Security Officer Responsibilities: Avoiding Bias When Assessing Risks

Security officers must protect their clients. The most reliable protection occurs when the officer makes decisions based on the actions taking place and not the appearance of the people involved. A decision may need to happen quickly about who poses a risk and who has permission to be in a specific area of a protected property. Choices made due to a bias based on age, gender, or race could lead to a faulty conclusion and worsen the situation.

Any bias or profiling based on external appearances may happen without the individual responsible realizing they were vulnerable to such feelings. It is necessary for everyone to learn more about the concern and to work to overcome any bias. Trying to understand the problem can help people to avoid the potentially tragic consequences of unfair perceptions.

Understand Common Stereotypes

Problems surrounding a bias may often happen due to race, but there are other ways profiling can occur. Any judgment made on appearance alone can reduce the effectiveness of a security officer. Clothing style, age, and gender can affect how a guard determines risk. A foreign accent can even unfairly become a warning signal when people use stereotypes for instant opinions.

Avoid Inaccurate Assessments

Security officers need to treat everyone they encounter with the same level of respect and caution. A grandmotherly woman could still shoplift despite her comforting appearance. A teenager with wild hair and baggy pants may have full credentials with the company. The most dangerous trespasser on the property could turn out to be the middle-aged man in the business suit.

Officers must follow the same procedure for every interaction that occurs during their shift. The failure to treat someone with the same respect given to others could lead to complaints about the officer or the company. Careful training and consistently professional behavior could improve how an officer responds when something unexpected occurs.

Admit Potential Bias

Accepting that anyone can unintentionally feel bias can help officers address the risk they could pose to others. People want to believe they are inherently good and may reject the idea that they might show any prejudice. It is not uncommon for people to have some bias towards people different from what is familiar to them. Acting on that bias or not trying to change these beliefs is a concern.

Accepting that a bias could arise when acting on instinct can help people improve their behavior. People that acknowledge they could make a mistake will have a more open attitude towards training to prevent missteps. Security officers can use their time to practice becoming more open-minded about others and boosting the quality of the services they offer.

Practice Overcoming Bias

Security officers can guard against implicit bias in several ways:

  • Learn more about various types of prejudiced beliefs to identify any subconsciously accepted stereotypes.
  • Acknowledge the differences in everyone and learn to judge risk based on actions rather than appearances.
  • Broaden social circles and make friends with people from diverse cultures and religions and with unique interests.
  • Refuse to accept prejudiced comments or behaviors from others at work or home.
  • Make sure all reports about incidents include facts only and not opinions about the intentions or quality of the people in the report.

The responsibility of security officers is to keep the property and people they protect safe. The behavior of the officer should never worsen a situation. At Trident Security, we look for capable and fair-minded security officers to place with our diverse client list. Contact us today to learn more about our company and the opportunities we offer. We want to help you find the perfect security job in an environment that will make the most of your skills.