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Performance Issues Of Private Security Guards

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 5466 words Published: 9th May 2017

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There is an ever increasing reliance on private security companies to take on the role of protecting both public and private facilities around the world. There are 852 Security Companies operating in Pakistan employing over 350,000 people and representing a business of over half a billion US dollars (Tyab, 2012). Private security business is flourishing day by day due to law and order situation in the country. Private security personnel are asked to be on the front line for any emergent contingency such as natural disasters, medical emergency or terrorist attack. However, evidence from print media strongly suggests that hiring private security has not proved to be a seamless security system. News items of armed robberies and violent attacks on private individuals and businesses abound in the local print and electronic media in Pakistan. Many a times these instances are attributed to poor ability and willingness of the security guards. Some news items even report deliberate negligence, either because of malafide intentions or extreme job dissatisfaction, on part of the security guards.

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A Security Guard or Security Officer is a person who is employed and paid to protect property, assets, or people. Generally security guards are civilian personnel. Often, security guards are in uniform and act to protect property by maintaining a high visibility presence to deter illegal and wrong actions, observing either directly, through patrols, or observing from alarm systems or close circuit television (CCTV) cameras, for any indication of offense, fire or confusion; then taking action and reporting incident to the authorities and emergency services as suitable.

Exploited Worker can be referred to as an underpaid, overworked, long hours at work and the worker is still unable to provide basic needs e.g. food, housing and other survival items. It is also appropriate to mention that where business markets are under the control of capitalists, they exploit the workers more than anything one can think of. Due to ever increasing unemployment problem, people are queuing up to be exploited just to keep themselves alive. This factor should be kept in mind that this is not a natural system. With the knowledge and awareness each and every person can have their dignity. In this regard, it is must that not only government legislature should pass such laws and lay such standards, which should compel the employers to look after the interests of their employees. (Figlan, 2010)

Security personnel enforce their company’s rules and can act to protect lives and property. Besides basic deterrence, security officers are often trained to perform specialized tasks such as arrest and control (including handcuffing), write reports, perform first aid or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), operate emergency equipments, take notes, and perform other tasks as required by the client they are serving.

Many security guards are required to go through additional training mandated by the state for the carrying of weapons such as batons, firearms, and pepper spray. Some guards are required to complete police certification for special duties. For security and police, training standards are identical with regards to firearms but do not place any formal requirements for other items carried, however training be provided should be documented. A number of security companies have become certified in giving training for use of Survielance Radars and training their officers to use them on protected properties in conjunction with lights/sirens, permiting them to legally implement traffic laws on private assets.

Security officers may also operate access control at entrances of buildings and vehicle gates; ensuring that employees and visitors display proper passes or identification before entering the facility. Officers are often called upon to tackle the emergencies like lost persons, lockouts, dead vehicle batteries, etc. and to aid in serious emergencies by guiding emergency responders to the scene of the incident, and by writing what happened on an incident report. Armed security officers are often engaged to respond as law enforcement until situation at a location is under control or public authorities arrive on the scene.

Pakistan is the 6th most populated country in the world having a population of 167 million as estimated by the Population Census Organization. The estimated labor force is 51.78 million. Labor force comprises all persons from 10 years of age and above, who fulfil the requirements for including among employed and unemployed. With independence, country nearly adopted all the laws of British India. Even afterwards country has sufficiently legislatated, covering the interests of labor force eg., Employees Oldage Benefits 1976; Industrial Realtions Act 2008; Industrial Commercial Employment Ordinance 1968; The Factories Act 1934 and Workmen Compensation Act 1923 etc.

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As a matter of fact corruption is widespread in Pakistan , above all the government and lower levels of police force are deeply indulged in this infection. This country has a consistently poor ranking at the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index with ratings of 2.5 in 2011, 2.3 in 2010, and 2.5 in 2009 out of 10. In 2011, Pakistan ranked 134 on the index with 42 countries ranking worse. According to Transparency International, Pakistan has lost an unbelievably high amount, more than Rs. 8.5 trillion (US $94 billion), in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of Ex Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s tenure. An adviser of Transparency International acknowledged that Pakistan does not need even a single penny from others if it successfully checks the perils of corruption and ensures good governance. (Corruption_in_Pakistan)

