At WWPro our security guards are an elite team schooled in all techniques relating to the protection of property and the safety of people on the property – including customers and staff.
There are times when a situation develops in which threats to people or property (or both) are apparent, and security officers must respond. It is certainly not acceptable that staff workers are going to respond (and are often forbidden to do so according to company policy), so it is in the hands of the security personnel to intelligently take steps to de-escalate the situation.
There are 3 strategies that security officers go through in response to threats:
- Warning Signs of Impending Escalation
- De-escalation Steps
- Don’ts in Threatening Situations
Situational awareness is the watchword for security guards, and for situations that may be escalating, here are the warning signs:
- Direct threats
- Bragging about previous violent encounters
- Extensive profanity
- Violating security guard’s personal space
- Finger pointing
- Heavy breathing/flaring nostrils
- Making fists
The first rule of de-escalating a bad situation is to not take an aggressive stand, as this is an accelerant that adds fuel to the fire.
- Prepare with a Plan for security response to a range of situations.
- Understand the situation from the perspective of “these are people,” and not just viewing them as threats. This is done through a flash-understanding of the backstory of everybody so that offhand comments by security don’t worsen the situation.
- Listen means not interrupting and actually listening to what is being said. Maintaining eye contact and repeating what they’re saying back to them as an affirmation of listening.
- Communicate is in both words and in how the communication is being said, and in body language. Staying calm and not forcing the distance between the security person and the disturbed individual.
- Collaborate in the sense that the disturbed individual needs to feel that someone is genuine in attempting to help them. The intent is to resolve the situation.
- Document the situation after the fact so that there is an accurate record of what transpired. If recording is being done during the event, it is best to ask or inform the individual on the recording.
- Debriefing among the team so that all security personnel learn from it and can ask questions or contribute feedback so there is a shared outcome of the event.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t make promises that can’t be kept.
- Don’t interrupt the individual – critically important.
- Don’t make any level of threat to the individual – that is not resolving, that is escalating.
- Don’t show frustration in body or voice.
- Don’t use typical responses like “calm down” or “just breathe” as those can stimulate a negative response.