Professionalism Under Fire

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A recent incident caught on a mobile phone camera showed a foul mouthed bully on a train in Queensland using racial taunts and slurs in an attempt to provoke a security officer to violence.

Despite the incredibly insulting and confronting nature of the bully’s taunts, the security officer in question demonstrated the utmost professionalism and restraint, remaining calm and even protecting his protagonist from other people on the train who might otherwise have assaulted the bully.

This incident highlights a number of important points, not the least of which is the professionalism of those who work in the private security sector in Australia.

There is a very common misconception that all security guards are thugs. I think these two officers from Securecorp (clearly identifiable in the video so it is not a plug) have done an amazing job of dispelling that myth. This incident could very easily have gone extremely badly for the industry. The aggressor was clearly intent on provoking the security officer with a view to either having his friend record the officer using force or, having a video record of his assault on the officer which he could later use to for his own entertainment. Had either event transpired, it is inevitable that the public reaction to the incident would have been vastly different, regardless of the degree of provocation. The video would have instead been used as evidence to further the belief that all security personnel are poorly trained thugs who are quick to anger and act in a violent manner. Thankfully, the officer in question managed to demonstrate all the qualities that make an exceptional security officer and should, in my opinion, be lauded and celebrated for exemplary self-control.

This incident has also highlighted a second, equally important point. With the proliferation of mobile phone cameras in modern society, we are all under scrutiny, 24/7- 365. As security professionals, this matters much more than it would for the average member of the public as those in the security industry, regardless of the level at which one operates, be it a control room operator, security officer or security manager/consultant, are held to a higher standard of accountability.

While the Oxford dictionary defines integrity as “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” one might more generally cite integrity as being the best you can be, even when no one is watching. That said, in today’s constantly connected world, can one ever really assume that they are not being watched? Not in my opinion. I don’t believe anyone in the security industry should ever believe he or she is not being watched and to that end, everyone in security should take their lead from the security officer in the video and be the best they can.

As an industry, security professionals are under constant scrutiny and it is up to each and every single person to be the best they can be at all times. What do you think, could you have shown the same level of self control and restraint as the officer in the video?

You can see the incident at http://youtu.be/q4vGYEihBZs. BE WARNED! This video contains extreme language, racist comments and is very confronting to watch.