Reshaping an Image
The practice of consulting came of age in 1984 through the International Association of Professional Security Consultants. The organization defined consulting, set certain standards and developed a professional code of ethics. The principles of a speech I delivered at that organization’s first meeting on Feb. 11, 1985 in Clearwater Beach, Fla., still apply.
From my minutes of that meeting: “In attendance were nine practicing consultants. They developed a constitution and came up with a name: the American Academy of Protection Consultants. They had expectations, but for whatever reasons, the Academy didn’t fly. The time just wasn’t right. But the time now is right. We are re-gathered here, and we, too, have expectations, and we are already airborne. And we will grow. As the security industry continues in maturation and sophistication, so will the needs grow for professional guidance and counseling.”
Looking forwardLet me take a look down the road, to focus on two long-range goals and one new opportunity.
The first goal is to reshape the image and reputation of the security consultant. We must take positive steps to legitimize that term and discourage abuse of that title by anybody who merely wants to call himself or herself a security consultant without earning the title.
The second goal is to create a better understanding among ourselves as to our real role as consultants. One of our problems, believe it or not, is that very title of security consultant. Why? Too much emphasis is placed on the word security.
It should go without saying that we have expertise in the security field. But our orientation should be as professional consultants; we should be consultants first and security experts second. How many have hung out their security consultant’s shingle, only to fail? Many failures could be attributed to a lack of consulting skills, not a deficiency in security knowledge.
A new opportunity exists in forensic consulting, which includes expert eyewitness testimony. There’s a growing demand for security experts to assess the adequacy or inadequacy of security in a given setting and subsequently provide testimonial support for that assessment. No one other than a qualified expert is permitted the privilege of expressing an opinion in our judicial system.
And so, the time for the security consultant finally has come. We are few, but we are of good quality and we follow the highest standards. To live up to our worthy goals and new opportunities, we must at all times be responsible professionals.
Consultants and their organizations such as the International Association of Professional Security Consultants follow certain best practices. One example: the Security Survey the IAPSC encourages in typical premises security cases. With reasonable variations, the survey has three parts – personnel, program and equipment.
In the personnel section, information should be gathered on security officer actions, staffing levels, post orders, duty hours, equipment provided, tours, evaluations, training and hiring practices.
In the program section, solid forensic methodology should review security policies and procedures, risks assessments prior to the incident, manuals and training materials as well as reviewing of officer logs, job descriptions, incident reports and appropriate internal correspondence.
In the equipment section, a review of building design and site plans is helpful. An inspection of security devices related to the incident and structural security features are importance as well as the need to determine the position, function and maintenance status of the relevant security equipment and features.
The bottom line is a report that stresses foreseeability, preventability and causation.