Those working in a security role are there to protect visitors, customers and staff or for the secure handling and transportation of cash and valuables. This means they’re automatically in an authoritative and high-risk position and should be dressed and protected accordingly.
Enforcing a security uniform policy will make these members of staff, and by extension, the company they work for, appear more professional and will ensure they are instantly recognisable in any difficult situation that should arise. This is simultaneously reassuring for anyone needing their help and a deterrent for those who were planning to commit a crime.
As well as standard security uniform, they should also be provided with the appropriate PPE for their role, so they are prepared for every compromising scenario or hazard they may face at work.
We have put together this guide on how to choose the right workwear and PPE for different security roles, but first let’s take a closer look at the importance of security uniform, both for the wearer and those around them.
What is the impact of an effective security uniform policy?
Having a clear security uniform policy in place ensures that your staff are consistently smart, visible, protected and looking professional. This, in turn, will reflect back on your company, showing that you take the safety of your customers, visitors and staff very seriously and also the safety of the security officers themselves.
Effective security uniform is also preventative of trouble and commands respect. When a would-be criminal sees a security officer in their uniform it is a strong deterrent for crime, whereas an officer not in uniform is unlikely to have the same effect. This is because uniform signifies formal training, authority, professionalism and a coordinated approach to security. Having all security staff in the same recognisable uniform sends a clear signal that potential criminals are being watched, and firm action will be taken if required.
Administering the same uniform across the security staff force ensures that they maintain a strong visual presence and don’t blend in with the crowd. This makes them immediately identifiable for those looking for help, setting them apart from the general population. In an emergency, you don’t want to spend long determining who the best person to approach is, and security uniforms ensure this can be done quickly.
The majority of people, if they’re lucky, won’t have to interact too much with security guards. However, having a bold, consistent presence gives those around that all-important peace of mind, that if trouble were to arise there is a team of well presented, prepared, organised professionals ready to address the situation.
What effect will it have on the security staff themselves?
Perhaps most importantly, uniform, protective clothing and PPE have a crucial impact on the attitude and behaviour of the security officers who are wearing it.
Having a smart, authoritative uniform gives them a sense of pride; in their own appearance, in their ability to carry out their duties to a high standard, and in their affiliation with the company who employs them.
The uniform identifies them as part of a team of experienced and trained professionals, and this has an important psychological effect on their performance. Uniform has been proven to psychologically increase the vigilance of security guards and give them more confidence to handle potentially dangerous situations.
In their guide to Motivation Within the Security Industry, CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure) discusses how “The image of the security guard force and the quality of its interactions with the public have a significant impact on security officers’ perceptions of their own role and their motivation to perform to a high standard.” They point out the importance of image in the security industry, and that how the security officers feel about their appearance can impact their confidence at work.
In the worst case scenario, security staff may need to intervene in physical fights, detain someone while the police are called, or be approached by violent members of the public. This means that protective gear should be supplied as part of their uniform, which may include body armour and PPE. Without adequate protection, there is a risk to both their safety and the safety of anyone they may have been tasked with protecting. Equipment should be chosen and trialled carefully, so you ensure that comfort and agility are not compromised.
Choosing the right security PPE and uniform
Before any workwear or PPE is chosen for your security staff, you need to consider the specific role of the wearer and the risks they may encounter. Security officers on patrol outdoors will have different requirements to those working indoors, such as retail security guards, for example. Those working in secure cash and coin centres will not be exposed to the same high risks as those transporting cash between locations.
Think carefully about the hazards present and the comfort of the staff member. You should then be equipped to select fit-for-purpose workwear based on the work they do and the visual presence they need to provide.
Recommendations for manned guarding
The standard security uniform:
Security guards will most likely require the ‘standard’ pieces of a security uniform. These make up the visual appearance that the public expects to see, and they strongly represent security officers as an authority. Firstly, you can select short or long sleeve pilot shirts, which feature two chest pockets and epaulettes. If more warmth is required you can add a Nato jumper which also features fitted epaulettes as well as shoulder and elbow patches.