In Pakistan, Police authorities while investigateiing bank robberies expressed their doubt that some guards’ linkage to robberers and militants. Security guards were arrested on suspicion and interrogated, as a result government shut down 27 private security firms. Evidently such involvement of security gurdds show the rising trends in bank robberies. (Zia Ur Rehman, 2012); (Arshad Dogar, 2012); (Farooq, 2012); (Umar, 2012); (Author, 2012)


Owing to the prevailing security conditions all over the world, there is a growing trend of hiring private security guards. Security industry is on boom. Due to the budgeting constraints the Governments are encouraging private sector to employee the security personnel of the private security companies for this vital need. This practice is asking increased requirement for regulating increased use of physical force. Private security industry is developing rapidly with the passage of time and distinction between detective and security agencies has become difficult. (Kontos, 2004)

The history of the private industry is reviewed. The latest development in this profession is identified as the expansion by some agencies into the field of security services. This trend implies that the distinction between detective agencies and security companies is now mixing up, making it difficult to isolate the problems of the two functioning groups. Three main branches of the security industry are discussed: companies manufacturing locks and safes, secondly companies producing electronic alarm devices, and third type of companies providing guard services. Problems within the private security industry that are addressed include the possibility of criminals setting up their own firms, misuse of surveillance devices, the proliferation of weapons, and strained relationships between the public and private police. The interference of private security forces into society is a growing reality. The factual threat in the growth of such services lies in inadequate training and poor quality services of private security personnel. (Draper, 1978)

Private Security Companies are flourishing since 1990s. It is currently one of the most important aspect of international relations. They provide necessary training to future security officers, assistance in installation of security gadgets, secured logistical support for business operations and threat compromising conditions etc. through education to combat. Their clients include governments, international organizations,corporations, humanitarian organizations, non profit organizations and private individuals. The contributions of the national and international experts analyze different types of private military and security company, its services and the circumstances that have promoted their boom. They discuss the advantages as well as disadvantages of their use and describe tools that could regulate the activities of these companies and strengthen controls. (Thomas Jager, 2007)

In a ‘quiet revolution’ the development of private security has set in motion in the world’s present business scenario and draws out some of the important changes for the legal system and its response to problems of order maintenance and social control. In a detailed analysis of the existing laws showing the powers of search and seizure of private security personnel and the legal status of these personnel is presented. The present policies and practices with respect to search and seizure are examined. The problems arising from these practices, and the relationship of the private and public criminal justice systems also received attention. Footnotes and a reference list are provided. Recommendations regarding peace officer status, relevant sections of the Criminal Code, regulations under Alberta’s Private Investigators and Security Guards Act, information on shoplifting detention statutes in the United States, and sample search provisions are contained in a collective agreement. (Stenning & Shearing, 1979)

Private Security Companies are a rapidly expanding industry. To examine the various aspects of private security, by taking into account the broad scope of their activities, and the necessity of examining the positive contributions as well as questions of minimal standards and need for adequate oversight and public control over these services. (Born & Marina Cole, 19-3-2010)

In general, privatization and public-private partnerships reflect market principles and together constitute a strategy for improving public management. Particular tools employed are contracts, franchises, public-private competition, vouchers, withdrawal, and voluntary action. Opposition to privatization is based on plentiful examples of poor management of the process as well as fundamental opposition to the idea on ideological grounds. (Schrecker, 1988)

Historically, the concepts of self-help and self-protection are considered to the enforcement of law and strengthening of social order. Public safety and the policies behind it, whether it is private or public in design, are borne out of influence or environment. Like any other type of institution, an evolution over time occurs. These principles derived under English law and adapted to American jurisprudence, define what is socially justifiably acceptable in terms of private and communal protection of life and property. It was in the area of protection of ones property that English law first recognized the right of self-help. A mans home was indeed his castle, if he was fortunate enough to possess one, to protect his property and life, a person was entitled to use even deadly force. (Nemeth, 2005)

Security officers’ legal powers can include being able to search people and property, forcibly eject people from private property, undertake intrusive surveillance and enforce rules which may involve the ability to apply sanctions (such as financial penalties for unauthorized parking). A few usually use their citizens’ right of arrest, which most members of the society do not. Despite popular misconceptions about their ineptitude and incompetence, in their own little ‘ponds’, security officers often have considerable power. (Button, 2007)

