Pandemic taught new Skills to Security Professionals

The industrial security management has never witnessed such situation where no past experience or the templates are available which could be used. Many industries increased the security manpower, whereas equal number of organisations minimised their security workforce.

Boom time or gloom time, need of security goes up! As long wealth creation is not made illegal, more and more security is needed in the society as those riches accumulated need good securing. When times are bad, social norms and discipline are slack and wen anarchy prevails, the need for efficient security goes up and every one rich and not so rich needs the security for family and him. It is therefore Effective Security is for all the reasons and all the seasons.

This lockdown offers Challenges as well as opportunities: Challenges for mediocre performer to remain relevant and up to the expectations or else they will perish in the changing work environment. Those who take this period as opportunity will see their reasons to diversify and secure new arenas. For them it is the moment of glory and opportunity to consolidate their niche creation. The drones are needed to perform more diverse function such as use of thermal cameras, area sanitization, que control and delivery of medicines and food. Similarly security personnel will be needed to operate drones and robots in the quarantine areas. They need to quickly learn new skills.  

Challenge to continue with reduced Manpower: The Security Chiefs will need to do lot of balancing. There is reduced manpower and heightened security. Threats are increasing yet manpower is decreasing. Failures will not be forgiven and forgotten. Yet, against all odds, if he is able to successfully manage with reduced manpower, he will be compelled to downsize his security force in normal times since this lockdown period will be referred as benchmark. Thus the security chief need to keep record of threats with which he operated with reduced manpower during the lockdown period and present it to the management if it is willing to continue taking those risks during normal times also!

Opportunity to learn new skills: The security chief most certainly needs to learn new skills such as CCTV Audits, Risk Assessments, flying the drones, handling the robots and remote supervision and communication with his team and Top Management. Failure to learn some technical aspects of the production, operation, maintenance related to his industry will ensure career enrichment and failure will ensure perish.   

BCP: Prove your importance: in all Business Continuity plans, security department have very important role to play. Security team is called up on to do area cordoning, traffic management for men and vehicle, management of Emergency Assembly Areas, gate controls and also increase the security presence. The security department does all these activities in tandem with all other department who have their roles cut-out for various activities and is available with their full team. However in case of lockdown many department personnel may not be available and yet industry specific emergencies need to be addressed. When in such scenario, BCP is activated, it will be security team which will be expected to do many other duties which are not in their job description and job specifications. They might be asked to activate Emergency Shut Down of power plant – highly technical yet required to be undertaken in emergency. Similarly, security team need to respond to medical emergency till expert team arrives. As such, in given scenarios the security team must learn such duties enumerated in BCP and must be ready to undertake those responsibilities when due to lockdown and quarantine, the expert team is not available. 

Integrate new security systems and gadgets: How to work from Home: In present dispensation, the physical security comprises more than 60 % of the total Industrial Security Management. This is workforce intensive function and after certain stage, reduction of security personnel is not possible or else it will start harming the security preparedness. However security gadgets and systems make supervision and situational awareness of Top Management easy and helpful in making critical decisions. The Internet of Things (IoTs) and Wearable Security Gadgets become very handy. Remote CCTV Monitoring, Guard Tour Management System, Remote Drone Monitoring, Asset Identification & Tracking etc. are such systems which are found to be handy in such situation and offer very trustworthy and effect control and monitoring tools to the security chiefs.

CAPSI to see that as in case of fire & Safety, security is automatically included in ESMA: there seems to be big confusion about security and protection services in India in case of internal emergency. The Lockdown condition has thrown up few questions which need to be answered. Do we need security services to continue during lock down period? Do we consider it as essential service? If answer is yes, then why it is not included in Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA)? Even during election time, which is regular and routine electoral exercise, the police is over committed to such an extent that there is no manpower to secure even the police armoury and police stations. Deployment of private security personnel is quite normal in many states across the country. The private security is regularly utilized in traffic management. So points emerges out that private security has potential and important role to play in case of emergency such as lockdown. Their role of continued deployment in the engaging industry in any case required and withdrawal of their services will cause great harm not only to the principle employer but May also cause disruption in supply chain – may be with immediate affect or post lockdown period. It is therefore felt that security services must be pre-included in the list under ESMA as essential services at par with medical, health and firefighting services. The CAPSI needs to contact the government authorities for this purpose as they are best aware of the confusion and shemozzle created when ESMA was invoked by many states in which initially security services were not included.

By Prof. SB Tyagi
Chief Councillor at International Council for Security & Safety Management

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