Markus Böhme & Nadine Böhme: Factory security – Quality pays

Tasks related to security and crime pre­­vention have long ceased to be only the police’s responsibility. Private security firms contribute a lot to protect people and companies. But whoever thinks of the classic picture of a security guard or even a burly doorman, is completely mistaken. Employees in the industrial security sector are highly qualified and have good technical know-how. Integrity, authority and competence are essential preconditions of success in the security industry. Debating security matters in public receives more and more attention.


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An increasing number of large and me­­dium-sized companies as well as opera­­tors of public facilities opt for outsourcing property and personal protection tasks to external providers. Clients who, for ex­­ample, wish to outsource in-house in­­spec­­tion, porter or reception services give first priority to finding a provider who of­­fers appropriate know-how and qualified spe­­cialist personnel. Providers of security services who want to be continual successful will have to invest in further education and professional qualification measures for their staff, because there is often a lack of capable personnel.

The security market in Germany is currently worth 10.25 billion euros in turn­­over and has kept growing for years.
In 2008, more than 173,000 people were working in the alarm and security in­­dus­­try, plus an additional 30,000 as temporary staff. An unbalanced pay structure due to wage dumping leads to high la­­bour turnover rates in some areas.

One of the key purposes of personal and property protection is to prevent destruc­­tive processes from occurring. That is achievable with the deployment of qual­ified staff combined with the use of ap­­propriate security systems. There are three quite clearly defined core areas of services offered by the private security industry.
85 per cent of contracts are attributable to private households or property under private law without public access. These include, among others, factory and prop­­erty protection and emergency or service call centres.
Approximately ten per cent of the business is related to areas under private or pub­­lic law with public access, for in­­stance the protection of DB (German railway) premis­­es, shopping centres or fair grounds.
Only five per cent of the contracts come from public clients and pertain to public spac­­es. These are, for instance, tasks re­­­lated to properties of the German armed forc­­es or airports and traffic monitoring.


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In any case, the purpose of all these meas­­ures is to avoid or minimize any physical or economic damage and to prevent breaches of the law.
Besides a confident manner and good physical condition, employees who are looking to build a successful career in the private security industry need to have a strong affinity for electronic se­­curity systems. Since many globally ac­­tive com­­­panies have foreign-language speaking visitors, communication and foreign lan­­guage skills are another es­­sential requirement. Security firms and their employees must always give consideration to the specific needs of each of their clients.

The monitoring of technical facilities such as fire detection or building management systems which have the purpose of en­­sur­­ing the security of a building is another important field of activity.
Men and women who undertake these tasks must have special qualifications. The attendance of a specialist training course according to §34a of the German Trade, Commerce and Industry Regu­­lation Act (GewO) with or without CCI examination, is a mandatory precondition in this profession. A dual system of professional training is in place for the occupations of safety and security specialist/service specialist. Career switchers who have al­­ready completed some job-related train­­ing may take a CCI test as certified safe­­ty and security specialist.

These qualifications normally improve the career prospects in a company. In addition, qualified workers receive higher wages. Further education opportunities are available to people who have completed professional training. They may be­­come CCI-certified Masters of Secu­rity and Safety or certified technical business management specialists or they may do subject-related study courses for se­­­curity business administrators/managers.

A number of other services requiring spe­­cialist qualification include, for in­­stance, aviation security. Aviation security as­­sist­­ants perform tasks like passenger, per­­sonal, luggage and freight screening. In regional public passenger transport, security firms offer protective services for passengers and employees besides other types of services.

 

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Specially trained security experts are required to develop reliable safety and security concepts for extensive premises or building complexes. These special­­ists carry out site inspections at regular intervals and, in cooperation with the client, conduct a needs analysis to meet their particular security requirements. In case of property protection, elements of building technology, electronic de­­vic­­es, master key or equipment protection systems must be assessed.
More and more clients opt for highly spe­­cialized monitoring systems. Particularly in large public squares, at train stations or airports, highly effective security so­­lutions can hardly be implemented with­­out the help of technical equipment. Even smaller firms increasingly tend to invest in electronic security systems to keep up with the latest developments.

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The “European Electronic Security Baro­­­meter”, a survey conducted in 2007, shows nevertheless that companies do not rely on technology alone to maintain security standards. 37 per cent of the interviewed companies intend to invest more money in security, another 45 per cent don’t plan on cutting down these areas. No doubt, technical devices have contribu­ted a lot to improve the professional prac­­tice in recent years and have enhanced the se­­curity sector. But what matters most is always the specialised personnel that carries out operation, maintenance and evaluation tasks.

At the end of the day, occupations in the security sector involve delivering a variety of demanding services. And it should not be forgotten that private security firms not only support government crime prevention strategies, but they also con­­tribute to creating new jobs.

 

Farbe_2291The author was born in 1964. He is a qualified Master of Security and Safety. From 1987 to 1996, he worked as a fa­­cility manager for two security firms. In 1996, he founded the ATG Sicher­heits­­ge­­sellschaft mbH, whose managing part­­ner he has been ever since. In addition, he is a member of the board of the South­­ern Bavarian regional district of the SME association “Die Familienunternehmer-ASU e.V.”.

 

 

Farbe_2335The author, born in 1977, trained as a banker. From 1999 to 2001, she worked as a management assistant at a mortgage bank. Since 2002, Nadine Boehme has been a partner and an authorized representative of ATG Sicherheits­ge­sell­­schaft mbH. In 2008, she joined the “Ver­­band deutscher Unter­neh­me­rinnen e.V.” and she is a member of the board of its Southern Bavarian branch.