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The Private Security Officer


In the realm of security work, it takes a distinct breed of courage to stand the solitary vigils of the night, patrolling the eerie silence of towering office complexes or navigating the shadowed isolation of construction sites for meagre compensation. The journey to becoming a seasoned security professional is arduous, steeped in hours of dedicated training and the accumulation of knowledge and experience. The essence of professionalism in this field, much like in any other, is fundamentally tied to a rigorous educational foundation and practical experience. Merely donning a uniform without the backbone of training is not only futile but perilous. The sight of a uniform instills a certain expectation of authority and competence in the public’s eye, an assumption that the wearer is adept at handling any manner of crisis, from minor enquiries to severe emergencies. Yet, absent of the requisite training and wisdom, the figure in the uniform is but an actor on stage, vulnerable to the perils of misjudgement and potentially endangering others.


Regrettably, the vocation of a security officer is often marred by low remuneration and perceived low status within the occupational hierarchy, a reflection of the minimal qualifications required for entry into the profession. This reality is stark, with the demand for security personnel surging while the bar for entry hovers at its rock bottom, often bypassing the need for even basic educational or age prerequisites. Such conditions do not foster the acquisition of the essential worldly or situational acumen necessary for addressing the myriad challenges encountered on duty. Consequently, many who don the security uniform do so not out of a genuine calling or aptitude for the profession but out of sheer necessity, a last resort in the face of limited employment opportunities.


Moreover, the physical demands placed upon applicants are minimal to the point of nonexistence, embracing nearly anyone capable of movement. Illustrative of this point was an elderly security officer, his movements hindered by physical ailment, who patrolled a supermarket, relying on shopping carts for support much like one would a walker. The desperation for filling security positions is such that virtually anyone capable of autonomous movement and the simplest of tasks is eagerly enlisted.


In some countries, the minimal hurdle of obtaining a "guard card" through a state-issued test, despite its simplicity and the provision of answers, further underscores the low threshold for entry into the profession. Yet, it is worth noting that the tide is gradually turning towards heightened professionalism, necessitating more stringent standards. In Australia, minimum education levels, language, literacy, and numeracy standards, and communication requirements act as an effective barrier for almost 15% of applicants.


This scenario underscores not just a profession fraught with challenges and underappreciation but also signals a broader dialogue on the value we assign to those who stand guard over our safety, often from the shadows. 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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