Methods That Work Well for Increasing Security Guards’ Observation Skills

Observation skills are the cornerstone of effective security services, influencing a guard’s ability to detect and respond to potential threats. Check out methods that work well for increasing security guards’ observation skills.


Whenever people think about security guards, the first thing that comes into their minds is the appearance and personality of security guards, and their observation skills are always overlooked. Observation skills are one of the most essential skills that security guards carry with them.

To be a great security officer, every individual who aims to become a security guard must possess good observation skills. The observation skills of a security guard play a vital role in creating a safe environment for all the people on the premises, the assets of an organisation and the premises themselves.

In this blog, we discuss the importance of observation skills for a security guard and the most effective techniques to improve observation skills. Let’s get going!

Importance of Observation Skills

Being a good security guard depends greatly on how well you can observe things. If you want to be great at this job, you need to have sharp observation skills. These skills help you spot and stop possible security problems, notice weird behaviour, and quickly handle emergencies. A security officer can stop crimes before they happen, making the overall safety of people much better. Let’s look at some everyday situations where good observation skills really matter:

  • Someone is avoiding eye contact or becoming unusually flustered during casual conversations with other people.
  • Someone is showing a bit too much interest in security-related matters at an event or place.
  • Someone is attempting to create distractions to shift attention away from or towards a particular area.
  • Someone dressed inappropriately for the weather or their surroundings.
  • Someone is carrying bags that seem out of place in a certain area or just don’t fit the scene.
  • Someone is fidgeting, acting nervous, or breaking into a sweat without any apparent reason.
  • Someone is lingering around or steering clear of a specific area without a clear explanation.
  • Someone refusing to leave when asked or making a return later on.
  • Someone is trying to take photos or recordings in restricted areas.

Beyond just watching out for unusual behaviour in crowds, as a professional security guard in the workplace, you have to keep a sharp eye on workers and clients for abnormal actions. This could include showing up unusually early or staying late in the office, parking in remote spots where monitoring is difficult, taking items from the site, or showing an unusually great interest in security measures. Your observation skills act as the first line of defence against potential problems, making them crucial to your role as a security guard.

Things You Should Observe As a Security Guard

A security guard can detect and prevent potential dangers or risks quickly with good observation skills. Observing any unusual occurrences that could threaten the safety of people and assets is one of the most essential skills for any security guard. While on duty as a security officer, you use all your senses to detect potential security risks with the help of security guard courses. The parts of your body and senses that play a vital role in detecting and deterring potential hazards are as follows:

SenseDescriptionRole in Security
SightUsing your eyes to see anything unusual happening.
  • Watch out for strange activities or people who shouldn't be there.
  • Keeping an eye on cameras to spot things that might be risky.
  • HearingUse your ears to listen for weird or uncommon noises.
  • Paying attention to odd sounds that could mean something's wrong.
  • Being ready for alarms or loud signals that show there might be danger.
  • SmellUse your nose to notice strange or unusual smells in the air.
  • It is not usually used in security, but it could help notice certain kinds of dangers, like bad chemicals.
  • TouchUsing your skin to feel things and sense if something seems wrong.
  • Checking people or items to make sure they don’t have hidden dangers.
  • Feeling if something doesn't seem right, like a strange texture or shape.
  • As a security officer, you are required to observe and note the specific details, which are as follows:

    • Movement
    • Spacing
    • Surfaces
    • Shadows
    • Shapes
    • Silhouettes

    Let’s learn about all these things in-depth!

    Firstly, keeping an eye on movement is a big deal. It helps you figure out what people might be up to and spot anything strange or suspicious. Another key thing is checking the spaces between objects and the area you are guarding. Making sure there are no unusual gaps helps keep the place safe.

    Surfaces are also on the checklist. You have got to notice the textures and differences in surfaces nearby. This helps you catch any weird or potentially risky stuff happening. And don’t forget shadows, especially if you are working at night. They can reveal movements or activities that might be hard to see in the dark.

