Security Operative Questions and Answers: 3

Tony Security 1 Comment

This week is another session of questions and answers submitted to the website or the page over the past number of weeks. These aren’t half of the actual questions I get sent in but they are chosen from as ones that have either been sent in multiple times or that I think a wider audience would benefit from the answer. If you have any questions or comments based on the answers I’ve given feel free to send them or post them below the article wherever you may find it.

Questions and Answers

Q1. Will my PSA licence work in Europe?

No it won’t. The PSA licence only covers you to work in Ireland. Certain European states may part recognise your training qualification as its on the European Framework but the licence itself only works in Ireland and vice versa.

Q2. What do I do when somebody takes a picture of me at work?

Few options:
A. Smile and pose
B. Ask them not to as it’s a breach of your right to privacy. (Tricky in a public place but worth a try)
C. Wait and see what they do with it and then potentially take a case against them.
In reality there isn’t a lot you can do. Individuals taking photos aren’t really governed by data protection laws that well and the onus would be on you to take a case to have that data removed. A long and potentially expensive process.
Some venues such as nightclubs make it a policy that staff are not to be photographed or recorded at work. Even this is hard to monitor though and all they can do is ask a person who breached the policy to leave.

Q3. What’s in your work bag?

Lots of stuff. Probably an article in itself that I haven’t gotten around to writing. I’ve been asked this at least 10 times this summer. I did an article on the basics before and to be honest mine changes for each event depending on what I’m doing. Quick list:
  • Spare clothes and socks
  • Sun cream
  • Wet gear
  • Leatherman (if not on my belt)
  • Water
  • Medical kit
  • Food (Usually cereal based stuff, nuts and other dried food)
  • Accident kit
  • Hygiene kit (deodorant etc)
  • Spare cash
  • Portable power supplies
  • Spare batteries
  • Lots of other stuff depending on the situation.
Event Security bag

Event Security Kit

Q4. Would you allow your kid to work in security?

Yes of course. I think there is huge potential in this industry. I’d hope he would learn from my mistakes and take a slightly different path but I wouldn’t have an issue with it. Into  the future I see huge opportunity in this industry.

Q5. What’s the law on searching?

Quite simply there isn’t one. We have no right to search anybody. What we do is set up a search policy as a reasonable condition of entry. This means that as long as the customer is informed prior to searching that it is a condition of entry we can request that they submit to a search. We still need permission from the person however and if they don’t give that permission all we can do is withdraw their invitation to enter.
Provided the entry condition was reasonable they can have no complaints. The more I thin about it there is probably a full article in this question on its own covering areas such as gender issues, searching minors, finding objects such  as drugs during a search.
Of course there is also the area of employee searches which again is a contractual issue and not a legal issue. Refusal to comply in this instance is a disciplinary issue and not a legal issue.

Q6. I’m working on a site for the past 6 months for Xxxxx security. My hours go up and down each week. I’ve asked at least 3 times for a contract and the last time I was told that the company doesn’t give contracts. Is this allowed?

No its not allowed. It’s both illegal and morally wrong. The Terms of Employment Act covers this and within the security industry the ERO covers it as well. You are legally required to a contract outlining the terms ad condition’s of your employment. You a re entitled to it in writing and the employer has a legal duty to provide it. I’m going to be brutally honest and say that an employers refusal to supply you with a contract and belief that they dont have it tells me everything I need to know about the type of employer that they are. I suggest that you ask once more before making a referral to a union rep or direct to the WRC. These type of employer only get away with stunts like this as long as employees allow them to.

Q7. Just started in Door security. My friend suggested I should start Karate or Krav Maga. Which would you suggest?

