Do not let your ‘guard’ down!

The urbanization of towns and cities has led to swanky office complexes, malls, restaurants and fancy residential complexes mushrooming up. They provide excellent amenities and there is a definite feel good factor to them. However, when I visit a lot of the aforementioned places, I feel, while we go to great lengths ensuring the ‘feel good’ factor is taken care of, we sometimes overlook the basics. Even Maslow’s hierarchy of needs emphasizes that only once we achieve one level, do we move upwards. Our most basic need is that of security.

When I enter a lot of places, I find guards sleeping, lazing around, looking disinterested, bored, busy on their mobile phones, chit chatting around and generally whiling away their time. Isn’t security supposed to be serious business? Aren’t these people whom we entrust our security upon supposed to be vigilant, alert, fit and most important trust worthy?

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How confident are you about the security agency guarding your house, office, child’s school or college? Was it hired because it came cheap? Was the guard’s background check done? Does he have a criminal past? Chances are high that the guards’ background has not been vetted and they have no training whatsoever to do what they are supposed to be doing.

Even today, most guards do not have background checks done on them. Those who run security businesses and are in charge of supplying manpower need to be very careful about whom they hire. People’s lives could be at stake and properties worth a large amount of money are involved.

Is the guard at your society, kid’s school, kid’s activity centre, tuition centre verified? Shouldn’t the guards employed around have clean records? How would we know? Just because the guards wishes you and brings up his hand to his forehead to greet you every morning and evening doesn’t guarantee a clean background.

There’s a rising demand for security guards, a highly unorganized market, fly-by-night operators and lack of background checks leads to poor quality service and serious concerns of safety. In a lot of criminal cases, the perpetrators are enabled by these same guards. These guards have very often been caught providing information which helps in the crime. In many cases, the crimes have been committed by these very guards. Crimes involving security guards are increasingly on the rise in India.

Just recently in Bangalore, a watchman, employed a week ago, cut an apartment’s window grill and got in when the family was away. Look at the irony – hired to guard the house, the same person does the exact opposite. The family lost valuables and gold worth INR 32 lakhs.

I strongly recommend each of you reading this to ensure that the guards around you have had their backgrounds verified. Their addresses need to be checked, IDs need to be vetted and their criminal background checks need to be done.

Better to be safe than sorry! Like I said earlier, don’t let your guard down!

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