CCTV and security training are often driven by minimal cost training, rather than training for value. In other words, where any kind of special training is given it is often the cheapest and most basic for security personnel. Where higher level training aims to accomplish objectives directed to effective performance, it is often initiated due to client complaints and demands rather than a proactive drive to deliver high levels of service.
Training is seen as a way to reassure the client of the service provider commitment and keep the contract rather than a concerted focus on improving personnel and service delivery. However, I do think this philosophy is changing for guarding companies providing CCTV personnel, and I have been involved relatively extensively with some prominent security organisations who are proactively endeavouring to provide higher quality service in line with client expectations.
During a project that I have been involved in recently with a company providing services to a diamond mining operation, I have had something that I took for granted highlighted to me which is also important – training for values. What has been interesting is how the close involvement of training in the process has highlighted the contrast between the traditional low cost, low target learning and one that has a focus on providing the most effective delivery detection service possible. I was remarkably impressed by the company approach because it is just so different from many in the industry.
A commitment by a security company to provide over two weeks intensive and specialised training for security officers is a major commitment, and this excludes ongoing training. This was built on a solid foundation of personnel who went through a stringent selection exercise in order to be on the training and accepted into the company. The company was also so confident enough in its programme that it invited the security manager of the client operation to sit through training with the security officers, which included training in production procedures and processes, operational, system and crime behaviour recognition.
Common through the selection and training was an emphasis on values that the company stood for, and what employees should stand for. A strong part of this was the need for integrity of the staff, company, and the need to detect theft in the client organisation for the benefit of the client. Part of this was also to preserve the reputation of fellow staff, as well as the team that was represented.
There are definite challenges associated with a company that stresses values so highly. It is tough for a company to put across values to employees that they themselves have to live up to, particularly in a tightly costed industry. The amount of personal empowerment and appreciation of staff is also not necessarily common in the guarding industry. Providing it, even to specialised CCTV positions, can create tensions and questioning from more traditional managers. There is also the danger that with so much training, an employee leaves the organisation in search of better prospects with the new skills. The values training, therefore, had to emphasise not just the need for detection and integrity, but also the advantages of staying with such a company. It also had to focus on providing a sense of belonging, and the feeling of membership of a team.
Living up to a value driven approach means that values have to be consistent from company profile to control room management. It is not good enough having posters on a wall or in the training room, such values need to occur and be reflected in control room management. Effective leadership is an important part of this and influences how people are treated and appreciated, the feeling of being part of a team solution and having management involved in a constructive and encouraging way. It means that coaching, team building, facilitation and personal problem solving skills come into play far more than usual in the industry.
It also means that supervisory and management style and vision within the control room need to be of a high quality to maintain this. Employees cannot be seen as a disposable commodity, but as an important part of the company service delivery and every effort needs to be made to integrate them into the culture and value systems the company stands for and practices within its own operations. Commitment to a value system of integrity and prevention of crime is not an outcome that can just be delivered by training – it takes the part of a whole package focused on personalised attention to selection of personnel, complemented by training which is accompanied by a strong emphasis on intrinsic values, the purpose of surveillance, the importance of surveillance for the company and community and the importance of integrity in safeguarding the product, client, fellow employees and the company as a whole.
Dr Craig Donald is a human factors specialist in security and CCTV. He is a director of Leaderware which provides instruments for the selection of CCTV operators, X-ray screeners and other security personnel in major operations around the world. He also runs CCTV Surveillance Skills and Body Language, and Advanced Surveillance Body Language courses for CCTV operators, supervisors and managers internationally, and consults on CCTV management. He can be contacted on +27 (0)11 787 7811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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