Most private security companies create a written code of ethics and responsibilities for their security guards. This code of ethics can be very useful for officers. It helps guide their performance and behavior at work.

The code of conduct outlines expected behavior and communication protocols. It shows security guards how to interact with other people at work, including clients, visitors and suspects.

In this blog, we will consider the expected code of conduct and responsibilities of security guards on client premises.

Standard Code of Ethics for Security Guards

While each company can choose its own version of the code, a standardized version has also been developed. It was drafted by the Task Force on Private Security for the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice and Standards and Goals in 1976.

The standard code of ethics is a comprehensive list of undertakings that covers a large range of security guard conduct. Here are some of the main undertakings of the standard code of ethics.

  1. The security guards will endeavor to protect persons or property from those who intend to cause harm. They will do so with attentive observation and reporting to law enforcement while on duty.
  2. The security guards will conduct themselves with honesty and integrity.
  3. The security guards accept the responsibilities and obligations of their role as licensed security officers.
  4. The security guard will serve the interests of their employer, client and visitors in that order.
  5. Security guards will uphold the law, policies and procedures that protect the rights of others at all times.
  6. No security guard will accept compensation, commission, gratuity, or other advantages without the knowledge and consent of their employer.
  7. Security guards will adhere to the highest moral principles in the performance of their duties as licensed security officers.
  8. Security guards must obey the law of the land and the rules and policies that are laid down by the employer.
  9. If using firearms, the security guards must fully abide by the law and procedure for carrying, displaying, storing and using firearms.
  10. Security guards must not disclose any private and confidential information to outsiders.
  11. Security guards will be faithful, diligent and dependable in discharging their duties.
  12. Security guards will conduct themselves professionally and perform their duties in a manner that is praiseworthy.
  13. Security guards will cooperate with all the responsible and recognized law enforcement and government agencies in matters within their jurisdiction.
  14. Security guards will observe the precepts of truth, accuracy, and prudence without allowing personal feelings, prejudices, animosities, or friendships to influence their judgment.
  15. Security guards will report to their superiors any violation of the law of their employer’s or client’s regulations.
  16. Security guards will respect and endeavor to protect the confidential and privileged information of their employer or client beyond the term of their employment.

The Principle of Objectivity and Confidentiality

Apart from workplace ethics, security guards are also required to abide by certain standards while on duty. One of the more important principles is to set aside any personal feelings and not let their prejudice get in the way of work.

Security guards must not allow any personal feelings toward a particular individual or group to affect their conduct as security officers. A security guard must be impartial. They should not jump to conclusions based on a person’s attire, color, gender or creed.

Furthermore, security guards are required to cooperate with law enforcement officers whenever the situation calls for it. Security guards are often the first witnesses to incidents at a client’s premises and they should be willing to record statements with officers. They should also cooperate and work as a liaison between the client and law enforcement officers.

Lastly, the client’s privacy takes precedence in all matters. There are times when a client wants certain information to be kept confidential. The security guard is in a position of trust. They must not disclose such information to the public, even when they are off duty. They should also take appropriate actions to prevent such information from getting leaked out.

The Dilemma of Client Confidentiality and Legality

There is a gray area here between the confidentiality and legality of an action. For example, suppose a security guard is hired to monitor a warehouse and discovers that there is contraband being stocked or sold on client premises. What should be the course of action in such cases?

Should the security guard keep the information to themselves to protect the client or disclose it to the law enforcement agency to abide by the law?

In most cases, private security firms have their own standard operating procedures for such specific circumstances. The security guard is required to bring the matter to the attention of the client and their supervisor.

The security guard can refuse to work for the client and may be reassigned to a different client. It is quite possible that the private security firm may terminate their contract with the client to protect themselves from getting embroiled in a scandal.

The best course of action is probably to try and disengage from the client.

Security Guard Responsibilities

A security guard can make a significant difference in security for firms. Here are some of the main responsibilities for conduct.

The Security Guard Must be Visible

In most circumstances, the mere presence of a security guard can deter people from illegal behavior. Seeing an authoritative figure can keep people in line and prevent thieves or vandals from inappropriate actions.

A responsible security guard is both obvious and discrete at the same time. It is important to positions yourself right, particularly in high-traffic areas. It can create a feeling of safety and security for the guard.

The Guard Must be Alert at All Times

Security is an active role and guards must be aware of their surroundings all the time. A keen sense of smell, sight, and hearing are great aides in vigilance.

