Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

‘A lot of us have woken up to the risks’: What it’s really like to be a security guard

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun8,2024
After the shocking Bondi Junction attack, some security guards are taking steps to protect themselves by ordering stab-resistant vests and discussing doing further training.
Attacker Joel Cauchi stabbed six people to death — — at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre last Saturday. Twelve others were also injured.
Cauchi was shot dead by a policewoman.

In the wake of the attack, concerns have been raised about the level of security at shopping centres and the role of security guards.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has suggested the police and Army should boost security at shopping centres.
“I think we need more soldiers and police officers patrolling Westfields and perhaps even the big shopping centre companies who make a lot of money can actually be asked to co-pay, so we have a stronger visible police presence,” Shorten told Channel Nine’s Today Show on Friday.
Job Moses has been a security guard for 11 years, working primarily at shopping centres and events.

He spoke to SBS News about what it’s like and how people in the industry have responded to the Bondi Junction attack.

Rear view of two men wearing dark vests with Security written in capital letters across the back

Security guards at Westfield Bondi Junction wearing protective vests on Friday as the complex reopened following last week’s stabbing attack. Source: AAP / Bianca De Marchi

What’s an average day like?

“What you have today — it’s different from what happened yesterday,” Moses said.
“It’s never a boring job because you always meet different characters, some very nice, some not so nice.

“You also have the opportunity sometimes to help a lot of people, for example, people asking questions, or maybe attending to first aid where there’s an emergency because most of us are trained in first aid.”

Do you work odd hours?

“Absolutely. Sometimes I could be working from 10pm to 6am.

“The pretty standard time in security is an eight-hour shift or 12-hour shift.”

Does the industry rely a lot on casual staff?

“Without immigrants, the security industry would actually collapse because the security industry is a largely casualised workforce.
“A large portion of the workforce are immigrants like myself.

“In Victoria, you have to at least be in Australia for 12 months before you are able to do the course and apply for a licence.

Do shopping centres need more security help from the police and military?

“Some shopping centres already have police patrols, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, which is their busiest period.
“But I think that is not really going to solve any problem for now — what I think will solve the problem is a lot of the security guards need to be provided more training by the government, not just in-house training.
“And they need to be provided with better PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for example, stab-proof vests.

“They need to be provided with some powers, maybe to carry tasers or capsicum spray. But not for every security guard, because already we’ve got specialised security guards who are armed guards who carry guns.”

How have people in the industry responded to the Bondi Junction attacks?

“Many people have woken up to the risks and decided they need to get the right PPE, especially stab-proof vests and cut-resistant gloves.
“In the past, a lot of the guys were waiting for the security companies or the client that contracts a company to supply them. Right now, most of the guys are going out to buy themselves because no one wants to die.

“A lot of the guys have woken up to say, look, we need to protect ourselves, and not wait for our employer to protect us.”

What support is available for workers in the industry?

“We don’t have a lot of support.

“When it comes to wage theft issues — sometimes guards face their money being stolen by employers — they might get some support from their union.

“Some of the larger companies provide in-house support for mental health and well-being, but only a small percent of companies have that.”

What kind of training do people have?

“Most of the guards will start with a Certificate II in security operations.

And if you’re working with some of the established companies, they have variable training systems like the learning management systems, online training, just to make sure there’s continuous improvement and so on.”

Is the job misunderstood?

“People under-appreciate security guards because they accuse you of being a failed police officer.
“A lot of people misunderstand our jobs. Sometimes you might get invited to attend to an incident that it’s actually police related and we can’t do anything about it.

“So some people actually overestimate our powers while others outwardly disrespect us.”

What are the best events to work at?

“Most events are fun to work at, such as the Melbourne Marathon, working at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, working at the Melbourne Cup in Flemington.
“Some, only a few are a little bit difficult if you’re dealing with patrons that are affected by maybe a lot of alcohol or drugs.”

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “‘A lot of us have woken up to the risks’: What it’s really like to be a security guard”
  1. “A lot of us have woken up to the risks and I believe it’s crucial for security guards to take proactive measures to ensure their safety. Ordering stab-resistant vests and undergoing further training are sensible steps in light of recent events. The idea of increasing police and Army presence at shopping centres is also something worth considering to enhance overall security,” Emma Johnson shared her perspective.

  2. “A lot of us have woken up to the risks following the recent Bondi Junction attack. It is crucial that security guards prioritize their safety by considering measures like stab-resistant vests and additional training. The proposal by Minister Bill Shorten to increase police and Army presence in shopping centers is a step in the right direction. As a security guard myself, I understand the importance of being prepared for any situation that may arise.”

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