To day, we live in an increasingly privatized world. Private companies offer services for every portion of life, including the security and military sector. Private security companies are also employed to secure the world’s oceans. In fact, in the last ten years an increasing number of private companies offering anti-piracy services have surfaced and expanded. Despite their growing numbers, there is a number of problems and controversies surrounding the services offered and the organization and characteristics of these companies. (Liss, 2009)

Relations between security and development have been increasingly recognized, Security Sector Reform has become a central part of development policy. Following a traditional Weberian conception of the state, these programs are almost exclusively focused on the public security sector, neglecting the extent to which people in developing countries have come to rely on private security providers for their day-to-day security needs. However reforming of public security institutions is important, but a strict public/private distinction is a poor guide to security sector reform. Focusing on Sierra Leone and Kenya, bringing the private security in is crucial to a comprehensive understanding of the security situation in most countries and that any attempt to ensure better security for all must take account of private actors. Private security companies and their integration, not simply in terms of the maintenance of law and order, but also in terms of who has the access to security. It will ultimately bring legitimacy of social and political orders. (Williams, 2006)

Interviews with employees and management staff reveal that property theft represents a minority share of the more common signs of employee defiance — slow or sloppy workmanship, sick-leave abuse, alcohol and drug use at work, long coffee breaks, and coming late and leaving early. On the other hand in the literature, the authors establish that both property theft and counterproductive actions can best be explained by factors intrinsic, not extrinsic, to the work settings. Because dissatisfied employees are more often involved in property and production deviance, management should be sensitive to employees’ attitudes and perceptions and to the organization’s manner of dealing with the behavioral values. Incorporating younger employees, who uttered more dissatisfaction and reported more deviance, into the company might be cost-effective in reducing theft and other forms of deviance. Since employees in general are more likely to steal if they do not perceive a chance of being checked, management should apply a strict policy regarding theft to employees. Societal controls and not physical ones, are likely more useful in the long run the best deterrents. (Hollinger & Clark, 1983)

During the 1970’s, occupational opportunities for women opened up for corrections were also a volatile one for prisons. Male guards, already threatened by changes imposed from without, were aggressive toward women coworkers. The attitudes of prison administrators, union leaders, male guards, and prisoners with regard to women’s presence in men’s prisons, the shapes that opposition to women takes and the ways in which this hostility figures the working lives of the feminine guards. Women usually resort to one of three strategies: perform a limited range of guard duties, avoiding inmate contact; work on all posts and obey all formal rules and procedures, but have no flexibility; and form alliances with the inmates. An assessment of female guards’ impact on prisons comments that, while no evidence exists that their presence has led to a decrease in security; most female guards are less willing and able to use physical force against inmates than males. (Zimmer, 1986)

Post-communist processes through which fear of the state has been transformed into fear of crime and longing for a stronger state. The communist governing technology was buttressed by fear of the secret security complex and taboo-based management of the self. Risk had unequivocally negative connotations. The abrupt shift to a liberal-market ideology brought celebration of risk but also an escalating risk of crime. Two relevant developments are scrutinized: (1) the move from the state media (with their incessant ‘good news’ propaganda), to the market-based ‘bad news’ media; (2) The re-emergence of the former secret police as a new private security sector-the primary provider of risk definitions and risk management technologies. (ŁOÅš, Post-communist fear of crime and the commercialization of security, 2002)

Legislation was introduced in Spain during 1992 to regulate private security agencies. The private security sector played a key role in the development of this legislation. Second, some of the impacts that the legislation has had on the private security industry and further discuss how relationships between the state and the private security agencies evolved after the passing of the legislation. Finally, the process of exchanging information between the public and the private sector in the light of the framework developed. (Gimenez-salinas, New approaches regarding private / public Security, 2004)

In a recent survey of 127 police officers and 109 security professionals in a Midwestern state in the USA, revealed interesting findings on the working relationship between public law enforcement and private security agencies. Overall, security professionals’ perceptions of their relationship with police departments were positive. However, most intriguingly, security professionals felt that police officers do not view working with private security positively, even though police officers indicate the contrary. Written comments from both sides provide insights on the issues that hamper an effective working relationship between them. Also, the findings reveal that both police officers and security professionals believe that they could probably do more to encourage a positive working relationship, thus leading us to conclude that mistaken perceptions and a lack of communication are hindrances as well. (Nalla & Hummer, 1999)

