All you have to do is send a survey to security managers, risk managers and businesses about their security officers’ use of force, and it becomes clear that the question itself scares them. The truth is they have good reason to be averse to the use of force by security officers.
Improper use of force by security officers can lead to lawsuits, criminal charges, a PR disaster, loss in sales, business closings etc. For these reasons and many more, businesses tend to instruct security officers not to use force.
In the majority of situations, this works well because most businesses don’t deal with potentially violent patrons. However, entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, and sports arenas have a very different visitor profile. Alcohol and high tensions in these venues can lead to poor decision making, which can increase the risk of violence.
In these cases, security guards must contend with the protection of the person in an altered state, while also protecting business invitees and employees. This split responsibility can make the officers’ position complicated.
Mitigation in these cases should be heavily weighted towards verbal diffusion. When security personnel are effectively trained in such tactics, they can halt the vast majority of threatening situations at the onset. Unfortunately, a small minority of these situations will result in the business invitee acting violently towards the officer or towards other people on premise.
When this happens, the method by which a security officer responds is critical because failure to protect innocent parties can result in legal and financial consequences. Violent situations can cause property damage as well as injury to the security team, business invitee, and bystanders.
The best way to prevent these worst-case-scenarios is to have an effective mitigation plan in place. Aspects of an effective policy will include: staffing levels, post-specific training, a Response to Resistance policy, officer licensing, and officer screening standards.
Business owners must constantly balance the obligation to protect all business invitees with the rights of individuals who are acting violently. That means implementing policies that reinforce conflict-avoidance is the first priority, while offering guidance on how to appropriately resolve violent circumstances when they arise.
**Please note: This review is not intended to be legal advice. Businesses must always consult with a qualified attorney before making legally sensitive decisions. This blog is however, intended to get inspire businesses to think these concepts and how they relate to daily operations.**