De-escalation Skills Vital in Security Work

3 min read
de-escalation skills

Conflicts and brazen antisocial behaviour are on the rise, which is why all of our frontline security professionals are trained to be effective communicators and have strong conflict de-escalation skills. These vital skills help keep the public, our clients – and the aggressors themselves – safe.

The public-facing nature of their jobs means security guards often encounter situations that can quickly escalate without skilled and sensitive intervention.

Typical scenarios include dealing with intoxicated people at public transport terminals or moving vagrants along. Or it could involve dealing with someone who was upset about something in their lives and got angry over a minor incident.

It may come as a surprise to learn that security guards are essentially a professional observer. This is because they can add the most value by quickly assessing a situation and intervening before it escalates.

This involves standing back, looking at what’s going on and identifying things that don’t seem right for the situation, such as excessively nervous behaviour in a bank or aggressive body language in a public space. That’s not always as simple as it sounds given that, for example, a person in a bank might be nervous because they’re about to apply for a loan and not because they’re up to no good. And that’s where a guard’s situational awareness skills makes the difference between necessary – and unnecessary – intervention.

All Armourguard frontline people have de-escalation skills training

Armourguard’s security guards and other frontline security professionals all receive de-escalation and conflict resolution skills training. Importantly, they also are given refreshers to keep their skills strong.

The first step is when they receive their security guard certification training and unit standards, which includes situational awareness and conflict de-escalation. However, Armourguard provides additional ongoing training on situational awareness and de-escalation for all of our security guards and frontline people. Even more training is given to those in high-risk areas such as Auckland and other NZ cities.

Our frontline security people are all trained to use appropriate parts of the internationally recognised tactical options framework, which is the same model used by NZ Police. However, they also know when to step back and contact Police to deal with the situation.

Top de-escalation skills tips

Having a security guard on site is by far the best deterrent for antisocial behaviour and crime because their presence will prevent most problems. But if you do find yourself confronted with an aggressive or angry person then here are some security pro tips for de-escalating the situation and keeping yourself and others safe.

Create distance: Put space between yourself and the aggressor. That space gives you more time to think and also helps keep you safer.

Let them talk: Angry people want to say what’s on their mind so let them have their say.

Truly listen to what they are saying: This is very important because aggressive behaviour often arises when someone feels they are not being heard.

Identify the issue and reflect the emotion: Calmly acknowledge how they are feeling, for example: “I can see you are really angry about that.” That is often enough for the person to start calming down.

Keep them talking: Ask them open questions about what’s going on because they are likely to calm down even more if they can discuss what is making them upset. An open question is one that requires a full answer, rather than a ‘yes/no answer’.  For example: “What happened?” rather than “Were they rude to you?”.

Very important! If the person is violent and/or armed with any kind of weapon then your first priority is to keep yourself safe by maintaining distance from them, looking for an exit point and removing yourself from the situation.  Do not try and intervene. Instead call 111.

As the saying goes: Prevention is the best cure. That’s why the best approach is to take steps to prevent aggressive behaviour from happening in the first place, and leave dealing with angry and antisocial people to the professionals.

Do you need a skilled security presence at your business? Contact us and we can help!

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