Private Security Officer Selection and Training Guideline

Today in Security: Private Security Officer Selection and Training Guideline

​ASIS International recently released the Private Security Officer (PSO) Selection and Training Guideline. The guideline focuses on three key areas of a private security officer selection and training program: development, implementation, and improvement.

Chuck Baley, CSO, Farmers Group, was involved in the guideline’s development and led a webinar on its contents. The webinar is available for free on-demand. What follows is a synopsis of part of the question and answer section of the webinar.

Can the PSO guideline give companies a competitive advantage by following the recommendations it outlines?

Baley noted that over the past 10 years he has worked on several ASIS Standards and Guidelines, including ones on workplace violence, CSO standards, and investigations. The key, he says, is to adapt the processes described in the standards and guidelines to the needs and culture of the organization. And he sees this as particularly important for the PSO guideline. There has been a positive evolution from a time when private security officers were not taken seriously to a point today where they are generally respected. Security officers' experiences and the performance of their duties are not taken for granted, and they are encouraged to proactively provide input that can be beneficial to the organization. These guidelines reflect this new positioning.

When and where would you recommend the PSO guideline be deployed?

Any organization that utilizes personal security officers will benefit from incorporating the guidelines into how they manage their guard force. The guideline will be particularly important, Baley says, for organizations that are looking into using security guards for the first time. It will give them the basic framework and guidelines they need to develop and manage that force. The guideline is also important for providers of guard services as they can ensure they are offering a professional service that meets the security sector’s needs.


From the chief security officer to a security supervisor, who in the hierarchy can benefit from the PSO guideline?

According to Baley, the guideline is applicable from the highest reaches of the security operation right down through and including the guards. At the top, the guideline can help understand the types of budget and training things the organizations needs to consider. The guideline’s sweet spot, Baley notes, is probably the guard supervisor level. This is where really where knowing and internalizing what the guideline is saying will help a supervisor ensure he or she is managing a force that is improving its effectiveness and usefulness for an organization. At the guard level, it gives them an idea of what their supervisors are looking for and how to aim high in their security career.

How do you address a private security company when they assign someone who is not physically capable of performing a site’s security requirements?

Baley says this starts with a detailed RFP for security guard services. The organization must spell out the qualifications required. It is then incumbent for the guard company to assign personnel that fulfill the contractual, legal, and regulatory requirements. If they provide someone that does not meet the requirements, then you express clearly what you need—ideally referencing where in the RFP the company missed the mark, so that a recurrence can be avoided.

Want to join in future conversations on security topics? Check out upcoming ASIS webinars here​