Screening securely for security

15 Jan 2020 10:00 am

Consumers need to be confident that the companies and the staff they employ are both competent and sufficiently qualified to protect their property and person. Security staff particularly, are employed in a position of trust, it is therefore vital that they meet the minimum requirements.

A huge industry to be regulated
South Africa’s private security industry is a huge R45bn a year industry, employing more than 500 000 people in more than 9 300 registered security businesses. In addition, more than a million private security offices are registered but non-active. Private security companies are increasingly performing the functions that were the preserve of the police – in fact the number of active private security guards is larger than the personnel of the Police and Defence forces combined.[1] Unlike the public duties of the Police and Defence forces, the main function of private security companies is to protect their client’s interests for profit.  And many have the means – armoured vehicles, advanced logistical systems, sophisticated weapons and comprehensive surveillance gathering capabilities. Yet it is an industry in need of regulation.

To this end the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) was established in 2002, in terms of Section 2 of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act (Act No 56 of 2001). Its primary objectives are to regulate the private security industry and to exercise effective control over security service providers in the public and national interest, and the interest of the private security industry itself.[2] In short consumers need to be confident that the companies and the staff they employ are both competent and sufficiently qualified to protect their property and person. Security staff particularly, are employed in a position of trust, it is therefore vital that they meet the minimum requirements.

… and screened
High unemployment, CV fraud, and the sheer volume of applicants means companies are becoming increasingly reliant on the right technology to weed out chancers with fraudulent and falsified CVs.  Which is where LexisRefCheck is so valuable as a pre-employment screening workflow solution for hiring managers to use in identifying quality candidates. With specific reference to security personnel the following three checks are most useful in particular:

1. ID verification
Verifying an identity document is the first step to background screening, a valid identity document is vital for doing almost everything legitimately. Without the use of technology, it would be quite tedious and time-wasting to verify an identity document, not anymore.

2. Criminal record checks
A criminal record check is an essential practice during the recruitment process as it helps raise red-flags in a candidate’s history. Criminal record checks conducted on a potential new employee help the employer truly understand the candidate’s potential for dangerous behaviour and other forms of criminal activity. Criminal record checks can uncover any history of illicit activity, past convictions and misdemeanours. The time it would take to access and sift through public records to find information on each candidate would not be feasible or practical without the assistance of an automated system that can do the job for you in a fraction of the time. They are naturally among the most required checks requested by security companies.

3. Qualification checks
Qualification fraud is the most prevalent aspect to be lied about on a CV. Therefore, LexisRefCheck’s online verification ability in producing accurate and factual information quickly should be an indispensable tool.

With particular reference to qualification checks in the security industry, consider the following: A security business is presented with a new candidate who amongst his qualifications lists a National Certificate: General Security Practices (NQF Level 3).  From this the security business is entitled to assume the candidate is professional, up to date and able to  demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of general security practices.  They are also entitled to assume that the candidate has the necessary skills and working knowledge of South African private security, to meet the expected high-quality standards.

Such candidate should also be able to:

  • control access and exit points;
  • protect premises and assets;
  • safely and securely escort valuables/suspects/persons;
  • identify, handle and defuse security related conflict;
  • make lawful citizens arrests;
  • attend and give evidence in court;
  • receive, report and react to customers complaints; and
  • to manage his/her own performance and to work as part of a security team.

The application of these competencies must be safe for society, quality assured and comply with minimum legislation.

In short, that he has the knowledge, skills and workplace experience to provide general security services within the required legal framework. Surely, given the nature of the security industry, and the potential consequences for both client and customer wouldn’t  it be negligent not to run a quick LexisRefCheck qualification check?

[1]Private security industry continues to grow despite looming new regulations

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