Security guards work for organisations or private security firms and are primarily responsible for protecting a property and the people who occupy it. Some patrol an area by foot or vehicle, while others observe activities on television monitors at a fixed location. Security guards may be retired or moonlighting law enforcement officers or may have a law enforcement background. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of security guards was £15,262 as of May, 2008.
The main duty of a security guard is to protect the people and property under his watch. A security guard who works at a private residence protects the grounds and occupants against possible intruders. In a business setting such as a shopping mall, the guards protect store operators and shoppers against theft.
Security guards attempt to prevent incidents before they occur. Guards patrol the grounds of a property and observe anything that looks out of the ordinary. In a mall setting, the guard will patrol the car park and look for suspicious characters who may be attempting to break into vehicles or cause harm to a shopper who is returning to her car. Their presence inside the mall may discourage potential shoplifters.
Observing and Reporting
Security guards typically do not have the same authority as law enforcement officers and may not even be armed, depending on their work location. If an incident occurs that is beyond the scope of their authority, they should observe the activity and report it to the proper authorities. They should never leave their watch area to intervene in an incident that occurs off the property grounds.
Some security guards have the responsibility of inspecting. Guards at a sporting event or rock concert inspect people and their property at the gate to look for contraband or illegal objects. Guards at airports screen passengers and their luggage to check for dangerous objects. Guards also may work at gates of companies or other institutions and check the credentials of those attempting to enter the facility.
Security guards may need to keep records of who enters and exits a facility and provide them with visitor badges. In some cases, they may be required to take an inventory of products that are brought into the facility. They may also need to take an inventory of merchandise at the beginning and end of their shift to ensure that nothing has been stolen.