Even though your contract says that you are not responsible for communicating latent danger and areas of security concern to your client it is a good idea to do so at least once a quarter. At a minimum you want to conduct a physical threat assessment at the very beginning of the contract. I know many professionals believe you start with writing post orders, however I believe you cant write effective post orders until you know what the risk factors for a location are. Once your report is complete, share it with the client via email. Be sure you retain copy of the delivery and read receipt. This is where you put a lot of the liability back on to the client and insulate your company.
A Physical Threat Assessment should cover the following topics. there are many topics you can include in such an analysis. The below list is a bare minimum list. Ultimately you will include topics that conform to the risk associated with the location you are protecting. Apartments will have different risk considerations than a chemical plant.
- Analysis of all ingress and egress points. Spend time documenting illegal areas of access such as short cuts to stores and bus stops.
- A thorough analysis of lighting throughout the property and just outside of the perimeter. You want to include areas off property that could be considered high risk areas for pedestrians. In other words analyze the approaches to the property as well.
- Use a website like CrimeMapping.com or visit the records department of the local police precinct to compile a list of all of the crime in a five mile radius from the property. The analysis should provide a break down of the type of crime and the volume of each as a part of total crime, the time of day crime tends to happen, seasonal differences year over year if possible and a breakdown of what occurred on the property in detail.
- Analyze the resident or tenant profile. For instance is the location for service an apartment community with Section 8 and Hud Vouchers? What type of business does the business park lease to? Knowing the type of people that are drawn to the location you are being retained to provide security services for is critical. Add an analysis of the risks associated with this as well.
- Once you have highlighted the risks you need to provide a through risk mitigation plan for the client. This ranges from added fencing to officer count and scheduled coverage. The recommendations in this section should not be tempered to meet a budget. Make the recommendations that you feel need to be in place. Often this will be beyond the budget of your client. You may even accept a contract that provides far less than this but you want to make it the clients decision and not yours. You will be asked why the service hours and service parameters were set the way they were during a lawsuit. You want to be able to point to your Threat Assessment and say it was the client who decided what the security service should look like.
- You want to keep in mind that crime can come from employees of your client as well as your own officers. Collusion between maintenance and security officers does occur. You should include a plan on how you intend to monitor for this.
Once this analysis is completed and you have discussed it with your client you should turn it into a course complete with a test to give to your officers that work on the property. In addition you are now have all of the information your need to write a comprehensive set of post orders. Keep in mind that post orders are living documents. This means you need to review them regularly and make adjustments where needed. Once your post orders are written it is critical that you develop a test to give to your officers quarterly. When you go to court you must prove that your officers had knowledge of risks presented in the Physical Threat Assessment as well as proof that your officers knew how to prevent and how to respond to potential risks. Where security providers lose big is when they cannot provide documentation of officer qualifications and knowledge. The best way to track and manage this is to use a guard tour management or workforce management software that has a university module. Instead of keeping a paper copy and hope officers read it, a well designed software can provide access to the post orders over an App and it will integrate policies and procedures into the officers patrol. This integration of post orders and risk mitigation strategies into an officers patrol program is invaluable to both you and your client.
Tie your post orders to your contract by sharing an interpreted understanding of contract deliverables. For instance, if your contract calls for your officers to lockup a building enter this into your guard tour / workforce management software as a task that is tracked and sends reminders to the officer. Make sure it is included in the post orders as well. Include critical risk factors along with what an officer can do to reducer risk through patrol actions in the post orders. Leverage the checkpoint system offered by a well designed gusrd tour or workforce management software such as PerfromusTrack.
The key to successfully limiting your lawsuit risk and to lessen the risk of physical harm to your officers is by communicating the risks. Document as much as you can as often as you can. When entering into a lawsuit such documentation is invaluable. Being able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your officer covered 100% of a location on the day of an incident and that you officer was actively conducting security related tasks is much more defensible. Not having this data is not an option in today’s litigious society. Ignorance of a situation or action is not a viable defense and it will end in a large settlement being proportioned to your security company.