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Premises Security Expert: There are no Industry Standards In Security

What are the industry or National standards in the field of security? There are none.

When you consider the types of security involved in the below environments (and thousands more) there are too many variables to put forth a body of work labeled the “National Standards for “security”. The same is true when the question is asked: Where can I find Industry Standards for the field of security. By the way, what industries, specific buildings, specific personnel or physical location should have a code of industry standards? Nuclear Plant versus a day care center. Airport versus a convenience store. Standards are legislated terms by which a specific company or trade must operate. To have standards, there must be regulations that can be audited for compliance by a regulatory agency. A building code is a standard but even those are adapted to fit specific needs, such as hurricanes in Florida. Security, for all intents and purposes, has no regulation unless a specific County, State, Municipal creates those.

A common vision of “security” contains security cameras. If a standard is adopted for cameras, every company must adhere to those standards. How would any industry determine the type, number, type of lens, type of recording device and the requisite location? It just doesn’t/can’t happen

What is the Standard of Care in the Security Industry? While not a legal opinion, the Standard of Care is called Reasonable Care and it’s not even brought into focus until a law suit is filed. Property owners must have processes in place to determine the level of RISK threatening a company, a single building or people. Reasonable care is a methodology: what would an average individual do (about security) given the known incidence of criminal history (violent crime) and the status of the current security plan? No plan? That will be problematic in litigation. I’m frequently asked: How much “security” is enough? That requires policies/procedures and training to understand what is occurring. This is not only true for the property itself, but in most jurisdictions, it includes the threat of violent crime in the nearby area.

What publications are often cited as containing industry standards? ASIS International provides many publications that appear to be “standards” but remember ASIS has no role in determining the applicability for any industry. In fact, the inside cover of all state the contents are “Guidelines”. ASIS International is an excellent organization but they do not create industry standards. Any publication, article, speech or presentation that describes Industry Standards should be further reviewed.

As an expert witness in security, the types of scenarios that cause death or permanent injury are wide but the ultimate question and opinion for me is whether the owner exercised reasonable care before the incident. Unfortunately, most defendant companies have done nothing to even educate themselves on risk. The below industries are typical of those for which I am retained. CV here.

  • Nightclubs
  • Hotels
  • Shopping Centers
  • Security Guard
  • Concert Venues
  • Convenience Stores
  • Restaurants/Fast Food
  • Apartments
  • 24-Hour Operations

What measures are taken by your company to formulate a risk assessment and security plan? The “Industry Standards” are established through company policy and procedure…not a library book.