Creating workplace security strategies for at-risk staff
The fundamental principle of any security strategy is that it should be consistent and repeatable,
irrespective of which property it is deployed to or the people involved.
This is a particularly important consideration for businesses when planning to establish numerous premises.
With consistency comes familiarity which ensures that staff will understand the security program, irrespective of which property they are working in.
We undertook a broad-ranging review of security practices at an organisation offering assistance to domestic violence victims. The purpose was to:
- Advise on CCTV policy, particularly regarding passive and active monitoring, and ensuring the business complies with legislation
- Contribute to a CCTV policy that will guide decision-making about various issues such as roles and responsibilities of staff and location of display monitors.
- Advise on the incident response system design, including visual and audio alerts when alarms are activated, location of fixed duress alarms and use of portable duress alarms, and automatic door locking when alarms are activated.
- Offer advice on the development of Armed Offender protocols
- Optimise the role of the security officer, with advice relating to the role, and clarify responsibilities and expectations on a day-to-day basis as well as during incident response
- Advise on procedures for regular security reviews.
Our recommendations ranged from re-organising workspaces and stairwell access to maximise staff safety, to relocating the main CCTV monitor and implementing minimum standards for staff training and inductions related to security. Here are just some of them:
CCTV will play a more important role in this organisation because it needs to provide staff members with increased situational awareness.
We recommended the CCTV system be relocated from an upstairs communications room where
nobody has visibility of it to a position adjacent to the duress panel on the ground floor.
We suggested there was merit in having the security officer watching a CCTV monitor at their workspace which would provide views of outside the property and of the secure waiting area.
In addition, all CCTV cameras should be named and numbered correctly to quickly identify a
location if a security incident is occurring.
The configuration of workspaces often play a vital role in ensuring the personal safety of staff.
In this case, it was important to ensure the receptionist was able to escape to a point of egress and that the desk maintains a level of segregation between the staff member and client at all times.
Our recommendations also included the creation of minimum guidelines for future secure waiting and counselling spaces – including clear sight lines. As part of this, we suggested consideration should be given to how male clients can be counselled in areas that are segregated from where women and children are counselled.
The review also encompassed a duress system, together with training in its protocols as well as testing its response plan, lockdown procedures, and revised work practices for security personnel.
With a range of new measures designed to shore up security in the rest of the building, this allowed exclusive relocation of security staff to the ground floor reception area – as one of the highest areas of risk.
As the organisation works in a dynamic environment that could change as recognition of the service grows, we recommended tracking of all incidents and evaluating them to ensure that security is functioning as intended at all times.