lowly paid guard may not be the best protector of a client’s property located in a remote area infested with insurgents or bandits. This underpaid guard will most certainly run away the first chance he gets, be sleeping on post, or surrender his shotgun at the sight of the approaching threat. I have actually seen this happen somewhere in southeastern Mindanao in 2007. And, most likely the poor underpaid guard will not have been properly trained illustrated by the measly amount of compensation invested in him. A poorly paid and untrained guard may also end up being part of the problem than the solution as he is tempted to augment his meager pay by undermining his role as a protector.
A third factor is the quality of training received by a security service provider. If a certain number of the guards routinely provide executive protection to the client organization’s top executives, are these bodyguards trained and what is the quality of their training? Of course, the kind of VIP security training needed in this case need not be the same quality of training conducted by the Presidential Security Group. The emphases and duration of training would normally depend upon the expected nature of the threat. A few days to a week-long training would normally suffice to successfully protect and executive in the private sector so long as the instruction is focused on the threat, preemptive and counter-actions, and instructed both theoretically and practically. How will the guards handle a strike or picket? What would be a good guard deployment in providing event security? Do the guards diligently implement procedure to detect theft, non-compliance, and other violations? Too often I notice fixed post guards who simply go through the motions when executing access control. There are guards who obsessively just touch each and every person entering a mall even if it is visually clear that the person has nothing concealed. I saw one who simply stood motionless with his under-chassis mirror never bothering to do a 360 degree on my vehicle. Yet, others still inspect a person who had gone under a post walk-through even in the absence of an alarm. All of the above, among others, manifest a clear lack of training on the part of deployed guards. Non-implementation of required actions due to fatigue should be addressed by guard rotations. Needless to say, the right amount of resources in terms of quantity and quality is essential towards realizing a successful training program.
A final factor is professional certification. Such a certification signifies best practice quality similar to an ISO certification. A training program provided or run by certified practitioners in the industry is most desirable. I personally think it is just a waste of time and resources to invest in training that is not according to best practice standards. Best practice is critical because it translates to the quality of service a provider is able to deliver to his client. It is also critical because each certified trainee becomes a potential trainer who can cascade the acquired best practice learning to the rest of his or the client’s organization. To this effect I cite myself as an example. Over and above my general knowledge acquired from formal education and training, and experience, I also went after the specific best practice knowledge needed to circumnavigate the private security industry by earning my CPP designation in 2007. Towards continuing my education and training, I sustain my membership in ASIS-International and attend at least one of its overseas conferences annually. I also attend its monthly chapter meetings here in the Philippines. The various ASIS conferences and meetings are really designed for continuing education and training, both formally and informally, through educational sessions, product exhibits, and networking among colleagues from the global security industry. I had been the chapter chair in 2012 and an officer since 2010. I am on my third recertification period. I am a stickler for education and training. I had been the commandant of the intelligence school in the armed forces and a part-time professor. I believe in training! And I believe even more in quality training!