Now-a-days climate change is increasingly been called a ‘security’ problem, and there has been speculation that climate change may increase the risk of violent conflict. It explains that climate change increasingly undermines human security in the present day, and will increasingly do so in the future, by reducing access to, and the quality of, natural resources that are important to sustain livelihoods. Climate change is also likely to undermine the capacity of states to provide the opportunities and services that help people to sustain their livelihoods. We argue that in certain circumstances these direct and indirect impacts of climate change on human security may in turn increase the risk of violent conflict. (Jon Barnett, 2007)

The term “gated communities” assumes images of exclusive developments with fancy homes and fancy lifestyles. Much of the popular and academic literature on gated communities promotes this view. Yet the common perception of gated communities as privileged enclaves turns out to be only partly correct based on our analysis of the first ever census survey of these places. There are gated communities composed of mostly White homeowners with high incomes that have a secure main entry-the kind of classic gated community in the public mind. But there are also gated communities that are inhabited by minority renters with moderate incomes. Expectedly this dichotomy reflects a divide between gated communities, one based on status versus one motivated by concern for security. (Sanchez, Lang, & Dhavale, 2012)

World has become a global village, changing the circumstances, the structure, and the institutions of the states. The traditional core area of public security is being affected, and rationalities from business and the market are being introduced to the security field. The most recent security technologies build less on public authority and more on management and markets. The San Diego region of Southern California, a region thoroughly affected by globalization, illustrates this process through its introduction of management methods in police work and the growth of gated communities as a defensive technology. (Bislev, 2012)

Policing is no longer, if it ever was the exclusive preserve of public law enforcement officials. Modern security and order maintenance is now undertaken not only by the people commonly referred to as ‘the police’, but also by a host of private personnel, security operatives, regulatory officials and community-based administrators. To discuss generally the frustrations researchers must confront in attempting to observe and define the phenomenon of ‘private’ policing. It reviews the difficulties observers face in determining the nature, manifestations and size of private policing and security industries, and in predicting future trends. Despite these hurdles, this paper offers a new definition of ‘private policing’, and concludes by making a number of observations about preferred research agendas to further the quest for good data on, and a better understanding of, this most interesting modern social phenomenon. (Sarre, 2005)

Incidents of verbal abuse and physical violence are being experienced by the staff employed to handle accidents and emergency events. To determine the frequency of verbal abuse and physical violence in accident and emergency departments and to discover the extent of provision of security measures and instructions for staff on how to deal with these problems. Staff within accident and emergency departments is regularly abused, both verbally and physically. Inner city departments appear to be most affected. Documentation is poor. Perpetrators are seldom convicted. There do appear to be actions which hospitals could undertake that might help to ameliorate these problems. (M G Jenkins,1988)

With the development of private security, crime prevention, community safety, insurance, and, risk assessment, these call into question traditional modes of crime control and challenge existing criminal justice values. In an effort to control or minimize the crime, major changes are occurring within and outside the public sector. This asks what exactly is on offer when security stands as the justification for public and private action, to whom, and at what cost. It goes on to identify several significant paradoxes entailed in the pursuit of security, whose attendant costs need to be taken into account. Yet, whereas punishment provokes us to ask why, how, and in what measure the state may inflict pain upon its citizens, security has not been thought to require special justification because in many ways it seems preferable to punishment. The paper contends both that security is in need of special justification and that it is necessary to develop guiding principles in order to regulate its pursuit. This leads to the larger question of whether and in what manner it is possible to regulate the ‘security society’ so as to ensure accountable, fair, and inclusive provision of protection. (Zedner, 2003)

Many of the workers who work outside of China’s state-owned industrial sector are victims of labor rights violations. Many of them are “migrant workers” from the countryside, who labor in the so-called township and village enterprises as well as the foreign-funded enterprises. They number not less than 144 million, forming a category as large as the urban state-enterprise workforce and the urban collective workers combined. They constitute China’s peripheral flexible workforce in the new free labor market that has so often been hailed as the cornerstone of China’s economic success. (Chan, 1998)

Private Security Guards in Norway: Here security officers are called “Vektere”. There are two types of vektere – firstly uniformed or civil-clothing officers who watch over private and semi-public properties and secondly government-hired vektere who work in public places like the Parliament. The law provides more enforcement powers to security officers in the Parliament than to private security officers. It is mandatory that security officers must undergo three weeks training and internship. However they are allowed to work for six months after one week of the introduction course. It’s also possible to choose Security as a high school major, which requires two years of school and two years of trainee positions at private companies, resulting in a certificate from the government. This certificate makes it easier to get a job, with slightly higher pay. The certificate can also be obtained by private security officers who have had a minimum of 5 years working experience.

