guard apr13_000_Benchmark_nov12 04/03/2013 16:33 Page 1
Guard Tour Systems
Man Management ystems which use a high degree of technology have some very positive benefits for those that are seeking security, safety and protection of assets and people. Where installed correctly and made up of credible and proven devices, such systems can operate around the clock, without any need for downtime. The systems are always alert, consistently in position, and do not suffer from distractions or indiscretions. Whilst it often said that an electronic system won’t have a nap the minute your back is turned, or help themselves to the office stationery, it must also be said that there is one thing that a manned presence can do which an electronic system cannot; apply reason to a situation. With a system, things are very linear. If a person is detected in an area that should be clear, then it is an alarm condition. Either there is a person there, or there isn’t, and that’s all that matters to a system. Who that person might be, why they are there, and how they got there doesn’t really change the circumstance. Where a manned element excels is precisely with regard to the application of reason. They can assess the situation, gather facts, establish the full circumstances and make an informed decision. That factor alone makes the man and machine interface so valuable.
In harmony? It has to be said that the earlier versions of today’s guard management systems existed for one main reason. Watch-clocks were introduced to stop guards and night watchmen from simply spending the night asleep at their post, or nipping off home as soon as everyone else had left the premises. The units were passive, and included a mechanism which printed an ID number embossed on a key alongside a time stamp. The keys would then be hung on chains at the extreme points of a patrol that the guard was supposed to carry out. On arrival at the checkpoints, the key was inserted into the watch-clock and turned. The imprint onto the paper disk or tape then served as evidence that the patrol had been carried out. A supervisor could then collect the media from the watch-clock, and check when the
There are a number of sites that utilise manned services in conjunction with systems-based solutions. The combination of man and machine works well with one proviso; the system must incorporate an element to ensure that the man delivers his part of the solution without the frailties of human nature getting in the way. Benchmark considers how technology can play a role.
patrols were carried out, and how long had been spent between the various points of the patrol. Whilst this ensured that the company only paid the guard if patrols were carried out as specified, it did little to assist the guard or offer protection should an incident occur. In today’s sector, initiatives such as the Private Security Industry Act, alongside better levels of training, support and on-going assessment, ensure that the manned sector has moved forwards with regards to credibility. Many of the issues that affected the reputation of manned guarding as an industry have been minimised. More importantly, passive systems have been replaced with active solutions that not only ensure that patrols are being carried out, but also afford a higher degree of protection to the on-site personnel. Indeed, some systems can assist if and when a worse-case scenario unfolds. www.benchmarkmagazine.com
Benchmark April 2013