Crime rates are currently increasing throughout the UK and security guards are in high demand; businesses are desperate to protect their valuable stock and employees. Qualifying as a security guard equips you with a valuable skillset, it is a rewarding career and being a security guard can open a plethora of job opportunities within the security industry, depending on the company and the situation.
You may have asked yourself the question “should I become a security guard?” If so, take a look at our guide for those wanting to achieve a security guarding job.
What does a security guard do?
Security guards patrol buildings and often monitor other areas to prevent or stop incidents, such as theft and violence. A security officer’s day will also consist of answering alarms and confronting individuals who are a potential threat. Most businesses and organizations hire security guards; banks, museums and retail stores often rely on security guards to prevent the loss of valuables, as expensive items and large amounts of cash are held within these places.
As well as guarding a premises, security officers will also…
- Communicate closely with law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical personnel
- Document the activities and any disturbances that have occurred
- Ensure alarm systems, doors and windows are secure and work correctly
- Potentially interview witnesses or testify in court
Some security guards will go on to become police or law enforcement officers and study while working full-time to earn an online associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Others may use their security experience to become a supervisor or chief security officer. With further qualifications you could go into security management or set up your own company.
What do I need to become a security guard?
Most of the time, there is no need for any specific academic qualifications to start work as a security officer. However, a good standard of general education is always useful. Additionally, previous experience of working in the police or armed forces is also effective.
It is compulsory that you meet the following requirements before becoming a security guard:
- At least 18 years old
- Pass an ID check
- Undergo a criminal records check
- Be eligible to work in the UK
How do I get an SIA license?
Obtaining an SIA licence is vital for anyone who is looking to become a security guard. If you are employed by an agency or contractor that provides security services to clients, you will need your SIA licence. It’s a criminal offence to take on security work without this licence and you could face the consequences of six months in prison or a £5,000 fine, so ensuring you have the essential qualifications is extremely important.
The SIA licence is issued by the Security Industry Authority and they are responsible for regulating the private security industry. In order to qualify for an SIA licence, you have to complete different training, including first-aid. The cost of applying for an SIA Licence is £190. This is non-refundable, so make sure that you have all the necessary documentation and correct information.
There are different licenses available depending on the security role(s) you desire…
- Security guarding
- Door supervision
- Protection of cash and valuables in transit
- Public surveillance using CCTV
- Key holding
- Vehicle immobilising
Additionally, there are exams that you will need to complete. The questions often differ in these exams so it is not possible to cheat and find the answers, however you can research potential questions and revise subjects that you will likely be tested on. Plus, there are a variety of videos across the media that cover different exam topics.
Pursuing a security job on a construction site will result in the need to have a CSCS card, this shows that you can operate safely. During day or night patrols, individuals must be aware of specific health and safety risks, from uneven terrain to the risk of slips and trips and even exposure to asbestos/airborne fibres and toxins.
Once you complete the relevant training course and pass it’s assessment when applying for your SIA License, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have checked all of the training requirements before applying
Depending on the type of security job you wish to pursue, your training will differ…
- Door Supervisor Training
- Security Guard Training
- CCTV Training
- Close Protection Training
If you are licensed in a specific role and wish to pursue a different role, you must apply for that alternative license. An SIA CCTV Operative cannot work as an SIA Door Supervisor; these are two different permits.
What skills should a security guard have?
Security companies are wise when hiring people. All candidates need to be mature, trustworthy and be able to get the job done correctly. Below is a list of some essential skills that a security guard needs to become successful…
Security guards need to be alert at all times and remain focused on their surroundings. They must try to pay attention to detail and try to avoid all distractions as they could overlook something that can cause a hazard or harm. Having quick reflexes is also essential; anyone can spot crime. The difference is that a guard must be able to quickly inspect the situation and figure out how to address it.
Due to the likelihood of working long, tiring shifts and finishing at late hours, your vigilance may be disrupted. You must question whether this will be too difficult for you to manage.
A quality security guard should always be reliable. A company must be comfortable in letting you guard a business’ premises. First impressions mean a lot, you must show that you can be trusted, prove that you are capable of deterring crime and most importantly, turn up on time. It is no good if you are late to your shift.
Ideally, guards need to be in a healthy weight range and exercise regularly. An unfit officer may not be able to offer full protection for people. Moreover, being in good shape will also lead to increased mental alertness.
Not only do they need to be physically fit, but they need to look reputable. Clean and tidy uniform that’s always tucked in will indicate that they are well put together. It looks goods in the eyes of your client and will show you are a quality candidate.
A quality security guard has to be able to communicate effectively with good written and verbal communication. Written communication skills allow them to carefully and accurately note each important incident that happens. Furthermore, it’s important for them to have a calm, approachable attitude and represent a company well.
How do I get a security job near me?
Once you have finished your training and received your licence, it is time to start applying for your job. Visiting websites, sending emails and contacting the company’s recruitment service are brilliant ways to surface available job vacancies that are close to your location. You will need a CV, a proof of address, two forms of identification and two references. Plus, you need to have knowledge on what will be required and the skills that the employer is looking for. Demonstrate this understanding in your application.
Hopefully, you will be given the chance to attend an interview after applying. Researching the company beforehand and knowing why you want to work for this particular company is imperative; this question is commonly asked and it’s an opportunity to indicate that you are interested in working for them. Revise your CV as well, because your interviewer will no doubt use it as a conversation starter and base their questions around it.
If you were unfortunate enough to get rejected within the application process, review your CV and look for improvements. Perhaps you didn’t maximise your experience or skillsets. If you made it as far as an interview, consider how you can improve your performance for the future.
Region Security Guarding are proud to be a leading and trusted supplier of security services and security guards throughout the whole of the UK. We are always looking to recruit experienced and SIA licensed security personnel to cover nationwide job opportunities. Our business has a high reputation and we are able to provide guards with tailored work that is best suited for them.
Get in touch, we’re recruiting!
Region Security Guarding are always looking to recruit experienced and SIA licensed security guards to cover job opportunities. The guards we employ must have a checkable 5 year work history with criminality check and references.
Do not hesitate to contact us on 01902 544321 or fill out our application form.
Click here to see our current job vacancies.
Find out more…
- How to become a security guard in 2020: our guide
- What to expect working as a security guard
- How much does a security guard cost?
- Top 15 benefits of having a security guard at a business
- What can a security guard do and not do?
- 8 Tips on how to be a better security guard
- The importance of security guards
- The role of a security guard