Security guards and security officers in the modern day are tasked with more duties than before. It is more than just standing at the front door or gate watching for restricted entry. A guard or officer can now keep watch on fire, hazardous chemical substances and leakages, heating and cooling, theft, sensors, and CCTV. They can also do patrols in dangerous areas, offer customer support, control access to a property, and remain continuously observant.
There exists a huge difference between the terms security officer and security guard. The differences come in terms of roles and positions in addition to other factors. However, when engaging people, you will hear most of them mistaking the two, calling a security officer a guard and vice versa.
Some arguments base the differences on the weapons that each uses. It is quite absurd that some government and licensing bodies categorize the two people based on the possession of weapons. It is funny hearing someone call you a security officer because you are armed but a security guard if you are not armed. This is the wrong notion though.
Even though a security guard and security officer share the same objective at work, they have some variances. The variances can be further explained as below.
Who is a Security Officer?
A security officer is an overall manager of a group of security guards. They commonly give orders and oversee the operations of the guards. Also, a security officer may be tasked with training security guards as they usually have more experience and skills. Since most companies hire ex-military or ex-police officers, they are good to bank on to train guards.
Responsibilities of a Security Officer
A security guard is tasked with various duties including:
- Training security guards.
- Overseeing and monitoring the operations of a group of guards.
- Issuing directives and orders and planning working schedules for guards.
Who is a Security Guard?
A security guard is a lower ranking officer, usually under a security officer. They work under and together with the officers for a streamlined operation. Normally, they are not required to undergo strict training although that entirely depends on the hiring company.
Duties of a Security Guard
A security guard can perform duties that include:
- Standing guard at premises’ entrances, for example, supermarkets or homes.
- Reporting suspicious activities to a security officer or owners of the premises.
- Providing information and guidance to visitors or customers in such places as supermarkets, museums, outdoor events, stores, and other public or private events.
Possible Similarities on Duties
Even though a security officer and security guard differ from each other, there are specific duties that are common to them. Both personnel participate in:
- Security breach prevention: they both play a defensive role when it comes to securing or protecting a property and maintaining safety for the public.
- Observing and reporting: whenever a security threat happens, it is the responsibility of both officers to report to the next authority or relevant person.
- Incident response: in case of an incident happening, a security guard cannot wait for the security officer to come and clear it if it advanced. They should be in a position to stay alert, react to it, and jump to action to control it or call for help if it gets out of control.
Difference Between Security Officer and Security Guard
A security officer does not need to be positioned at a particular premise to offer security services. They can monitor the guards under their command remotely while a security guard has to be at the premises they are guarding. This can be at the entrance of a market, banking hall, or home.
A security guard does not necessarily need to be trained in intensive security drills. They only require basic skills and pass entry-level and IQ tests while a security officer needs to have undergone thorough training. The security officers are mostly pooled from ex-servicemen from security and disciplined forces.
A security guard is mostly put under a security officer. As such, they are supposed to report to the officer for duty assigning and monitoring. The security officer, on the other hand, can be the only supervisor and can only be reporting to the contracting firm.
A security officer is tasked with more duties than a guard. They need to move from one area to the other where their guards are posted. As a result, their pay is slightly higher than a security guard’s.
A security guard is static and situated in a specific location, property, or ground while a security officer is mobile. The latter needs to travel to all the places where they have stationed their guards for monitoring.
Security Officer vs. Security Guard: Comparison Table
Summary of Security Officer vs. Security Guard
Even though security officers and guards are thought to perform the same tasks, there are varied differences between them. Most people have a difficulty telling who is who, and how to grade them. However, just as their titles are varied, they are too. They are different in terms of duties, levels of training, duty stations, and other aspects.