Helping Security Officers Improve Incident Reporting
Commissionaires is a private, not-for-profit organization that has been protecting people and property for more than 86 years. As one of Canada’s top security organizations, it employs more than 20,000 people across the country and holds the highest retention rate in the industry. Its workforce consists of a well-trained, diverse team of individuals from all walks of life, including but not limited to, former Canadian Forces and RCMP personnel.
Commissionaires BC is one of 15 independent divisions across the country, with its headquarters located in Vancouver, BC, and a regional office in Kelowna, BC. It has 1,110 employees working across the province in areas such as guarding, enforcement, and mobile patrol with a client base that stretches across the Lower Mainland and Interior.
A few years ago, Commissionaires BC began looking for innovative ways to improve its incident reporting and was introduced to Perspective by PPM, an incident management solution from Edmonton, Alberta. This system is used to document incidents, manage investigations and produce statistical reports. It creates a comprehensive, highly detailed database that can be sorted, searched and mined for a variety of data. Performance metrics and other reports can be presented in a number of ways and are easily shared between locations, departments and employees.
Perspective allows Commissionaires to analyze trends to improve their ability to manage resources, minimize impact and prevent incidents on behalf of its clients, which in turn delivers additional value through its security officer and patrol services.
“Perspective is a powerful incident management tool that helps us track events and identify trends so we can implement measures to prevent incidents from occurring. It enhances our position in the industry and makes Commissionaires an even more attractive option as a security and guarding service provider,” says Tom Houston, Client Services Manager – Interior, Commissionaires.
Commissionaires?mobile patrol guards are continuously on the move so they have laptops mounted in their vehicles which use the Perspective software. This allows its patrol guards to enter data in real time, allowing supervisors and managers to review incidents quickly and efficiently, helping them make more informed decisions and provide timely updates to their clients.
“Everything is unified within the software interface so when one of our guards enters the details of an incident into the system, that information is available across all of our divisions instantly,” Houston says. “We can also email photos and details to the customer very soon after an incident has occurred.”
The transition from conventional hand-written notes to real-time access is a proven upgrade for Commissionaires and its residential, commercial and municipal clients, but the organization is looking to push this upgrade even further by eventually exchanging laptops for mobile devices.
“We’ve tested using Perspective on iPads and smartphones; we haven’t yet invested in converting our in-car laptops to those devices but we hope to evolve in that direction in a year or so,” Houston says. “The day is certainly coming when we’ll run everything from a smartphone or tablet.”
Since implementing Perspective for its mobile units, Commissionaires has experienced a number of successful outcomes on behalf of its customers. For example, when a vehicle accident occurred at one of their Interior sites, damaging perimeter fencing, Commissionaires’ guards were able to document the incident, take photos, and send details to the client immediately. With any incident, fast response is important, and with Perspective, Commissionaires was able to provide the client and the police with information quickly and efficiently.
“Perspective has been extremely helpful when it comes to reporting incidents to police. It’s very convenient to take a photo of graffiti in a park, for example, and email it to the authorities from the field, along with the incident report,” Houston says.
Clients’ response to Perspective has been entirely positive, particularly with regard to the solution’s advanced reporting capabilities.
“Our clients really appreciate the charts and graphs we’re able to embed within reports, which is one of Perspective’s differentiating factors. With other software, that would be a do-it-yourself process that would require plugging information into an Excel sheet and building the charts and graphs from that software,” Houston says. “Our customers often tell us how much they like having that visual aspect of the report, and it’s something the software allows us to do without much effort on our part.”
Commissionaires is continually investigating what Perspective is capable of doing in order to provide even more value to its clients. One of the newer evolutions involves using Perspective to track and record lost and found items at one of its client airports.
“As you can imagine, there might be hundreds of recovered items that have been brought to the lost and found area, making it difficult to know exactly what’s there. To streamline the process, when an item is brought in, we photograph it, document the date and time and write a short description, all of which is then added to the Perspective database,” Houston says. “So now if someone comes back a month later, we can quickly search through the items using Perspective, rather than physically looking for a person’s needle in the lost and found haystack.”
PPM training, communication and willingness to listen have been a vital part of the reason Commissionaires has had so much success using Perspective, Houston says.
“Our guards are constantly using the software, so they are very familiar with its capabilities and how to use it properly. However, there are some tasks that might require a little more expertise, so we work closely with PPM to make sure our people have all the necessary training,” Houston says. “They’ve also been very open and welcome feedback, so our relationship really has been a two-way street.”