Selecting a Guard Company
By Brian Ramsey
Private security services have become a part of everyday life in Trinidad and Tobago. The frequency of incidents of criminal acts has led to a situation of unease so that organizations, whether companies or residents associations have turned to private security contractors to provide them protection. As the demand has risen, so has the number of private security contractors. For some, selecting a company from among the plethora of offerings is simply a matter of choosing the lowest price. The question is however, does lowest price provide the best value. The statement that “you get what you pay for” is as true in the guarding industry as it is in any other business enterprise. Indeed what contracting organizations should be seeking to do is to select a security service provider that combines quality with a favorable price so that you get the “economically most advantageous offer”.
So how do you assess quality in the context of a guarding company? There are four key elements that underlie any quality guarding service.
1. The capability and motivation of the actual guards
2. The planning and supervision of the guards
3. The technical, operational and human resource infrastructure supporting the guarding personnel
4. The track record and philosophy of the company
As someone faced with the task of selecting a guard company, what can you look for to help you determine if the guards would be capable. The following are factors that you should consider:
· Recruitment practices
o Background checks
o Testing of reading & writing ability
o Psychometric evaluations
· Officer Compensation
o All other benefits (uniforms, retirement, health insurance etc)
o Leave policy
The above are factors that would point towards a security service provider who is likely to provide guards that are capable. It is important however to not simply accept what someone may write in a tender proposal, after all people may sometimes say anything to get a job. Rather you should have the bidding company provide details so that you can see a structured staff selection, recruitment and training procedure.
It is said that “even good people can perform poorly if they are not properly directed” and that is why it is important to assess the supervision provided. In seeking to determine if the supervision will be adequate you should examine;
· Purpose – what exactly will the supervisor be doing when he visits
In addition does the company take the time to prepare comprehensive written instructions to be followed by the guard on your site? Again as in all things you would want proof, so can they provide samples of similar instructions.
The guard on your site is the individual who interacts with the public, your customers and your staff and so it is critical that individual is capable of delivering a quality service. However it is also important that the company can provide support to that guard in the event of an emergency or provide support to you in the event of a problem. It is for those reasons that you need to assess the technical, operational and human resource infrastructure supporting the guarding personnel.
Finally it is important to determine if the track record of the prospective security service provider substantiates the other capabilities that he has shown in your assessment. It is by examining all these elements that you will be able to select a security service provider that combines quality with a favorable price so that you get the “economically most advantageous offer”.
About the Author
Brian Ramsey is a SecTec Associate Consultant.
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