Security Post Orders

What is a Security Post Order?

Post Orders are based on standard operating procedures (SOPs), which should be site specific. By specifying organizational expectations, SOPs help managers determine post requirements.

Post orders do the following:

  • Express the policies of the protected enterprise.
  • Summarize required officer duties.
  • Avoid the problems of word-of-mouth instructions.
  • Provide a basis for site-specific training.

Post orders are important in serious incidents that may call into question the integrity, competence, or capacity of an officer. [1]

In essence, post orders are critical, and they are a must for the organization, the officers, and the business/property owners. That said, they are also often overlooked by a business or their security provider, whether it be proprietary or contract security.

The writing and publishing of Post Orders is one of those things that some security managers fail to do or fail to keep current.  The importance of documented orders cannot be overstated. They are written documents that explicitly outline the required duties, responsibilities, and expectations of the security staff. They often define patrols, times, purpose, and outcome management. Without published post orders there is very limited accountability. In general, post orders are the written procedures for security officers assigned to a specific location or function. [2]

Often when talking to the security staff and management it is obvious that the officers use their own discretion on making rounds, and they each look for different things during those rounds.  This might explain why security staff does not provide consistent services, and in at least some cases why security rounds may not be made during a shift.

Staffing a security department is more complicated than hiring personnel; you must train them and give the staff instructions on how and when to perform their duties.  This is often where the policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and post orders come into play, and without them we cannot predict how security staff will perform.

For example, if you have an assigned main lobby post, the order will address where the officer will be stationed and how many tours of the area will be conducted per shift. They will also detail what security incidents to watch for, who to report deficiencies to, and many other factors and responsibilities. Look at it this way, the policies might say that a security officer is assigned to the E.D. and the post orders will define what it is that officer is required to do on post.

Security Management

Regardless of what type of security operation that your business employs, someone needs to be responsible for the development, training, and ongoing management of the post orders.

For example, in many cases where a business utilizes the services of a guard staffing service it is often found that the business owner was not aware of the fact that there were no post orders, and in reality, they had no idea what a post order was. They will often claim that if there needs to be post orders, their security guard staffing contractor needs to develop them. The issue here is that the security guard service management will point their fingers back at their client the business owner, and state something along the lines of, they never asked us to develop any or give us instructions on how they wanted security to perform. The point here is that there needs to be conversations early on, preferably prior to signing a security guard staffing contract, that determines who is responsible for what. To assume that the security guard service management will do anything could be costly. Remember the saying about assume, to assume anything will make an as- out of you and me.

I am not suggesting that it is the business owners’ responsibility to develop the post orders, and that the contract security company has no role in the development, training, and implementation, actually I am suggesting that both the contractor and their client have important roles in developing post orders.

The reason why businesses retain the services of a security guard contractor is because there is likely no one at the business that has any experience in security guard staffing. In essence, they (client) do not know or understand how to set up a security department/service, so they hire who they believe is an expert in the field to do so (contractor). In my opinion that would be a reasonable expectation, but not the reality.

If your business has contract security onsite, or you employ proprietary security staff, someone needs to ensure that the security officers have standard operating procedures, and relative post orders, and that the officers are trained on them. If you are having your security guard contractor perform this service, I would recommend that you have a qualified security expert review their work, because if something goes wrong and your organization is involved in civil litigation, the security experts will want to review these records and documents.

In closing, the development and implementation of SOPs and/or post orders is not complicated, and they will be a very important resource for your security and your risk management.

[1] ASIS International Protection of Assets Security Officers Operations Manual

[2] Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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