At present, security officers and security guards are assigned more duties than before, that it has become a job that requires more than just standing security guard at an entrance to a building and watching for restricted entry. It has expanded to include various other tasks such as keeping watch on fire, dangerous chemical substances and leakages, heating and cooling, theft and CCTV. In addition, a security guard or security officer is also trained to do patrols in dangerous areas, offer customer support, control access to a property, and remain observant.
There is a big difference between the two terms security officer and security guard. It is mainly based on the roles and positions and other factors. However, people often mistake the two terms and call a security officer a guard and vice versa.
One base on which these two roles are differentiated is the weapons that each of them uses. It is a bit illogical how some governments and licensing bodies group them based on their weapons — calling someone a security officer because he is armed and someone a security guard when he is not, is a wrong notion. Although a security officer and a security guard have the same objective at work, there are some differences in these two roles.
Who is a security officer?
A security officer is someone who manages a group of security guards. They are responsible for giving orders and overseeing the operations of the guards. In addition, they can train security guards because they have more experience and skills. Usually, many security companies hire former military or former police officers as security officers. Therefore, they have the necessary expertise to train security guards.
What are the responsibilities of a security officer?
The various duties that should be performed by a security officer include:
- Training security guards.
- Supervising and observing the operations of a group of security guards.
- Issuing instructions and orders
- Planning work schedules for security guards.
Who is a security guard?
A security guard is lower in rank and usually works under a security officer. They work together with the security company in order to make sure that operations are carried out efficiently and effectively. It is not required for them to undergo strict training, but it mainly depends on the security company that hires them.
What are the duties of a security guard?
Duties performed by a security guard are as follows :
- Standing guard at the entrances to premises, for example, at homes or at supermarkets.
- Reporting any suspicious activity to a security officer or to the owners of the premises.
- Guiding and providing information to visitors and customers in places such as supermarkets, museums, stores, outdoor events and other similar public or private events.
Possible similarities of their duties
Although a security officer and a security guard perform duties that are different from each other, some duties are common to both of them. A few such duties are as follows:
Ensuring that the security breach is prevented: Both a security officer and security guard play a vital defensive role to secure property and maintain public security.
Observing and reporting: Whenever a threat to security occurs, both officers are responsible for reporting it to the next authority or relevant person.
Incident response: Just in case an incident occurs, a security guard cannot wait until the security officer comes and clears it. He must be able to stay alert, react to incidents, get into action instantly to either control the situation or to call for help if it gets out of control.
The difference between a security officer and security guard
A security officer’s main duties are to supervise a group of security guards, train and assign duties to them. It is not needed for a security officer to be positioned at a particular premise to give their security services. They can give commands remotely to the security guards under them and monitor their activities. However, a security guard has to be at the premises that they are guarding. For example, at the entrance to a market, a banking hall or home can be mentioned. A guard is required to offer security and assistance for various properties and needs, as well.
A security guard does not require to be trained in intensive security drills, whereas a security officer is required to have undergone thorough training. To be a security guard, one only needs to have basic skills and pass the entry-level and IQ tests. Their training includes basic skills such as incident response, controlling crowds and foiling possible incidents. Security officers are selected from among those who have served in the security and disciplined forces before. They are most likely to be ex-military or ex-police personnel.
- Reporting hierarchy
A security guard mostly works under a security officer. Therefore, they are required to report to the officer for the assigning of duties and for monitoring. Most of the time, a security officer can be the only supervisor and will only have to report to the contracting firm.
The duties assigned to a security officer are higher in amount when compared with a guard. A security officer has to move from one place to the other according to the way that they have positioned the guards under them, while a guard is posted at one place. Therefore, a security officer is paid slightly higher than a security guard. A security guard will be given basic pay.
Summary of security officer vs security guard
It may look like both a security officer and a security guard performs the same tasks. However, there are many differences between these two jobs. Usually, many people will find it difficult to differentiate between them and grade them. Just like the way that their titles are varied, so are they. They are different from each other in various aspects such as their duties, levels of training, duty stations and other factors.