It can be hard to determine whether you need to enlist the help of the police or if you would have more success using a private security company.On further examination, the decision can be fairly simple. The two needs can be broken down this way: the job of most police officers is to respond to criminal activity, to find and arrest those responsible, and to preserve law and order. The job of personal security, on the other hand, is to protect a location or individual(s) and to prevent–or stop–crimes from happening in the first place.
Police officers can’t, and shouldn’t, be everywhere at once. So their job is more after-the-fact. If you don’t know who committed said crime, the police have access to databases and tools that will hopefully help them find the person or persons responsible and help you receive justice. Security guards have no access to the judicial system the same way police officers do and would need their assistance once a criminal has been apprehended. Police training is usually in-depth and standardized in an area, which may not be the case with a personal security agency. On the other hand, they may be limited by financial resources or politics. On the whole, though, most of their duties can only be performed once a crime has occurred because their job is to enforce the law. Their crime deterrent methods are typically only their physical presence somewhere (note we are talking about a typical police officer here and not someone in a specialized unit) but their real power comes after the fact.
Private security, on the other hand, is paid to maintain safety and to deter crime based on their presence. Whether the job is to protect someone or specific property, it is much easier to stop or prevent a crime when you are already physically at the location. While they cannot arrest or charge anyone with a crime, they can hold someone until law enforcement arrives as well as testify to that person’s crimes in court. Also, because private security is not under the same scrutiny as police officers, their hours and techniques can be more flexible. Since they also run as for-profit companies, they can also invest in state of the art equipment to help them better perform their duties. Likewise, they can also offer their employees incentive and performance bonuses that a police force simply cannot. In addition, since they tend to be smaller and lacking in bureaucracy, private security companies can more easily modify their training and continuing education programs for their staff.
The police do their best to keep people safe and help them once a crime has been committed. For the average person, that is usually more than they will ever need. However, if you or your company’s needs fall outside the duties of law enforcement and more in the realm of crime prevention, you should definitely sit down with a private security firm to discuss your concerns.