What Does A University Security Officer Do?

Written by Holly Savage

9th May 2023

Student safety has come to the fore of public conversation lately, with initiatives such as the ‘Big Night In’. In this new climate, university security guards are often under more scrutiny than ever. University students will often stay in private accommodations separate from their campus during their first year, so having good security protection such as security guards is paramount.

But what does a university security officer do? And what do they protect at a university? We’ll be discussing this and more such as the roles and responsibilities of a university security officer, what a university security guard’s salary is, and if guards are allowed to enter student accommodation.

What Security Is At A University?

Universities will install many different types of security measures to ensure their safety. Some of these are:


  • Security officers.
  • Security cameras.
  • Security alarms.

What Is The Role Of A University Security Officer?

Security officers who work at universities are quite similar to school security guards, as they both have a similar main duty of protecting university buildings, students, staff workers, and anyone visiting the university.

Within university security itself, there are two types of security guards – campus security officers, and student accommodation security guards. Campus security officers will work on the university campus itself and protect students during their classes. While, security officers who work within university student accommodation, will often be situated at the reception area of student housing.

university security officers on campus

What Does A University Security Guard Do?

Aside from protecting the university building, and the nearby town, all students, university staff, and any visitors university security officers will have many other tasks and responsibilities to oversee. Some of these are:


  • Do routine patrols around the university, and student accommodations.
  • Examining doors, windows, and gates at the university and in student accommodations.
  • Providing escort services for all visitors, students, and staff at the university.
  • Informing the police of any suspicious activities that take place.
  • Working at the reception in student accommodations and checking that everyone who enters has a valid reason for being there.
  • Stopping all potential threats or hazards that jeopardise the safety of the university or the safety of student accommodation buildings.

What Do Security Guards Protect At A University?

Going to university has become a popular choice during the last few decades. According to HESA, statistics show that at least 2,862,620 students enrolled at universities in the UK during 2021. With more people deciding to study at university and live on campus, it is now even more essential for university security guards to provide protection. We have listed the different areas and people that security officers at universities will be expected to protect.

1. The University Building

Student accommodation often consists of multiple buildings, or “blocks”, with specific add-ons such as large car parks, and courtyards. There are sometimes even recreational activities such as gyms, cafés or swimming pools that have their own security requirements. This means there will be static security guards and possibly mobile security guards working in tandem. There will be more public-facing security professionals at the front desk, with other guards patrolling the grounds at night.

2. The People

University security guards don’t just have a building to guard, but a number of vulnerable people in their care. For a lot of students, this will be their first time away from home and they may still be in their teenage years. They will make new lives there, learning not just about their course but how to function as adults, making mistakes along the way. International students who do not know the country well can be especially vulnerable.

This is where security guards come in – by keeping a watchful eye on students, checking ID at the door, discouraging and reporting drug use, and breaking up any altercations that occur, university security officers can make sure students have a safe university experience.

Another thing security guards in student accommodations are sometimes required to do is a wellness or “safe and well” check. Though everyone is of course encouraged to call the police if they feel something isn’t right, security guards will also be beneficial people for students to talk to if they are in danger.

Security guards who work at universities will be expected to learn first aid and mental health first aid training as it will help them deal with emergencies. For example, if a guard sees a student who is dangerously intoxicated – from a spiked drink, they may need to administer first aid as it may become the difference between life and death.

University security personnel need to be in a position of trust and a reassuring presence for the students, so students know they can come to them with any security issues they might be facing. This does not mean that security guards can be parents or therapists to the people in their care, but they are committed to creating a safe environment for vulnerable people and their possessions are paramount to being a successful student accommodation security guard.

3. The Town

Student cities and towns get a bad reputation for violent and disruptive behaviour, as well as other crimes like theft, vandalism, and drug use. These claims are not always legitimate, but having the visual deterrent of security guards can help to stop crimes before they escalate. And guards will also bring down the overall crime rate of the area. Guards can make people think twice before even committing a crime on the accommodation’s property.

university security officer

How Much Do University Security Officers Earn?

How much a security officer who works at a university makes will often vary. As it may depend on the type of position they are applying for, how much experience they have, and the location they are working in. According to Glassdoor, security guards who work in student accommodation security may earn up to £29,742 per year. While a campus security officer will earn a similar salary of £29,452 per year.

Can Security Enter Student Accommodation?

If you are living on campus in student accommodation, then a security guard won’t be allowed to enter your accommodation without permission or without giving you twenty-four hours’ notice beforehand. However, if an emergency takes place such as a fire or flood then a guard will be allowed to enter student accommodation to stop the danger.

university security

Why Do Universities Need Security?

Universities like schools are often busy and unpredictable atmospheres. And because they are so busy this often causes them to become victim to criminal activities, such as vandalism, break-ins, violent crimes, and theft.

Security officers can be used to stop these crimes, as they often scare criminals away. One way that university security can deter criminals is through their strong security presence. Another way that guards will stop criminals is by completing ID checks at student housing to ensure that no unauthorised people try to enter.

So, What Does A University Security Officer Do?

Overall, security guards who work at universities will either work on campus or within student accommodations. Security guards who work on university campuses will conduct regular patrol around campus, while student accommodation security officers will often work in the reception area.

The overall task that all university security officers will have is to deter all criminal activity and provide protection to the university building, students, and anyone who works at the university. If you would like to stay updated with all the latest security guard news, check out our blog where you can find articles about other places security guards work and how much money a guard makes.

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