Neither. Both are great martial arts with some real benefits in terms of fitness, discipline and techniques. Neither have a lot of skills that transfer directly to the security industry. I would recommend that you look for a security industry based physical intervention course for yourself. Of course if you want to take up either for lifestyle based self protection then both are great. In my experience most of the physical encounters you will deal with in security are at close quarters and end up being at grappling range. Both of the martial arts you mention above are predominantly (but not completely) striking arts. If you do want to take up a martial art try something grappling related such as Jiu Jitsu, Judo or wrestling as your base and expand from there. Get used to gripping and being gripped at close quarters. Beware of the ground grappling element though. Again its  a good martial arts skillset but not really good for security.  I’m probably gonna have some keyboard warriors respond with the ‘my art is better than your art’ argument now but this is my experience.

Q8. In a contract security situation where your supervisor  has given you an instruction but a store manager over rules this who is more important. My supervisor has told me that they need to see some arrests as a KPI for the overall contract. However the store manager says he doesn’t really want arrests. Mostly deterrence unless I have to do an arrest.

From  a duty of care point of view your employer is your ultimate chain of command and you take instruction from them on operational issues. However this is an issue that your employer and the client need to sort. The on site assignment instruction manual should be agreed by both and it sounds like you are getting caught in the middle. I think you need to speak to both of them about this and have them meet and discuss the issue. From my perspective your supervisor is playing a very risky game on two fronts. Firstly by going against the store managers wishes and secondly by pushing arrests as a valuable KPI when they aren’t.

Q9. Is it common practice to pay agency security officers minimum ERO rate in the nightclubs, where -depending where it’s busy or not,-you could be sent home after three hours? Thank you for your time and advice in advance.

First to answer your question on agency staff Unfortunately, yes it is still happening that contract security door supervisors are being paid the minimum rate. As long as they find staff willing to work for this will continue.
Secondly on your question about getting sent home after 3 hours. Under the terms of the ERO the minimum hours you can asked to work is 4 hours. Event where your shift falls below that you are entitled to be paid for 4 hours. Any employers not meeting meeting this is subject o  a pay claim in the WRC which would include any back pay that is owed.

Q10. Many nights,we come across drugs (Class-A) being used in the toilets. It was not part of our training with the HOD of the nightclub. When I asked my senior supervisor,I was told,to confiscate any drug (which) may remain and do the walk-out according to procedure.I had one incident involving two ladies. I asked them to leave the club immediately and gave the evidence to my superior,as manager was not around.After further questioning, there were no need to write any report of it.I understand,that the club is there to make much profit as possible. Therefore, any above incidents being exposed in any form may harm the reputation of the Club.Is there any regulations us,security operatives should know? Walking around with the little white powder bag ,looking for someone to hand it over is just not ideal,in my opinion.

You are completely correct. You are being put in a terrible moral and legal profession by your head door supervisor. Firstly. you have no power to confiscate and substance from any person especially not illegal drugs. If you do decide to confiscate this substance then you potentially become in possession of a controlled substance which is a crime. There is some debate about whether finding a person in possession of personal use drugs is arrestable. Technically under the law is is not an arrestable offence  however who are we to judge if the amount is for personal use or supply so there is an argument to be made that any find is technically arrestable and should be handed over to Gardaí. You are also correct in saying that its harmful to the reputation of the venue which is why many simply remove the patron (which is fine). However seizing the persons drugs (illegally) and removing them is not within our power.
Also telling you that a report is not required is incorrect. Of course a report is correct and if I were you I would suggest you make a report at least in your notebook of the incident. This subject ties in nicely with the  searching question which I think I might combine and write a full article about next week.
Summary
Some great questions again. The amount and type of question ask tell me two things. One is that there is a real willingness among followers of this site to be better, get better and improve the industry. Secondly it shows me how far we still have to come as an industry in terms of educating our people across the sectors. These questions have given me suggestions for at least two more full articles on different subject which will be coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Comments 1

  1. Thank you Tony for your great responses.
    Unfortunately the industry is still of need some improvement,certainly your expertise could go a long way amongst companies,managers and staff.
    I have since left the nightclub scene and quit the agency,probably will be replaced in less then a day.

    Kind regards,
    Tímea

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