In addition to normal “vektere” there is also a special branch for “Ordensvakter” who normally work as bouncers or security at concerts and similar types of events. Ordensvakter has to undergo an extra week of training to learn techniques on how to handle drunken people and people on various drugs. They also learn about the alcohol laws of Norway. The police in the local police district must approve each Ordensvakt. These special regulations arose after events in the 1990s when bouncers had a bad reputation, especially in Oslo for being brutal and rough with people. At that time, the police had no control over who worked as bouncers. After the government forced training and mandatory ID-cards for bouncers the problems have been reduced. The police of Oslo report that Ordensvakter are now helping the police to identify crimes that otherwise would not be reported.

In 2007 several guards from the Securitas (Security Company) were arrested for brutality against a robber whom they apprehended on the main street of Oslo. The crime was captured with a mobile camera by pedestrians and created a public outcry, with many objecting to the way the security guards took the law in their own hands. Later, it came to light that the thief first attacked the security guards when they approached him, so the brutality charges were dropped. As a result of this episode, the police said that they would be more careful when conducting criminal background checks for security guards. Before 2007 security guards were checked when they applied for a job, but not while they were working. Security companies were also criticized for not checking criminal records sufficiently, in some cases but not at all. Now guards working in private security must be checked annually. The police have the authority to withdraw a company’s license if the company does not submit lists of employees to the police. The police in Norway were widely criticized for not checking guards properly, and even when they encounter an issue with a guard, the guard can still work for months before anything is done. The security company G4s, after being criticized by police for hiring criminals, stated that they cannot do anything about the problem, because only the police have the ability to check the guard’s criminal records.

Today there are around 15,000 people working within private security in Norway. The police have around 10,000 employees in total. Notable companies operating in Norway are Securitas, G4S, NOKAS, Infratek, ISS A/S (formerly Personellsikring) and ProSec-Professional Security)

While checking the exposure of high-risk individuals, it came up that In California, USA, work-related homicides widespread from 1979 through 1981. With the use of computer data, a search of the death certificates was made using three factors: “injury at work,” injury at a work location, and pertinent external-cause-of-death codes. Only 30 per cent of the 466 homicide deaths identified were also found in the logs of the state. The average annual rate of work-related homicides was 1.5 per 100,000 workers. The male-to-female-rate ratio was 4.2:1. Police and security guards and persons in occupations having frequent public contact involving exchange of money, particularly in late afternoon or evening hours, were at highest risk. Controlling exposure of high-risk individuals and developing strict standards for reducing such exposures might greatly reduce assaults and thus prevent senseless loss of life in the workplace. (Kraus, 1987)


Owing to the prevailing security atmosphere in Pakistan a gap has been observed between the expected and actual performance of private security guards employed in corporate sector. There has been no formal research carried out in private security industry. However, a large body of evidence from print media supports this observation.

This research intends to discover the reasons for failure of private security personnel in provision of on-site services to private individuals and businesses.

This research purports to address the following:

Task-specific factors that may lead to poor ability or inefficiency at work of the security personnel (Efficiency is the input-output ratio).

Work-context factors that may lead to poor ability or inefficiency at work of the security personnel, e.g. pay, relationship with supervisors, supervisory quality. Work-context factors support the central task in the organization.


Primary data will be collected through personally administered questionnaires consisting of both semi-structured and open ended items. The questionnaire shall be administered to security guards, security company management and corporate clients employing security guards, in the district of Rawalpindi (Pakistan). Research will be focused in the district of Rawalpindi, Pakistan-a district in northern part of Punjab province with an area of 5,286 km2 and a population of 4,500,000 in 2010.

Secondary data regarding instances of security lapses and its relationship to willingness and ability of security


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