SELECTING THE RIGHT SECURITY SERVICES PROVIDER
Selecting the right security services provider will require some research if you want to protect your property or business properly, and in a cost effective manner. Now remember that the actual costs are hard to quantify. For example, contracting an unskilled, unlicensed or uninsured security company or guard could cost you more in the long run in the form of fines, lawsuits, attorney fees and even on restitution and, or compensation for potentially preventable losses.
Consider the risks and the potential consequences your are trying to protect your business, family or assets against. If you consider these things along with the financial burden and the mental anguish that some of these losses may cause, you may come to realize the importance of making a good selection. However, as if it were impossible to make it more complicated, remember that overprotection could also cost you more in the long run without providing any additional benefit. You need to choose wisely as security services providers are also required to have a state issued security agency license in addition to liability insurance and licensed security officers and managers.
Having an unlicensed, inexperienced and, or uninsured security provider can cost you a lot more in the long run. Millions of dollars are paid out in lawsuits and mediation to victims and surviving members of people affected by illegal actions and, or poor performance from contracted security guards and their supervisors and managers. Consider the lawsuits filed against the airline industry and the New York Port Authority after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In addition to the many successful criminal and terrorist attacks against politicians and celebrities all over the world; celebrities, executives and many other individuals have also fallen victims to lawsuits filed against them due to the illegal actions committed by their security staff and bodyguards assaulting paparazzi, fans and even the protected individuals themselves.
There are several factors that need to be considered when contracting security providers. In short, you would want to assess the security contractors operations and hiring practices, their commitment to your organization and your organization’s mission. Additionally, you should also find out how the company complies with federal, state, local and when applicable, international regulations in addition to the company’s own code of ethics and corporate policies.
LEGAL AND OPERATIONAL QUESTIONS
1) Are the security company and its employees licensed?
2) Is the company willing to allow you to see a copy of their security officer’s valid professional licenses before they are assigned to work at your property?
3) Are the security company and its employees legally authorized to work in your state?
4) Does the security company have general liability insurance? How much? Does it meet state minimum requirements or the level of protection that you wish or need to be covered against if the security services provider fails to protect your assets.
5) Can you corroborate that the state licenses and general liability insurance are still current?
6) Will company executives, managers and supervisors be available to meet with you upon request?
7) Does the security company have a quality assurance program that monitors employee performance?
8) Does the security company provide training to its employees? Doe it measure and keep records related to the training of its employees.
9) Will the company provide you a contact person and a number to reach this person to answer questions or forward your observations, recommendations or concerns to company management?
10) Will the company allow you audit the guard’s timesheets, post logs and compare them against the invoice when you request it?
11) Will the security service provider develop the site’s Standard Operating Procedures for your site or will they help you design one?
12) Does the security company have a code of ethics, a uniform and professional dress policy and a monitoring program to ensure that company staff abides with these policies?
QUALITY ASSURANCE: HIRING, RETENTION AND TRAINING STANDARDS
1) Does the company monitor the professional license of their security guards and other licensed professionals on an ongoing basis through the length of their employment?
2) Does the company have a screening process for new hires?
3) Does the company offer a comprehensive in-service training program for its guard staff and other employees?
4) Does the security service provider have a training department and, or in-house instructors? Do they augment training with exterior resources? How often do they train staff and review the laws and regulations related to their profession?
5) How often does the company update their training programs?
6) Does the security company have a competitive employee benefits program designed to motivate and retain employees, offers competitive salaries and recognizes employee performance; to improve employee performance and draw highly skilled job applicants?
7) Does the security company have a policy that allows them to rescreen and retest their employees on a routine basis for drugs, alcohol, traffic violations and credit worthiness as a condition of employment, in compliance with federal and state regulations?
8) Does the company enforce these policies as standard operating procedures?
9) Are the security guards or professionals assigned to your property physically, mentally and emotionally capable of conducting the security or protection services you require?
10) What type of experience do the managers, supervisors and security guards have?
11) What type of training or experience do these professionals have in dealing with delicate high-liability situations, protecting people and information, preventing and responding to incidents, responding to threats and violence, working with legal counsel or testifying in court?
FROM A LEGAL STANDPOINT
Company owners and organizational leaders are legally responsible and liable for their organizational activities and the conduct and operational effectiveness of their employees and contractors when these individuals are working or conducting tasks directly related to organizational activities.
LIABILITY AND COURT DECISIONS
Consider the multibillion dollar lawsuits that resulted from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (Cooper, Hall, Marciani & McGee, 2012). According to Kerr & Nixon (2008), a temporary staffing agency was ordered to pay 5.5 million dollars to the Christina Appleton’s surviving family after her murder in 1990. According to a jury decision, the Temporary Staffing Agency failed to conduct a proper background screening, which resulted in the staffing agency recommending a convicted murderer on parole for employment at the victim’s workplace. As a result, the agency was found guilty of negligence for their poor screening process which led to the employment of a known convicted murderer on parole to a jobsite, which resulted in the tragic murder of an employee.
THE COST OF LOWER RATES AND POOR SECURITY COVERAGE
Just as your employees expect you to offer them a safe workplace; court decisions across the country have routinely shown that the courts and juries expect you to be diligent in providing a safe workplace. As a result, choosing a security service provider wisely must be a priority. As court decisions have proven, you are expected to provide the right level of security to your employees, guests and clients. Contracting a security company without ensuring that the company has valid state licenses, and that it complies with insurance, licensing and hiring regulations could cost a lot more than a fine or restitution for lost or stolen property. When lives are at stake and the ability of your organization to succeed depends on good hiring and contracting decision, a bad business decision could cost you much more than what you would be saving by contracting a low cost security services provider.
Choosing the right security provider could be an overwhelming task; however, careful research must be conducted to ensure your safety and that of your staff and clients while simultaneously promoting business success.