What they do
Security officers protect people, property and other valuables, as well as maintaining crowd control. They patrol private premises and public venues, checking for unauthorised entry or people acting in a dangerous, unlawful or otherwise prohibited manner. They observe and report suspects to police, or when appropriate apprehend and detain them until police arrive. In some cases, security officers may be responsible for monitoring visitors to a site, recording their time of arrival and departure and issuing them with an appropriate pass once satisfied they have a legitimate reason for visiting.
Security officers usually do shift work, which may include nights, weekends and public holidays. Some security officers work at a single location, while others travel between a number of sites in each shift.
Security officers usually spend long periods of time on their feet as they patrol the premises they are stationed at. They may have a high level of contact with the public, and at times may experience verbal or physical abuse. However, they receive training to deal with these difficult situations quickly and safely, to minimise the danger to all parties, including themselves.
Tools and technologies
Most security officers use radios and mobile phones to stay in contact with a partner or central office in case back up is needed. They also use electronic alarm systems and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) to assist in monitoring premises and identifying potential incidents. Security Officers who patrol more than one location will also have to drive between sites, often in cars fitted with spotlights.
With special licenses some security officers are also permitted to carry guns or batons in certain circumstances. Some security officers may patrol with specially trained dogs.
They are also usually required to wear a uniform, though some may patrol in plain clothes.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a security officer, you usually need to gain a qualification in security operations.
The Certificates II and III in Security Operations are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Search on the My Skills website or the Western Australian Police Licensing Services website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in Security Operations (Level 3). The traineeship usually takes six months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a security officer in Western Australia, you will need to obtain a relevant Security Officer and/or Crowd Controller Licence from Western Australia Police Licencing Services. A number of different licence types are available. Contact the WA Police Licensing Services for more information.
You will also need to be at least 18 years old, hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate, and pass a Competency Test for Security Officers and Crowd Controllers. Contact the Security Agents Institute of Western Australia for more information about this competency test.