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Crime/Incident Scene Management by Security Personnel

When a security officer stumbles upon a scene bearing the marks of criminal activity or an accident, their role transcends mere observation. Though not equipped to undertake full-fledged investigations—a task reserved for specialists in that field—it falls upon them to grasp the basics of preserving the integrity of the scene. This preparation is crucial, for it's often uncertain who will first encounter such scenes. It's imperative, therefore, that all security staff are versed in the rudiments of managing crime or incident scenes.

The term "crime/incident scene" encompasses any location where evidence could be found, signalling a range of events from minor thefts to grave indictments or accidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. This might also include instances of lost proprietary information or significant property damage affecting client operations. The initial actions taken at the scene are pivotal for the identification and apprehension of suspects or in compiling reports for insurance claims.

The principles guiding the management of a crime or incident scene are grounded in common sense and remain consistent regardless of the scene's location. These include immediate care for any victims, securing the area to safeguard potential evidence, gathering witness information, notifying relevant authorities, and compiling a comprehensive report detailing the situation.

"Physical evidence" refers to any item that could prove a crime occurred or distinguish whether property damage or injury resulted from deliberate actions or an accident. This evidence is crucial for linking suspects to a crime or understanding the cause of an accident. From identification to preservation and analysis, maintaining unbroken control over the evidence from the scene to the courtroom is essential for its validity in legal proceedings.

For example, to prove a burglary, one must demonstrate unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime, supported by physical evidence such as damaged entry points or fingerprints. The security officer's immediate task is to assume control, secure the scene, and initiate a systematic process to protect and document evidence, all while coordinating with law enforcement and medical responders as necessary.

Moreover, maintaining a detailed log of the crime/incident scene, documenting evidence, and managing the flow of individuals in and out of the area are critical steps. This log aids in establishing the evidence chain of custody and provides a clear record of the scene's condition and the actions taken.

While direct witness interviews may not fall within a security officer's duties, collecting preliminary information can be invaluable for investigative authorities. Separating and documenting witness accounts early on helps to preserve the accuracy of their testimonies.

The role of a professional security officer is multifaceted, requiring a blend of skills from public relations and security protocols to emergency response. Their contributions, often overlooked and undervalued, are essential to the security infrastructure, serving as the proactive guardians of safety and order. In recognising and elevating the status of security personnel, we acknowledge their critical role and the specialised knowledge they bring to the forefront in protecting and serving our communities.  From the author.

The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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