If you want to include a tie as part of the uniform, always provide clip-on security ties as they feature a clip-on attachment that prevents it being used to strangle the wearer in the event of an attack. Attachable epaulettes can also be purchased and branded with a logo, ID number or ‘SECURITY’. These work perfectly for adding to pilot shirts and nato jumpers.
Indoor retail security staff look smarter if they are wearing formal office-style trousers, while those working outdoors or needing more rugged workwear may prefer hard-wearing, functional cargo trousers.
For security officers working outdoors near traffic, moving vehicles or at night, visibility is important. In these cases, a reflective or full high visibility jacket may be necessary, such as a reflective waterproof stormcoat or hi-vis bomber jacket.
In some cases, the wearer will need to be less conspicuous or to create a more ‘official look’, while staying protected from the elements. For this, we recommend a black or navy waterproof bomber jacket.
Staff in a security role commonly spend a lot of time on their feet, which makes choosing quality, comfortable footwear an important part of the uniform.
For outdoor wear, in particular, we recommend safety boots that are lightweight for ease of movement and sturdy yet highly comfortable. The Magnum Precision Sitemaster Safety Boot is lightweight, durable and features the Magnum Comfort Plus insole. Alternatively, there is the V12 Thunder IGS Waterproof Safety Boot, which has an innovative IGS rubber sole unit designed for superb grip and increased cushioning.
For indoor security guards, you may opt for something a little less heavy duty, such as lightweight composite safety shoes like the Lightyear Gibson Shoe. For maximum agility, safety trainers are often the best option.
Look out for footwear that has been tested to EN ISO 20345:2011 Personal Protective Equipment - Safety Footwear as this is the international standard that all ‘safety footwear’ is tested to. Every shoe tested to EN ISO 20345 will be given a set of safety ratings, which will inform you of the key safety properties it features. This will help you make an informed decision about whether it fits the needs of the individual in question.
Security uniform for winter:
For the colder months of the year, security personnel may require thermal hats and gloves. Fingerless thermal gloves are a great option as they provide a combination of warmth and dexterity, and if you require a heavier duty glove with good grip there’s the Part Finger Tradesman Gloves.
Depending on the risks in their role, some security guards may need to be provided with a Body Armour Carrier Vest that is worn in conjunction with Body Armour Plates to create a ballistic bullet and stab proof vest.
Recommendations for cash & coin security staff
Protective workwear is paramount for cash and valuables in transit (CVIT / CIT) staff, particularly for the short time they are required to walk from the vehicle to the client destination. These members of staff must be provided with a protective security helmet with face protection to protect their head, face and neck from injury in the event of an attack.
Body armour should also be provided, which incorporates stab and bullet proof plates worn inside an overt armour carrier. These carriers don’t need to look like a typical vest; for example, they can be built into a specially-designed sleeved softshell jacket to avoid unnecessary extra layers.
As with manned guarding roles, CVIT staff should be provided with durable, lightweight and comfortable safety boots. For vault staff working in cash and coin handling centres, metal-free safety footwear like the V12 Oxen Derby Shoe is advised in order to avoid issues passing through metal detectors.
Cash and coin security staff would also benefit from wearing pocketless trousers and other garments without pockets to prevent theft.
Security uniform branding
Branding security uniform with an embroidered or printed logo will contribute to staff feeling like part of a valued team, but will also enable the public to associate the feeling of respect with your company. Including the officer’s ID badge will make them appear more approachable to those looking for assistance and will also ensure they are easily identified no matter the circumstance.
The presence of a badge or embroidery with the word ‘SECURITY’ is a nationally recognised and trusted symbol, allowing staff to appear professional and authoritative. If you would like guidance on branding security uniforms, get in touch with our team on 020 8381 1811.