The impact of technology on security guarding in the 2020s

Did you know that the first security guards were employed in the times of the Egyptians and the Romans? Back then, Pharaohs and Emperors would use private security to keep them and their valuables safe. In the same way, as close protection officers and security officers protect people and their possessions today.

As you can see, the concept of security has remained the same ever since: the state of being free from danger or threat. However, as technology has evolved, the threats faced, and the way we prevent crime has had to adapt too.

It’s often believed that technology enhances security. CCTV cameras certainly help prevent crime and to apprehend criminals. Passcards help ensure only people you want have access to restricted areas.

However, as technology improves, offenders quickly discover ways to circumvent the measures. Often this leaves businesses vulnerable, as they’re lured into a false sense of security that the technology will protect them.

So, as we enter a new decade, here’s why we still need physical security in a digital world.

It’s human intervention that offenders fear the most

In a 2019 report by the Security Research Initiative entitled ‘The Evolution of Physical Security Measures: assessing the benefits and implications’, 15 offenders were asked what they feared the most when committing a crime.

Their response?

Human intervention.

This is simply because they believe they will not be apprehended at a later date. That if they’re not caught immediately, they will get away with a crime. With the police not investigating many low-level crimes, there’s a belief that they are uninterested in looking into things like retail crime, for example.

While a camera may catch someone in the act, without the human intervention, offenders feel they will ‘get away with it’.

This is why a uniformed deterrent is still important. Technology can assist security guards, but their continued presence is essential.

Can security technology be outsmarted?

According to the SRI report, offenders also believed technology could be outsmarted. If the technology exists to secure something, the technology can be developed to counter it. Where previously offenders would learn how to detag a secured product, now they have learnt to manipulate access control systems; or simply moved online to commit their crime as measures such as chip and pin technology make credit card fraud more difficult.

Indeed, one interviewee summed it up nicely:

It has always been that a security company will build a 10-foot wall and then a criminal will build a 12-foot ladder and find a way over it or around it. I am not saying just because it is has got more difficult it is impossible, there is always a way.

Will technology take over from security guards?

There are many technologies which will continue to evolve throughout the next decade. Cloud-based security, the Internet of Things, AI; all will improve and help the security effort in the same way CCTV cameras improved security from the 1940s.

Indeed, in his column in City Security Magazine – Will technology replace the security guard? – Steve Gardner, Head of Security at OCS discussed improvements in CCTV technology and its use at large-scale events. The caveat being the is a need to partner technology with traditional security: “You only get a true ‘panoramic view’ when the physical and digital realms work collaboratively.”

The important thing here is, that while this technology can automate processes, criminals still feel they can find a way to bypass them; or that they are not a deterrent without physical involvement.

This is why a combination of security officers and technologies is such an important mix. Working alongside alarm systems, video surveillance systems, car tracking and other technologies, security officers such as those at Abbey Security can effectively protect premises, people and possessions.

With these considerations in mind, it is fair to say that while technology will certainly play an increasing role in security in the future, it cannot replace the human touch.

Not yet, at least…

Use Abbey Security to protect your business in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in 2020

At Abbey Security, we provide security services to companies throughout Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Thetford, Ely, Newmarket and Ipswich. To find out how we can help implement manned and technological security solutions, speak to our team on 01284 768832 or fill in our contact form.

Posted on December 24, 2019

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