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The Reputation of Security Officers “Must Be Addressed Urgently”

The Reputation of Security Officers “Must Be Addressed Urgently”
21 October 2020
 

The perception of security officers as essential workers is ranked only “slightly ahead of traffic wardens”, according to a recent YouGov survey. 

While 31 per cent of those polled believed that security officers are fundamental to keeping the UK safe and secure, with 41 per cent indicating respect and a feeling of safety due to the work that security officers carry out, the role of the security officer ranked ninth out of ten essential services, behind postal workers and pharmacists, and just ahead of traffic wardens, who were ranked tenth. 

When asked about these roles during COVID-19, security officers were not mentioned at all as an essential service. The top three were NHS workers, nurses and care workers.

 

“Although security officers were recognised by the UK Government as key workers during this time, it seems that the perception of the role they play in our daily lives is still at a low level and this needs to be addressed urgently.”

–Mike Reddington

Chief Executive, British Security Industry Association 

 

 

Characteristics of a Security Officer

 

When asked about which characteristics describe the personality of a security officer, the highest scores were “honest”, “alert”, “trustworthy”, “brave” and confident, but some respondents looked at officers as being “authoritative”, “rigid”, “burly”, “threatening” and “unintelligent”. 

Respondents also felt that the crimes that security officers help prevent are shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and petty crime, and that officers should only work closely with the police if asked.

 

 

“The survey demonstrates that the average citizen in the UK pays little to no attention to what a security officer is doing. However, this is not all bad, because a good security posture should be low key until crisis hits.”

– Rick Mounfield

Chief Executive, the Security Institute

 

 

Mike Reddington, Chief Executive, BSIA, commented: “The results of the YouGov survey, Perceptions of the Security Officer, highlight that, whilst a good level of the general public feel safe and reassured in the presence of a security officer, they do not see their services as essential and even less so during the recent pandemic. 

“Although security officers were recognised by the UK Government as key workers during this time, it seems that the perception of the role they play in our daily lives is still at a low level and this needs to be addressed urgently.”

Rick Mounfield, Chief Executive, the Security Institute, added: “The public seems unaware of the critical role security officers play in supporting the police in deterring crime and terrorism, let alone their intervention when theft, robbery and attacks occur. The survey demonstrates that the average citizen in the UK pays little to no attention to what a security officer is doing. 

“However, this is not all bad, because a good security posture should be low key until crisis hits.  The important aspect is that the public should at least, recognise what security officers provide, ensuring their safety. These are the people they will look to in a crisis.” 

 

Survey on Behalf of the British Security Industry Association 

 

The survey was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the Security Institute (SyI) and the Security Commonwealth (SyCom), as part of the “Hidden Workforce” campaign. 

The campaign aims to change perceptions of security officers in the long term and to reset the perception of the security officer as a respected, valued, professional service provider, contributing to and creating a safe and secure environment that is critical to protecting people, places, and property – a key worker that is acknowledged and embedded in our daily lives.

The survey’s objective was to understand the current perception of security officers amongst the British public and to understand the extent of the key issues they face, namely potential lack of respect, recognition and underestimation of their role.

It was commissioned in September, with over 2000 respondents aged between 18 and 55 from the ABC1 and C2DE backgrounds. 

 

Outdated Terms such as “Manpower” Discontinued

 

To reflect a modern inclusive and diverse security workforce, the BSIA has also introduced new terminology across its communications platforms.

The association will be discontinuing the use of the terms ‘security guarding’, ‘manpower’, ‘manned guarding’, ‘security guard(s)’ and ‘security guarding section’, replacing them with ‘Security Officer Services’ and ‘security officer’.

Picture: a photograph of a security officer in uniform looking a a smartphone

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 October 2020

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