    Shapes and silhouettes are important too. Recognizing familiar figures is crucial for understanding what’s normal in the area you are watching. If you see shapes or silhouettes that don’t fit, it could mean there’s something off.

    Being good at your job as a security officer goes beyond just looking around; it means actively practising and training to remember things well and pay attention to details. When you develop these skills, it helps you give all the important information when reporting events, making sure everyone understands what’s going on with security. Basically, being a sharp observer is not just about seeing things; it’s about really understanding, remembering, and doing something about the important details that keep the place safe and secure.

    Boosting Observation Skills

    Since observation skills are so important to be a great security officer, you must be excited to learn about the tips for improving observation skills. In order to gain strong observation skills, a security guard is required to possess strong memory skills. To identify an abnormal state, you must memorise the normal state.

    To improve your memory skills, you must first understand how memory functions. Go through the below points to learn more about the parts of human memory and how each works.

    • Sensory Register: This is where the memory is stored first. The initial memory processing occurs when you hear, see, smell, taste, or touch something.
    • Short-Term Memory: Humans use their short-term memory to remember information for a short span of time. Your short-term memory can hold seven pieces of information for about 20 seconds.
    • Long-Term Memory: Humans use their long-term memory to remember memories for an extended period of time. Your long-term memory can hold unlimited information.

    Many different techniques can help you improve your memory skills. One of the most effective methods is chunking, which involves breaking down a big piece of information into smaller pieces and then putting it back together. Practice makes a man perfect; you can practise the art of recalling information to become better at it. Keeping yourself engaged and mentally active can also help you improve your memory skills.

    Documenting Observations

    Not only observing the activities but also documenting them is pivotal for a security guard. It will allow an individual security officer to easily recall any vital things they notice. When noting observations, ensure you only list facts and order them methodically.

    As a security guard, you must avoid reflecting any assumptions while recording your observations so that the reader only gets access to the facts and there is no room for bias.

    Security officers often need to record details of vehicles and people in the area they’re guarding for incident reporting and investigation. Several methods exist to capture valuable information regarding the vehicles and the people in the area you’re safeguarding.

    You can use the A to H method to record details about people. See the table to learn what this method means and how it works: –

    AAge (Child, Adult, Senior, etc.)
    BBuild (Thin, Muscular, Fat, etc.)
    CCloth (Outfit they wear)
    DDefinitive features (Tattoos, Piercings, Scars, etc.)
    EElevation (The individual's height)
    FFace (Shape of the face and facial features)
    GGait (The way they walk)
    HHair (Length, Colour, etc.)

    So, this was all about how you can document the details of a person as a security guard. Do you know how to record details about the vehicles? You can use the SCRIM method to record details about the vehicles. See the table to learn how the SCRIM method works: –

    SShape of the vehicle (SUV, Sedan, Hatchback, Truck, etc.)
    CThe color of the vehicle
    RRegistration (Plate number)
    IIdentify features
    MMake and model

    As mentioned above, having good observational techniques is more than noticing something; you must understand how to record it efficiently. The observation acquired from the environment you’re guarding is your key to ensuring its security. You must document any unusual activity or important observation using the above-listed methods to become a better security officer.

    On the Final Note,

    Security guards are often perceived as physically strong people, and their alertness and observation power are often overlooked. You can only become a good security officer with good observation skills, as it will help you detect and deter potential threats. Observation skills can be improved in many ways, and improving your memory skills could be your first step to improving your observation skills.

    To improve your memory, you can use the chunking method, which involves breaking down information into smaller parts. You can also document your observation to ensure the area you are guarding is always safe, and if anything happens, you have a list of all the activities that seemed unusual while you were on the site.

    If you already possess great observation skills and want to be a security officer, you can enrol in our security guard training course in Sydney, NSW. Multisec Training is one of the leading providers of nationally recognised training courses. Contact us to learn more!

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