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Types of Security Staffing in Hotels

While developing a security program, a hotel or motel will need to consider whether to hire staff as a full time person or to contract with some security agencies or arrange for part-time protection with local off-duty police personal etc.

Because of a facility's size and organisational structure, it may be appropriate to assign a security response to a member of the management staff such as a Resident manager or Human resource director.

If management decides the property needs a security department, it must determine whether the department should be a proprietary unit with in-house staff functions or a security program run through a reputable, licensed contract security company.

All decisions concerning security deserve careful thought and should be discussed with legal counsel. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Contract Security:

The proponents of contract security organisations argue that such organisations can provide sophisticated services at a considerable saving. In addition, they assert that a reputable contract security company will provide thoroughly screened, tested and trained personal. 

An In-house security personal may become too familiar and friendly with the other employees. If a guard catches a friend stealing he or she might hesitate to report that friend. Some people believe that this situation is likely to occur if the security personal are supplied by an outside agency.

In Selecting a security company make sure that extensive guard training geared specifically to each facility is provided. Review contracts and insurance requirements with legal counsel. Be clear and specific regarding the services to be provided by the contract organisation. Determine whether the security service can provide a sufficient number of personnel on short notice in case of large scale emergency.

Carefully construct the contract so there will be no misunderstanding as to the supervision of the contract security organization while the contract officers; supervision should be provided by the contract security organization while the contract staff is on the premises. The management of the lodging facility should carefully establish exactly what the contract employees is to do under most conceivable circumstances.

In-House Security:

In house security department point out a number of advantages to this system. They emphasize the fact that a hotel or motel has greater control over security officers or staff members without intermediate outside supervision. They also argue that training for in-house security staff members can be much more directly related to the lodging industry. They believe that the peculiarities and special needs of the industry are more effectively addressed by those within the industry than by those in a contractual relationship with the industry.

The quality of personnel is under the direct control of the hotel is a proprietary system, rather than under the control of the contract security company and that the director and staff of an in-house department are more effectively integrated with the other departments and personnel of the property.

Finally, they point out that a greater sense of loyalty may be developed among an in-house staff since career paths can be established that move security personnel into other roles in the organisation.

Off-Duty Police:

Some properties use off-duty police officers for their security staff. There are certain benefits associated with this practice. Such officers have superior training in reacting to and dealing with crimes and other emergencies, they understand the law, they are used to dealing with people they may be better able to identify known criminals, they are immediately recognized as authorities, and they often do in fact have more authority than ordinary citizens.

In addition, police liaison and response may be enhanced. However, there may be potential below drawbacks as well.

1) Police officers may be oriented more toward apprehension functions than toward prevention.

2) Some jurisdictions require off-duty officers to be armed and this may not be desirable.

3)  Officers may be working at the hotel following a full-duty police shift and the fatigue factor must be considered.

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Authored and managed by Augustine, a hotelier with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He has a 3-year diploma with 'honors' from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and a Bachelor of Computer Application - BCA Degree.