THE SECURITY GUARD CODE OF ETHICS
Ethics and professionalism go hand in hand. Security Officers are entrusted with the safety of lives and property. They are often a company’s first line ambassadors to the public, and are responsible for enforcing safety and integrity rules in the work place. The job requires the highest levels of integrity, honor, and discretion—ethics. It is the essence of a Security Officers position that conduct be at the highest levels of professionalism and integrity. This is simply expected of Security Officers; anything else is unacceptable. Simply stated if you can’t trust the people who are responsible for protecting lives and property to act ethically, who can you trust?
New York State has adopted a code of ethics for Security Officers. The code of ethics formalizes the idea—and rule—that there are measurable standards of conduct expected from everyone who holds a Security Officer position.
Code of Ethics defined
The code of ethics is a statement that incorporates moral and ethical principles and philosophies. It is a measure of a person’s activities against a standard of behavior. By outlining basic rules of expected conduct, the code of ethics communicates these rules to all security Guards. The manner in which personnel of a business conduct their activities has a direct effect on whether a business succeeds or falls.
Security Officers are entrusted to protect persons and property from harm, and so by definition must possess a high degree of integrity and ethical standards.
Ethical behavior is therefore a direct job function of Security Officers.
➢A published and public code of ethics increases the effectiveness and role of the security Guard.
➢The code of ethics will help the security industry attract a better caliber of Guard.
➢The code of ethics will help create a professional environment in which to work, reducing turnover rates and increasing effectiveness.
➢ The code of ethics will enhance the way law enforcement agencies and the general public view private security.
➢The code of ethics will help protect people’s rights and reduce abuses of authority.
CODE OF ETHICS FOR SECURITY OFFICERS
In my capacity as a security Guard hired to prevent, report and deter crime, I pledge:
1. To protect life and property; prevent and reduce crime committed against my employer/client’s business, or other organizations and institutions to which I am assigned; abide by the Constitution of the United States.
2. To carry out my duties with honesty and integrity and to maintain the highest moral principles.
3. To faithfully, diligently and dependably discharge my duties, and to uphold the laws, policies and procedures that protect the rights of others.
4. To discharge my duties truthfully, accurately and prudently without interference of personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my judgments.
5. To report any violation of law or rule or regulation immediately to my supervisors.
6. To respect and protect information considered confidential and privileged by my employer or client, except where their interests are contrary to law or this Code of Ethics.
7. To cooperate with all recognized and responsible law enforcement agencies within their jurisdiction.
8. To accept no compensation, commission, gratuity, or other advantage without the knowledge and consent of my employer.
9. To conduct myself professionally at all times, and to perform my duties in a manner that reflects credit upon me, my employer and the security profession.
10. To continually improve my performance by seeking training and educational opportunities that better prepare me to carry out my security duties.
SELECTED ETHICAL VIOLATIONS
Failure to Report Violations Reporting ethical violations is an essential part of a security Guard’s job. Watching for and reporting ethical violations is part of protecting people and property. Unethical behavior is a threat to the well being of people and property. Reporting ethical violations is doing the job for which a Security Officer has been hired. Failing to report ethical violations compromises the entire security function. Companies should have carefully developed protocols for reporting suspected ethical violations. People have to trust the process, and the process must work. Discretion is a must.
What you see at work stays at work. Information is valuable property. Protecting property is a duty of a Security Officer. Keeping confidences comes with the job.
There is no excuse for dishonesty of any sort by a Security Officer. Theft of property. There is never a legitimate reason for theft. No excuse will be accepted. “Unauthorized borrowing” is the same as stealing. Theft of services is theft. Theft of time is stealing. Sleeping on duty is theft. Leave abuse is stealing. Falsification is unethical and dishonest. Making false entries in the business records of a company is a crime. Falsely reporting that you made inspections when you did not is unethical. Falsely reporting on some records is theft.
Destruction or Misuse of Property
There is never a legitimate excuse for damaging or misusing property or equipment belonging to another.
Do not represent yourself as other than a Security Officer. Impersonation is unethical, and almost always counter productive. Security Officers need to be immediately and precisely identifiable as Security Officers. People need ready access to Security Officers, and must be aware of their presence. The idea that pretending to be a law enforcement Security Officer is helpful is an illusion. It is not true.
Abuse of authority and incompetence are each definite violation of ethics. Abuse of authority is deliberate wrongdoing. Incompetence is wrongdoing due to lack of skill. There is nothing that compromises security faster than bad security.
Whether deliberate or incompetent, improper security operations compromise security, and can endanger the very people and property a Security Officers is hired to protect.
Security Officers are part of but yet slightly apart from their co-workers. Security Officers must avoid even the perception of subjectivity or favoritism.
Alcohol and drugs
The use of alcohol or drugs while on duty is absolutely prohibited. Security Officers are expected to be fully alert at all times when on duty. On-duty alcohol or drug use compromises safety, reduces response time, inhibits professional judgments, and compromises security.
A Security Officer may only serve one “master.” No Security Officer may accept anything of value from anyone other than the employer for performing security services. Accepting bribes is a firing offense. Always and without exception.
Gambling at work violates accepted ethical standards for Security Officer.
Money Borrowing money from, or lending money to, co-workers and employees is frowned upon. A debt creates at least a perception of undue influence, which can compromise a Security Officer even if the perception is not true.
Harassment, Sexual and Otherwise
People come to work to work. The law prohibits activities which makes working more difficult for illegitimate reasons, such as race, religion or sex. Conduct which is offensive to someone because of their race, religion, or sex has no place at work. It is not job-related, and people simply do not have to put up with it. Harassment, including sexual harassment, is a violation of civil rights laws. Harassment reduces productivity, and creates liabilities for employers. It is also hurtful to its victims, and against the law. Its reduction is therefore part of a Security Officers duty to protect people and property.
Sexual Harassment is legally defined as any unwelcome sexual conduct or contact. Note that sexual harassment (like all harassment) is measured primarily by the effect of conduct on the victim. The “intent” of the actor is not important, it does not matter much that the person thought the conduct was “harmless.” Sexually harassing conduct can be open, such as coercing sex with a promise of promotion, or “grabbing” at employees. It can also be more subtle, such as jokes and verbal conduct, or too persistently trying to date someone who has said “no.”