University campuses are often huge, sprawling sites spread across multiple buildings, some of which, such as libraries or laboratories, may be open 24 hours a day.
Protecting a site as complex as a university requires a robust security package, and universities that take their security seriously will have CCTV, card key access and – most importantly – a team of highly trained a dedicated security guards.
There’s no point spending generously on high tech security equipment only to cut corners on the actual feet on the ground. Security guards are the linchpin of an effective security service.
When providing security for a large, complex site, knowledge is one of our most powerful tools, and this is gained over time.
The longer security staff stay with a particular client, the more familiar they will be with who should and should not be there, which students have a history of being antisocial, how to identify suspicious behaviour and what areas of the site pose a potential security risk.
If the security company hired to provide university security has a high turnover of guards, these guards will never have time to accumulate this vital knowledge, making them significantly less effective.
While there are many factors which might motivate a security guard to dedicate to their job, pay is the most significant. Even if a security guard enjoys the site they work on, if they need to work another job just to make ends meet, they’re unlikely to stay around and may even be too overworked to perform at their best.
With our university clients we have particularly emphasised the importance of hiring security staff who are paid a Living Wage or London Living Wage and, thankfully, we have found universities to be very receptive once we demonstrate the benefits.
It’s simple: well paid security are more dedicated, and the longer the same security guards are working at your university, the more effective they will be at keeping it safe. Students and staff will also be more likely to trust security staff they see every day, rather than new faces that appear every few months.
We know this works at Magenta, where we have an industry-leading retention rate and many clients who are enjoying the benefits of using fairly paid security guards.
Universities are in use 24/7, and security guards are a constant presence. Should a student have any issues out of hours, security guards are always available as their first port of call.
This is another reason why there should be a consistency of security staff. If students see the same faces day in, day out, they will develop a rapport with the security guards and be more likely to trust them should they have anything to report.
Security guards can also act as an extra pair of eyes and ears for the university to monitor student wellbeing. Attentive security guards can identify if a student appears stressed, upset or under the influence, enabling them to provide immediate assistance and alert the university.
As such, security guards should be well integrated with the university’s care and support infrastructure so that any issues or incidents can receive the appropriate attention and response.
Security guards should also be deeply familiar the university’s student code of conduct so that they are able to intervene should there by any breaches.
Universities are an environment where new ideas flourish, but unfortunately some political ideologies can lead to or support violent acts.
An active security presence can allow students who are at risk of radicalisation or students who are spreading radicalising materials or rhetoric to be reported to the university who can then take appropriate action.
Students should also be aware of who and where security staff are posted throughout the university and reassured that they can report suspicious behaviour through a formal process which guarantees full anonymity.
Due to the rise of violent ideologies and the serious risks that they pose, our staff are trained to identify suspicious behaviour with particular attention to radicalisation in settings where it is likely to occur.
As covered in more detail in my dedicated article on the topic, security guards are vital to providing not just security in halls of residence, but round the clock pastoral care. This is especially true in private halls of residence where universities do not have a direct presence.
“If a student has been missing seminars, if they’ve been visibly distressed or if they
simply need someone to talk to at 3am, it’s security guards who are there to provide immediate care in private halls. Without them, good students having a hard time can slip between the cracks.”
To read the full article on the benefits security guards provide to student care in halls of residence, click here.
Contact Magenta Security now to find out how we can protect your university
If you would like to talk to us about security solutions for your university, please get in touch with our award-winning customer services team now by calling 0800 772 3786 or emailing [email protected].
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