Security Officer

In these uncertain times, security has become a major issue - for airports, large hotels, embassies, banks and local government!  Councils own substantial amounts of real estate and protecting it is the job of the security officer who is responsible not only for property, but for the safety of the people who work there.

Work Environment
The settings are various and involve round the clock surveillance.  They include civic centres, museums, leisure centres, sports fields, cemeteries and tourist information offices, indeed every building and piece of land owned by the local authority where there is potential risk.  The work can be routine when nothing happens and exciting when it does.

Hours vary according to the place and the authority but are based upon the standard 37 hour week. Shift rota patterns, anti-social hours and night work are usual but enhancements are paid in some authorities for unsocial hours and for overtime.  You are expected to wear a smart uniform and protective clothing is provided where necessary.  You may be called out at times when you are off duty if, for example a security alarm goes off, or there has been an incident on council property.

Daily Activities
The work may involve providing general security to a building, checking premises, monitoring visitors, use of security equipment such as cameras and alarms, general maintenance and moving equipment and furniture.  In many ways a security officer can function as an attendant and a porter at times in such situations.  But the officer's main role is to uphold the security of the premises, its assets and employees overall and there may be junior staff to work under his guidance.

Some situations, such as the main entrance to civic headquarters, mean more contact with the public and so call for a more customer-focused approach: firm but polite, never aggressive and always helpful.

Skills & Interests
Security personnel should have:

  • experience of dealing with members of the public; 
  • the ability to stay calm in face to face situations in order to assist queries and enquiries;
  • the ability to be courteous and helpful;
  • a polite telephone manner;
  • physical fitness; 
  • a stable and mature temperament;
  • a willingness to wear smart uniform when appropriate;
  • basic computer skills.

Entry Requirements
There are no set minimum entry requirements but a good standard of education is expected.  Applicants are sometimes required to have had previous experience of working within a security role and of maintaining accurate and legible records.  "Keeping a log" is often a part of the job.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
There are many opportunities for this type of work both within local government and in the private sector.  As the nature of the job varies considerably from setting to setting, there are many different ways to get ahead - by taking professional qualifications in, say health and safety, part time, evening or day release courses, or by increasing your general educational achievement.

Further Information & Services
Asset Skills
British Security Industry Association
City and Guilds
Public CCTV Managers Association
Skills for Security

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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