Originally published 15 Feb 2019
Updated 8 May 2020
How to Choose Security Guard Uniform
Choosing Security Guard Clothing
People 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. Uniforms also ensure staff are instantly recognisable in any difficult situation that should arise. Both factors reassure anyone needing help — and deter those who might be planning to commit a crime.
As well as standard security guard uniform, employers should provide staff with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their role. PPE prepares staff for any compromising scenario or hazard they may face at work.
We have put together a helpful 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 — for the wearer and those around them.
What Is the Impact of an Effective Security Guard Uniform Policy?
Having a clear security uniform policy in place ensures your staff are consistently smart, visible, protected and professional-looking. This, in turn, will reflect positively on your company, showing you take the safety of your customers, visitors and staff seriously.
Effective security guard clothing helps to prevent trouble and commands respect. When a would-be criminal sees a security guard in their uniform, it is a strong deterrent for crime. An officer not in uniform is unlikely to have the same effect. 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 security is watching potential criminals and will take firm action if required.
Administering the same uniform across the security staff force ensures they maintain a strong visual presence and don’t blend in with the crowd. In an emergency, people don’t want to spend a long time looking for someone who can help. Security uniforms make guards immediately identifiable, setting them apart from the general population.
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 all-important peace of mind to people nearby. Uniforms help people know that, if trouble arises, there is a team of well prepared, organised professionals ready to address the situation.
What Effect Do Security Guard Uniforms Have on Staff?
Having a smart, authoritative uniform gives officers a sense of pride — in their appearance, their ability to carry out their duties to a high standard, and in the company that employs them.
A uniform identifies them as part of a team of experienced and trained professionals — a fact that has an important psychological effect on their performance. Uniform has been proven to 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 role and their motivation to perform to a high standard.” CPNI point out the importance of image in the security industry — how 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 and detain someone while the police are called. Violent members of the public could also approach them. So protective gear should be supplied as part of their uniform. This gear may include body armour, such as a stab vest for security, and PPE. Without adequate protection, there is a risk to both security staff’s safety — and the safety of anyone they are protecting.
Equipment should be chosen and trialled carefully to ensure comfort and agility are not compromised. WISE Worksafe’s Overt Body Armour Carrier Vest is designed to be lightweight and flexible for superior comfort and agility while offering a high level of protection. Speak to your security guard uniform supplier about your requirements before committing to a purchase.
Choosing the Right Security Guard Uniform and PPE
Before choosing any workwear or PPE for your security staff, consider the specific role of the wearer and the risks they may encounter. Security guards on patrol outdoors will have different requirements than those working indoors, such as retail security guards. Those working in secure cash and coin centres don’t face 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 staff do and the visual presence they need to provide. Where possible, ask your supplier to provide security guard uniforms samples and let your team ”try before you buy”.
Recommendations for Manned Guarding
The standard security guard uniform:
Security guards will most likely require the “standard” pieces of a security uniform. These provide the visual appearance the public expects to see, and strongly represent security officers as an authority. Firstly, select security guard uniforms shirts for your staff. Choose between short sleeve or long sleeve pilot shirts, which feature two chest pockets and epaulettes. If more warmth is required, you can add a Nato jumper, which 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 an attachment that prevents them from being used to strangle the wearer during an attack. Attachable epaulettes can also be purchased and branded with a logo, ID number or “SECURITY”. These work perfectly on pilot shirts and nato jumpers.
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 storm coat 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, making choosing quality, comfortable footwear an important part of the uniform.
For outdoor wear, in particular, we recommend sturdy, lightweight safety boots that allow ease of movement and are extremely 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.
Indoor security guards 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.
Ask your security guard uniforms supplier if their footwear meets EN ISO 20345:2011 Personal Protective Equipment — Safety Footwear. This is the international standard for all “safety footwear.” Every shoe tested to EN ISO 20345 will be given a set of safety ratings, informing you of the key safety properties it features. This information will help you make an informed decision about whether the footwear 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. If you need a heavier duty glove with good grip, the Part Finger Tradesman Gloves are the ideal choice.
Depending on the risks of their role, you may need to provide some security guards with a Body Armour Carrier Vest. This vest is worn in conjunction with Body Armour Plates to create a ballistic bullet and stab vest for security.
Recommendations for Cash & Coin Security Guards
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, incorporating stab and bulletproof 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, you should provide CVIT staff 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 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 Guard Uniform Branding
Branding security guards uniform with an embroidered or printed logo will contribute to staff feeling like part of a valued team and will encourage the public to respect your company. Including the officer’s ID badge will make security guards appear more approachable to people looking for assistance. It will also ensure they are easily identified — no matter what 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.
WISE Worksafe: A Security Guard Uniform Supplier You Can Trust
WISE Worksafe has been trading for over 40 years. We are a market-leading supplier of high-quality protective clothing and personal protective equipment. Our vibrant team of experts are committed to speed, simplicity and truly personalised service. If you would like guidance on branding security uniforms, get in touch with our team on 020 8381 1811.