An article on academic research from Michigan State University says the security guard industry is “plagued by inadequate training and standards”, despite doubling in size to 1.1 million guards since 1980 and outnumbering police officers.
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Formal training of the nation’s one million-plus private security officers is widely neglected, a surprising finding when contrasted with other private occupations such as paramedics, childcare workers, and even cosmetologists, said Mahesh Nalla, lead investigator and MSU professor of criminal justice.
The research also states that security guards say they’re unprepared to handle problematic people and physical altercations and to protect themselves. It strongly endorses the need for systematic and standardized training in the $7 billion-a-year industry.
The study found there has been no dramatic increase in the stringency of industry regulations since 1982. In many states, there is a lack of any training standards for security guards, leaving some to learn on the job without formal training beforehand. Some states do not require any minimum education or even a criminal background check for guards.
Nalla noted security is a relatively low-paying industry with high turnover, which can make it difficult to recruit qualified guards, especially for small security companies. He added that many other regions around the world, including Australia and Europe, have stricter standards and accountability for their private security industry.