Personnel are one of the most effective resources in security but the most expensive as well. They provide subjective decision-making in deterring, detecting, denying, delaying and defending and can yet cover other duties.
Patrolling optimizes the security officer resource.
Rule of thumb.
“Don’t leave any area of your organization or property unpatrolled.”
Any area, even a low risk one, can potentially present a problem. Leaks, cracks, unauthorized persons, assaults, malfunctioning machines, expired fire extinguishers and maintenance needs are just some examples.
Since it is impossible to have security officers everywhere and at all times, patrolling can ultimately attain this very objective.
1. Fixed Post
A fixed post is a security podium, a desk or someplace where an officer is assigned.
High risk areas and access control are common uses for fixed post security officers. Technological barriers, as cameras and electronic access control, can be used together with fixed post officers in these areas. A full technological replacement is not recommended, since security will be deprived of the human qualities of subjective judgement, reasoning, evaluation as well as the welcoming of a friendly face.
2. Modified fixed post
One where a security officer has a fixed post at certain times and leaves the post to patrol at others, such as in an entrance hall.
3. Regular patrol
A regular patrol is determined by a defined area/route visited by security officers on a regular basis.
4. Random Patrol
A random patrol does not mean that an area is randomly selected to be patrolled but that the frequency of the patrol might change from one round to another.
5. Video Patrol
It is a good policy to define camera patrols. Areas that are made visible by cameras can function as round checkpoints. Officers responsible for surveillance will observe those areas following defined schedules and procedures. Documenting the patrol is important to keep the officer focused and productive.
Besides officer allocation, the number of checkpoints and visitation frequency must be defined. These decisions define the patrol. Since we must take into account our own experience when trying to mitigate risks as described in the Risk Assessment document, some level of subjectivity is required when defining these matters.
A post is an area where an officer is assigned. It is a desk, a security podium in a fixed post and the area defined by the checkpoint in the patrol.
A well-documented security plan defines instructions to all posts. Make short, simple and clear instructions as the following examples:
1. Identify and correct unsafe conditions.
2. Remove any unauthorized person.
3. Check fire extinguisher expiry date.
4. Maintain high visibility walking.
5. Check parked cars.
6. Check security cameras.
7. Check if refrigerator in in the correct temperature.
It is very important that all occurrences and responses be logged.
Post orders are specific instructions to be followed at a fixed post or checkpoint. Patrol procedures are instructions assigned to the round. In many cases, officers are assigned to a round without knowing what to look for. Round instructions give meaning to the patrol. Overall, clearly defined instructions will prevent officers from merely sitting with a fixed gaze into the distance, walking looking at the ground, doing anything unrelated to the patrol.
Safety is one of the primary duties of a security officer. Knowing that justifies such instructions as checking fire extinguishers, for water leaks, spills, broken equipment, etc..
Instructions, such as making sure cars are locked and windows closed in a parking lot, counting people sleeping in cars, will certainly increase round performance.
If procedures involving taking note of these events are defined, the officer will yet stay more focused on his/her round.
Patrolling is one of the most important features in security. It optimizes the important and costly human resource. Login incidents, threat responses, round checks, schedules, shifts need to be defined and managed. Documentation of the patrols and reports on incidents are very important to assure the quality of security analyses and to defend the security posture of the organization/property in liability cases when and if required.
To keep all these parameters on track and have a high level of security, a tool as a Guard Tour System -- an electronic tracking system -- is a must.