Instead of remaining stationary in one place, guards must walk around and focus on different things while working. Stationary guards can become bored and lose interest. They can become drowsy and may not notice suspicious activity.

A guard’s senses are quite important. If a guard can quickly smell burning plastic or a chemical leak at the premises, they can inform the authorities immediately to prevent a disaster.

Being disengaged from the environment or having a short span of attention can be detrimental to security guards at work.

Guards Must Be Fit To Act Quickly

Security guards are expected to act quickly to promptly take care of different situations. This can significantly lower any harm to themselves and others. If the security officer fails to act quickly or is otherwise indisposed, an event could go by undetected.

The security officer’s physical fitness level comes into play here. If a security guard has prior injuries or is out of shape, it can prevent him or her from moving quickly. This can make it easier for thieves to get away or make it more difficult to take control of situations.

The Security Guard is Responsible for Maintaining Order

Maintaining order, especially with angry or panicked crowds, is not always easy. However, security guards are expected to have the skill to keep order. Guards may be required to work with large gatherings such as political rallies and religious assemblies from time to time. In volatile situations, a security officer’s job is to maintain order in the crowd to protect people and property.

Security Guards Must be Aware of Safety Policy and Contingency Plans

A key responsibility of security guards is to advise people about necessary safety precautions at a time of crisis. This is why every guard must be trained on security and kept up to date on keeping a building safe from threats.

While it not incumbent upon the client to take the advice, it is necessary for the security guard to be able to provide the advice when asked. Through training and experience, a security guard can become better equipped on how to approach safety precautions to diffuse trouble.

Security Guards are Expected to Follow Client Policy

Security work is similar to military tasks in general. Guards are expected to follow the policies given to them by their employer.

For example, a guard may be required to perform searches for concealed weapons on each visitor. They may have to prevent access of certain people to forbidden areas, prevent photography on client premises, and help verify appointments for customers.

Provide Administrative Support

In many cases, security guards can reduce the administrative burden on your client’s staff by taking on operational duties. These include:

  • Telephone Assistance: Security guards can answer phones, screen and direct calls, and take messages from customers where they can.
  • Guest Services: Guards at the entrance can greet visitors, check them in and direct them to the helpdesk or appropriate department.
  • Liaison services: In many cases, security officers can act as the liaison between the client’s management team and their security agency or law enforcement department, facilitating discussions on their client’s behalf.

Depending on the situation, security guards may refuse to provide administrative support. This happens when the guard is preoccupied with work, or the additional duties are not part of their job description. However, it is usually advised to be supportive as the security guard may need assistance from the client’s employees as well.

Guards Must Have the Ability to Observe and Report All Incidents

Two main duties for all security guards are to observe and report all the incidents at work.  A clear record of events allows responders to make sense of what happened and take appropriate actions where necessary.

If a security officer does not have to ability to observe and report important occurrences, then the responding officers will not have the necessary information to take the right actions.

It is also important to know what to report and to whom. All the information and evidence gathered by a security officer should be reported to direct supervisors and managers on the client’s premises instead of discussing it with employees. This ensures things don’t go sideways.

Additional Requirements for Security Guards at Work

  • Every security guard must carry their license and identification card while at work.
  • If carrying firearms, the guard must have the authority and license to carry the firearm on their person.
  • A security guard must never use their position, weapon or authority for personal gains or to give favors to friends.
  • Security guards should refrain from engaging in unnecessary conversations with other staff members or visitors while on duty.
  • If there is a need for interaction, conversations should be kept precise and to the point.
  • Security guards should refrain from reading or using mobile phones for entertainment while on duty.
  • Security guards should never drink alcohol or consume other intoxicating drugs before their shift or during work.
  • Security guards must wear the identifiable uniform provided by their employer or client business while they are on the work premises.
  • A security guard must know the location of the alarm and sound the appropriate alarm the moment something goes wrong.
  • They should immediately inform the law enforcement agencies if something goes wrong.
  • Security guards must never indulge in illegal activities.
  • Private guards must familiarize themselves with private security agency laws. This is a core requirement for getting a security license.
  • Security guards must always strive to merit and gain the trust of their respective agencies and clients.

Correct Actions from Security Guards Can Save Lives and Property

The best security guards are the ones that conduct themselves professionally and follow the code of conduct approved by their agency and client. Guards should also ensure that they fulfill their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.

Even the most simple of responsibilities should not be overlooked. The presence of a well-trained security guard makes a world of difference for businesses. It is no surprise that clients are more likely to ask for guards that follow good work ethics and fulfill their duties in a responsible manner.