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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

10/01/2013

Four Considerations for Security Contracts

Ensure your security services match your expectations and needs

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Is your security services contract the right fit? Review the scope of work and terms of agreement on an annual basis.

3) Determine Terms and Conditions
Once you select your contract provider, you need to iron out the scope of work, Kitteringham explains. This includes a host of details involving duration of the contract, liability, insurance, payment, uniforms, and equipment.

You will also decide what your security officers are expected to do. Duties that may be stipulated in your service package include:

  • Provide visitor management
  • Monitor surveillance cameras
  • Conduct patrols
  • Oversee access control
  • Respond to alarms
  • Report suspicious activity

The contract will also specify how many posts are assigned to your property, hours of coverage, use of force policies, and rate structures for wages.

As you finalize your contract, ensure that your expectations are accurately documented. Owners often make assumptions about the extent of their coverage, but if it isn’t specified in the contract, the security company isn’t bound to deliver it.

Furthermore, contract security does not replace the need for police intervention, cautions Kitteringham. Security personnel should not be expected to handle aggravated or potentially dangerous situations, such as removing protesters from a property or subduing an angry employee.

You should also specify the role of security officers in other emergencies, such as medical situations, slips and falls, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, power outages, and fire. Security personnel may be the first responders on the scene, notes Coleman, so establish protocol for them to follow.

4) Review Often
Even if you are satisfied with your provider, make sure your security contract comes under scrutiny routinely. Contracts commonly have a length of three years, says Coleman, and should be reviewed at least biannually.

Any changes to your risk profile should also prompt a review, including after any major incident, adds Kitteringham.

You should also look for ways to calculate return on investment to justify the continued expense. For example, compare the number of incidences before and after adding contract security, Kitteringham recommends. You can also document tenant satisfaction with officers based on informal feedback or surveys.

“If you look at the cost of providing security vs. risk mitigation, you may never come to the appropriate juncture,” stresses Coleman. “If you implement a security program that provides a safe and secure environment, however, risk mitigation should follow suit in a natural progression.”

 

Jennie Morton jennie.morton@buildings.com is associate editor of BUILDINGS.


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