The “Law Enforcement Model” of Security

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As I discussed in my prior blog, without properly working governmental structures, especially the elements within the criminal justice system, the “Observe-and-Report” security model fails miserably. In most cases, specifically in urban areas, when Observe-and-Report becomes obsolete, the industry reframes to the most toxic of security models, the “Law Enforcement Model”.

What are the elements of the “law enforcement model” of security services? 

The Law Enforcement Model of security services is composed of three main elements:

  1. Security operations rely heavily upon the trust and respect communities hold for law enforcement;
  2. Security officers almost exclusively rely upon an “enforcement and interdiction” mindset, and;
  3. Security companies are typically managed by, and hire, persons from law enforcement backgrounds or those desiring to enter into law enforcement.

Why do the elements of the Law Enforcement Model deliver the wrong results? 

Security companies actively engaged in “law enforcement model” operations will initially deliver minimal results. First, the “law enforcement model” initially leads to a decrease in crime. This is due to the appearance of the security officers who mimic law enforcement uniform standards: duty pants, shirts and boots; ballistic vest, and enforcement tools, such as tasers, handcuffs and a firearm. This “law enforcement model” appearance scares criminals who, for business purposes, often choose the path of least resistance, which leads them to moving business operations to “less secure” locations. In the long term, this model fails, leading to minimal results. This is mainly due to the lack of trust and respect communities have for law enforcement, but the lack of long term results are resultant of the nature of mimicking law enforcement. Eventually, the criminal element will discover that the uniformed and armed presence is not law enforcement, but security. Almost predictably, this dynamic will lead to a confrontation between security forces and criminal elements.

In recent years, a cultural shift has occurred in the States, a movement away from trusting law enforcement. This shift has occurred and continues to occur, appearing as anti-police sentiment on both the political left and right. In a collateral fashion, this cultural change has diminished the image of security companies that fashion themselves after law enforcement agencies. Simply, when the public devalues the criminal justice system, this bleeds over to similar industries. Generally, this diminishment manifests as a loss of respect. In turn, these lessening levels of respect negatively impacts the ability for security guards to perform their duties. Over a protracted period of time, this malaise leads to an industry that can no longer deliver the necessary results to achieve lasting success for their respective clients. In fact, in many cases, the lack of mutual respect within society inevitably contributes to an increase in incidents where force is used rather than de-escalatory techniques. 

Again, security companies that embrace a “law enforcement model” will almost certainly default to more aggressive tactics as they embrace a police ethos of having a “duty to act”. Overtime, this aggressive enforcement model will most likely lead to the continued loss of community relationships, which in turn works against the overall movement toward community transformation–the only truly effective form of securing a neighborhood.

Just as the “observe and report” security model fails to deliver results due to the lack of emergency services and an inept criminal justice system, so too the “law enforcement model” of security misses the mark, failing to deliver results, while at the same time, facilitating the erosion of the community in the places they are paid to protect. So, if “observe and report” and “the law enforcement” models of security fail to deliver the desired results, how then should a security company go about protecting persons and property? Check out my next blog to find out more!

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