FOUR TRICKS TO THE PRINCIPLES OF
EFFECTIVE PHYSICAL SECURITY DETECTION
I recently had a newcomer to the security business ask me, “So, how would you describe what security is?” I looked at her like, what a stupid that question is. But after I thought for a second, actually it was a pretty good question. A question many of us would provide varying definitions of. My answer was pretty short. Security is, the detection of behavior – good, we reward; i.e., password or PIN and we allow you access to the computer or ATM, bad, we deny access.
Simple, right? Yes. So, the questions become, “How do we ensure effectiveness? How do WE determine good or bad behavior? Where should we do it? And, how do we make sure we know the difference?”
AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE
Detect activity as far from the asset, thing you’re trying to protect, as possible. We want to detect all behavior. Then we can decide if it’s good or bad. Good behavior – we allow access and bad – we don’t. When it comes to valuables or assets, anything of value can be considered an asset. An asset is something you place value on. It could be a building, a process, an object or people. Even my crazy cousin back in Indiana could be considered an asset. Ok, well maybe not my cousin. But you get the gist.
An asset doesn’t have to have value to the owner. As long as it has value to somebody, then it is an asset. I guess that means my cousins back in.
We want to protect those things we value at the furthest opportunity we can afford; either at the property line or even before, if possible. Usually we do this by defining our property line. We use fences or signs or other materials that say, “Hey, this is my space, so stay over there and I don’t care what you do, but come over here. I want to know about it”. In the old days, we had to post a guard to detect penetration. Today, we can use electronic technologies that assist us in detecting when people come into our space.
You can access my article “More Power to the Perimeter” starts on page 31. http://issuu.com/securitymiddleeastmagazine/docs/sme_july-_aug_2015_web?e=0/14330179
IT’S ABOUT DETECTING UNWANTED BEHAVIOR
Electronic or non-electronic detection, it really doesn’t matter. It’s about detecting behavior and then deciding if it should be rewarded (allowed entry) or not (denied access). I often ask my students if they think we should detect all behavior or just the “bad”. Most say, just the “bad”. We don’t have the time to watch everything. Well, actually we do. It’s just that we’re a lot quicker in rewarding “good” behavior than when something wrong happens. As long as the rules are followed, everything’s fine. Let someone forget their badge or password and well, and then the problems start.
BEST DETERRENCE IS A WELL-TRAINED STAFF (YOU WERE EXPECTING ME TO SAY GUARD FORCE, WEREN’T YOU?)
Actually, having a well trained staff in knowing what constitutes good behavior is the best deterrence you can achieve. Trained staff is a force multiplier. That means more eyes on your environment. Trust me; your staff knows when things are out of place or when something is just not right. That doesn’t mean you’re going to get them to “rat” on each other but you can get them to think about protecting themselves and their colleagues. I recently read an article about the creation of open office spaces adding to efficiency and productivity. The psychological impact of the space adds to a sense of belonging and our natural instinct to protect ourselves and each other. Use that to your advantage.
Teach folks what “suspicious” looks like, when and how to report it and when it’s okay to intervene themselves without getting hurt. Sometimes “bad” behavior can be corrected on the spot. Other times the “authorities” need to get involved. When reporting suspicious behavior, describe the “bad guy/gal” by comparing them to yourself; i.e., taller than me, heavier than me, blond hair like me. While clothes description are important folks should focus on things that are less likely to be changed quickly; shoes or pants, complexion, color and length of hair. The responding forces will need to know if any weapons were involved and if anyone has been hurt and where to find you.
DRILLS & EXERCISE STAFF & GUARD FORCE (OFTEN, CREATIVELY AND REWARDING)
Administrators and decision makers can increase the likelihood of detecting unwanted behaviors by conducting routine, periodic and creative drills. Some drills should be done just for small groups, while others should involve everyone. Sometimes with the guard forces and sometimes the guard should train alone. There’s a difference between “preparedness” and “readiness”. “Preparedness” is having material stockpiled and “readiness” is knowing where to get materials and what to do with them.
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