Working as a security guard means that performing bag checks may be a part of your job description at some point. This work entails carefully going through purses, handbags, backpacks, and other types of bags to ensure that they don’t contain any contraband before people enter a venue.
Bag checks are common outside of sporting and concert venues, schools, and other similar locations in which large crowds of people are gathered. While some organizations use metal detectors, others rely on the traditional method of having security personnel manually inspect each bag. Here are some tips that you can employ during this important procedure.
Monitor People in the Line
Whenever you’re performing bag checks, you should be aware of your surroundings instead of just focused on each bag that you handle. Always watch people standing in the line, including those who are several people back from you. Monitoring these people may give you an early warning sign of a problem.
Perhaps someone is fidgeting in his or her bag in an apparent attempt to conceal something, or maybe someone just looks nervous. If you identify such an individual, you’ll want to be even more careful about inspecting his or her bag.
Don’t Put Yourself at Risk
While it might be easy to plunge your hands into a bag and root around to ensure that no contraband is present, you should always keep your own safety in mind. There may be sharp implements in a bag – such as a knife or even an uncapped syringe – that could potentially cause you harm. Wear thick gloves and use a baton or other similar implement to move articles aside. Don’t be afraid to pull items out and set them on the table in front of you to allow you to look through the bag more thoroughly.
Work in the Presence of the Bag Owner
You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you make inspect each bag in the presence of its owner. Some people may accuse you of removing something during the search, and this issue will be bigger if you’ve turned away to search the bag and had it out of the owner’s line of sight.
Set the bag on the table between you and the owner and move through the bag’s contents methodically. This way, no one will have a reasonable argument that you’ve stolen something that he or she had in the bag.
Don’t Feel Rushed
It can be easy to feel rushed when you’re checking peoples’ bags, especially if the lineup is long and people are clamoring to get through your checkpoint. Remember, however, that your role isn’t to speed up the process of people getting into the venue – rather, it’s to ensure that everyone who enters is safe.
Be methodical, rather than fast, and don’t hesitate to tell people in line to stand back if they’re pushing forward in an attempt to speed you up.
Put Things Back as They Were
Being a security officer isn’t just about keeping people safe. It’s also part of your mandate to treat those around you with respect. Part of doing so is putting things back in peoples’ bags the way you found them – not cramming everything you removed back in the bag and telling the person to move along. A careless approach will lead to conflicts that will disrupt your ability to do your job, so it’s always worthwhile to treat people and their property in a respectful manner.
If you’re eager to make various venues safer through the use of bag checks or work as a security officer in a different capacity, find out if you’re a proper fit for Trident Security.