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A surge in demand for manned guards – can technology help?

A surge in demand for manned guards – can technology help?
A surge in demand for manned guards – can technology help?

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has warned of a critical shortage of licensed security officers, with 62,000 new professionals required within the next year to cater to increasing demand to protect businesses, organisations and sites.

Experienced, trained security personnel are essential to thousands of companies and public sector property managers, providing an integral part of a robust security strategy, especially in times when increased living costs and a materials scarcity increase the risks of criminal activity and break-ins.

However, there may be an opportunity here to leverage the incredible advances security technology has made in the last few years to plug the gap. Technology can support existing security staff without necessarily needing to recruit, train and invest in additional workers, or to ensure that security standards are upheld even during staff shortages.

Security Tech That Can Assist Manned Guarding Teams

Undoubtedly, skilled security guards and security officers will remain the best possible defence against countless threats simply because their training allows them to make on-the-spot decisions to de-escalate tension, prevent an incident from occurring, and identify potential risks before they materialise.

But, with such huge pressure on the security industry and new demand from emerging sectors experiencing higher than previous risks, technology could be an efficient and cost-effective way to protect the safety of working security guards and act as digital backup.

Below we’ll run through a few potential security assets you might consider, either to reinforce your security guarding or to provide an added layer of protection.

Wireless Intruder Alarms

Video Verified Alarms

Motion sensors are not new, but the way they are integrated into temporary alarm systems, CCTV surveillance, and locking mechanisms has evolved considerably. Motion-sensor tech has the advantage of providing instant notifications when movement is detected in a place or at a time when it shouldn’t be.

Examples of motion sensor detection applications include:

  • Fitting video-verified alarms throughout a larger site, allowing a manned guard to respond immediately to the location where the movement has been detected.
  • Activating hi-resolution CCTV monitoring, voice commands and alarm signals when movement is spotted in an outdoor zone or outside operating hours. Note: If you’re looking for a reliable CCTV monitoring company – get in touch with Clearway today.
  • Combining motion sensors with other deterrents such as loudspeakers, lights, and alarms, so any prospective intruder is warned they are being recorded and that a security responder is en route.

Security patrols are ideal for broader sites or those with large perimeters, but an active motion sensor system can direct personnel to the right zone and prevent an attempted intrusion from proceeding.

Access Control Systems

Access control has long been the gold standard for high-risk construction sites and other industrial premises where there is a heavy flow of traffic or workers, but the site requires protection from unauthorised visitors, including vehicles.

These systems are also used in office buildings and restricted-access production or warehouse facilities, as well as in public sector buildings such as local authority offices, schools, and universities.

A professional access control system can work in various ways, but the principle is that specialised hardware scans the visitor, vehicle registration, security fob, passcode or other credentials to allow entry only to those who have been logged on a pre-approved database.

Any person or vehicle attempting to enter a building or property without approval will be prevented from entry, usually through a locking door system, entry barrier gate or vehicle bollards. Options can include:

This solution allows trained security guards to inspect anybody who has been stopped, verify their credentials or reason for visiting, and make an informed decision about whether they are a genuine visitor or a potential security risk.

AI-Enabled CCTV Monitoring

Larger properties may have multiple surveillance video feeds, and monitoring this many live footage streams 24/7 can require extensive investment in security staff.

Even highly experienced security guards may be unable to detect suspicious behaviour if they are trying to monitor several cameras across different locations simultaneously.

Intelligent CCTV uses AI programming to recognise when activity, movement or vehicles are behaving out of the ordinary, using machine learning to understand normal patterns and when activity contradicts what the CCTV would expect to see.

This technology can quickly identify movement patterns or objects out of place to allow a security guard to investigate, secure the site, or prevent a crime from being committed.


AI security cameras can:

  • Spot vehicles that have been parked for longer than usual or when a vehicle enters the site in an area where it shouldn’t.
  • Identify objects in the wrong place or missing – that might mean flagging that a tool or piece of machinery has not been returned to the correct location or recognising when an object has been left on the premises.
  • Evaluate potentially suspicious behaviour. The same person or vehicle returning to the site repeatedly or standing motionless could flag an alert, for example.

This technology provides security staff with the advance notifications they need to respond quickly to potential risks and allows a smaller team to secure and monitor a larger space.

remote cctv monitoring

Remote Alarm and CCTV Monitoring

Finally, remote monitoring can be an excellent option for businesses or organisations that may not have a security team available 24/7 but require around-the-clock surveillance, to ensure that any alarm activation or CCTV capture is dealt with quickly.

Clearway’s Alarm Receiving Centre is a facility staffed by trained responders, monitoring a vast array of alarm systems, CCTV surveillance feeds, lone worker alarms and wireless security systems.

The benefit of remote monitoring is that any alarm signal, emergency alarm or CCTV alert is picked up straight away and evaluated to determine whether there is a genuine emergency or whether the alarm is false.

Examples include video verification, where an alarm system will capture a short burst of video footage when the alarm is triggered to show the cause. This avoids sending a security responder to deal with wildlife, for instance, but ensures a real intrusion is reported to the nearest patrol team or emergency services as appropriate.

These incredible advances in technology can support existing security measures, and whilst we wait for the manned guards shortage issue to be resolved, could be the difference between a reliable, robust security strategy and a potentially costly and time/resource-consuming security incident.

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