‘How to’ series: 1/ 1 of 3
Site security management remains the foundation of any Security system in the Field. Situation further accentuates if this function has to be performed in the trying milieu of Security prone areas. This importance in view, I shall cover this important topic in a series of three articles on how a Field Security Officer (FSO), on sites of different industries should be.
Professionalism, knowledge of the area demography, requisite liaison with the authorities and the right attitude are the precursor attributes for this important function, and hence are not being dilated upon here in much detail. Absence of any of these should rather not qualify one to be an FSO. Background check, interaction during interview/ entry test
and close monitoring during the probation period can be handy to preclude missing out on the above mentioned personality traits. Any shortcoming on these aspects should be given serious pondering with regards to retention of a Security officer under review.
Talking about the other finer aspects now, these are in relation to site leadership & other colleagues, Security personnel & Corporate Security in case of MNCs/ larger companies, and external elements including locals & contractors. There is no measure available to prioritise these importance-wise. It would always depend on the industry, situation and area of company operations. Let’s take these one by one.
Considerations would remain the same or similar may it be a single owner’s company, an MNC or other corporate entities. However, the sensitivities would differ. I shall restrict the analysis to more than small-sized or single-site companies. By and large the sensitivities would remain the same only differing in magnitude. Focal considerations are:
- Site leadership mostly would be a technical manager, usually lesser in age/ service years. A good FSO will maintain good rapport with him/her while striking a balance between sufficiently informing and unnecessarily passing the irrelevant concerns to the site leadership.
- Try and understand the company business in sufficient details. This will help you design and provide befitting Security management.
- Gaining confidence of the site leadership and the contemporary non-Security leaders on the site is very important. This emanates from formal yet frank and open interaction. Working relationship springs out from becoming a team member, sharing, caring and devoting time. Some FSOs find it difficult to mingle with different members of the site. This can be counter-productive and can lead to seclusion.
- Mutual respect remains very important. Security officer has to sometimes discuss or share sensitive matters and information, remain firm on Security protocols and still maintain working relations. This can only happen if one has confidence of all through an apt behaviour.
- FSO must take part in all formal/ informal meetings and occasions. If needed, one must keep striving to gradually become part of these. Remember, they would only keep the FSO off if no benefit is envisaged in doing otherwise.
- Informal interaction to an appropriate extent with all at the site including contractors’ staff and even those visiting the site can always be handy in gauging the overall pulse of the surroundings. Hence FSO must be accessible and confided shoulder to share.
- Some FSOs go wrong by dressing and conducting themselves differently than the bulk of site members. It creates unnecessary gap, which widens with time. In many compliant companies, use of PPEs and following different safe HSE practices and other good organisational behaviour’s dictates is rather mandatory. Remember, FSO must champion these compliances through personal conduct and remain part of the site team.
- Always seek feedback on whether the site members and leadership feel secure under the umbrella of the site security.
- Carry out regular Security drills and exercises with the site members partaking. Do consult site leadership about the right time to conduct announced and impromptu drills. Always debrief in the end.
- Keep the site leadership and members informed of the Security climate in the area. They should never be surprised on matters, which might imperil their security.
- Try and resolve their official or personal problems by reaching out and becoming available. This can only happen if they confide in the FSO.
- Help develop rapport between site leadership and corporate Security by ensuring that those visiting the site from Security department must meet the site leadership and interact regularly so that they understand the bigger picture from Security angle.
- Keep your character and credibility beyond reproach. This hold good for all segments of the organisation but is a must for the security officers and personnel.
These were some of the very basic but important aspects concerning FSOs vis-à-vis site leadership and members. We shall deal with other two aspects in the next article of this “How to” series.