Amid growing concerns about crime, the head of a security company has suggested that private security officers be brought as a “force multiplier” in the country’s crime-fighting effort.
Head of security of the Royal Westmoreland Homeowners’ Association Neville Springer said he is concerned that the role of private security is fully not recognized in the national law enforcement apparatus.
He also called for public attitudes towards security guards to shift towards embracing private security as national crimestoppers.
Springer was speaking to reporters at the launch of a regionally-recognised skills certification programme for guards conducted by the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU).
Springer, a former Barbados Defence Force (BDF) soldier, said that while security officers can play a vital first-responder role, it is not the practice to administer this level of training to them.
He told reporters: “… In the UK, North America and Canada, security officers are trained and certified first before they are licensed. In those parts certification is a requirement for licensing but unfortunately in Barbados this has not been the case.
“I am hoping that this will change because persons have a very dim view of security, while they have a different attitude to police and soldiers, and they see them in a more professional light.
“I see the private security sector as a force multiplier for the national security sector. It is impossible for the police force and the BDF to do it alone.”
According to Springer, these security officers would need to be trained in areas such as first aid and evidence preservation.
He told reporters: “There is a process and just like the medical profession where you have the paramedics that do a first response before going up to the secondary care system, the security system performs a similar first response function.
“The security officer is a first responder for a number of incidents, be it criminal or safety and security issues.
“They must be prepared to do the job properly otherwise when it comes to the judicial system it would be all for naught.”
But the private security boss contended that in order for any of this to take place, there must be an overhaul of how society views private security.
Springer said: “The public does not recognize the role that private security play in keeping the island safe.
“People believe that it takes nothing to be a security officer and everybody believes that they can do the job of a security officer because they only see the security officer standing at a gate or walking around a retail outlet.
“Many don’t know the other key functions that security officers are supposed to be trained to perform,” he stressed.