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Home > Reviews > Hotel view

Hotel view

Author Stuart Grainger-Smith


Review date 19/05/2019

No of pages


Publisher URL

Year of publication 05/02/2018


Our Review

The Hotel Security Manager (HSM) is the focus here by Stuart Grainger-Smith, pictured, the safety and security manager at Amba Hotel Marble Arch. And what’s the relationship between: training, knowledge, regulation and professionalism?

About the writer: A member of the Security Institute, and International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM), Stuart has a master’s degree from the University of Portsmouth.


Whilst the entirety of the role would be too diverse to look at, a detailed look at one aspect, the Hotel Security Manager (HSM) will be the focus of this study. This is an area that has had little academically written about it, as such a comparison will be with the Health & Safety sector. The reason for this comparison is twofold. On the one hand Health and Safety within hotels is more and more being undertaken by the security manager and balanced against this is the fact that Health and safety is seen as a profession (Ferguson, Ramsey, 2010, p. 24), and security wants to be seen as a profession (Criscuoli, 1988, p. 99).
The keynote debate for this chapter is one of training and professionalism, or to put it another way, professionalizing standards. This has been tried ever since the Rand Report (1975), undertook its research in 1970-71, and has been revisited by Clifton (1985) and Button (2008). Analysing if the issue has actually now been addressed, resolved or whether it still ongoing is key. With so many areas within Security Management to discuss and a role that has a width and diversity to it such as it has, understanding what training is, or needs to be in place is principal. Continuing from here is to then understand whether this role is indeed a profession or a service and correspondingly if the training standards are in place.

As a basis of contrast is the field of Health & Safety (H&S). The requirements that must be achieved to take on roles are based with their own specific requirements that must be achieved before even getting the job. This point was noted by Button (2008, p. 113), he highlighted the disparity between security courses and health and safety courses. The requirements within health and safety means, that at all levels there is a qualification that must be attained before progression. Based on research and interviews previously undertaken for this chapter, that point, will be expounded on later as to what could or should, be the necessary requirements. Examining the people within the role against the diversity of training and learning they have undertaken. This would incorporate an evaluation into the training levels as they stand, along with an understanding of what benefits increased levels would bring.

What has been written and what is already known

It was stated by Gill et al (2002) that research undertaken within the field of the hotel security manager was limited. His work is now quite old, being 14 years ago and indeed Burstein (1985) dates back 21 years. As such an understanding of what they highlighted along with what has happened since then in terms of; the role, within academic writing and also legislatively is required for further analysis. The reason for this is to see what developments have occurred since and how or if its effects have been utilised and to what degree. Furthermore, looking at parallels to indicate whether a move to increase training across the role would be suitable, and an analysis of the impact that that would have. Beaudry (1996, p. 29 – 30), agrees here that training, and continual training in the area of Hotel security are important.

One of the few research ventures into the role of Hotel Security Manager was written by Groenenboom and Jones (2003). They recalled this when stating that their research was based purely on phenomenological occurrences. This speaks of the arrest rate or traditional approach to the security manager as quoted by Button (2008, p. 93), and not towards a more business-like approach. It also links into the perception that ex-police officers make the best HSM as noted by Burstein (1985, p. 2). This is thirteen years old and 21 years old respectively, so not current, especially given changes in both the security field following the Private Security Industries Act (2001) and as stated, the increase in the health and safety aspect of the role. Using this as a basis then, a comparison between the security manager labelled aspect and the health and safety manager aspect can be examined.

A backdrop to this topic is found in the work of Giovanni Manunta (2007, p. 19-20). He calls attention to research within the status of professional for the security manager. He makes note of the three key elements that are missing when considering the terminology of professional. He also points that although desired, security management has not reached its potential based on these principal elements. This is in contrast to Criscuoli (1988, p. 99), who states that whilst the qualification aspect is missing, because the role requires specialised knowledge then it can be deemed professional. On balance, if specialised knowledge is needed then qualification is arguably the only route to that on a codified basis. As such it would seem that Manunta (2007, p. 19-20), has a more logical grasp.

What Manunta states (2007, p. 19-20), is that to be a professional implies that you would be benchmarked alongside other professionals such as; doctors, lawyers, accountants as so on. His key elements are that a professional should be in a paid occupation, no issue or argument on that point however the next two offer the crux of the matter. The two points in question are advanced education and training. It is hard to fit a role whereby little training is required, or for that matter desired in some cases. How therefore the role can be held within the realm of professional seems to be a stretch. As stated before when comparing benchmarks, without the requisite training and qualification it could be therefore argued that actually the benchmark that should first be attained is competent, a term which will be examined later.

Detailed within the research is the claim that the management of security has developed from a service into a profession (Simonsen, 1996, p. 229), however this lacks credence from his point that qualifying has been minimalistic. Further understanding of Simonsen (1996, p. 229 – 232), reveals also that at first look it contradicts the point of Manunta (2007), although the two do converge on certain aspects. Both are in agreement that having a professional body is one part of professionalism. They also agree that educational advancement and the development of knowledge is integral to the hypothesis of professional status. Concluding this point raises one more issue. Simonsen (1996, p. 230) states that the industry of security is vast therefore trying to professionalise the whole of the industry is fraught with problematic challenges. This point has weight; it is also supported by the number of organisations vying for the attention, and money of those wanting to develop themselves and their industry. At this point it is important to mention that in the Hotel security management specific field there is one organisation, the Institute of Hotel Security Management (IHSM). They serve to propagate best practice along with sharing of information for crime prevention however there is no qualification process from their body. This organisation aside for this particular sector, there is no corresponding organisations for other sectors such as the corporate security manager.

A poignant point to highlight is illustrated by Button (2008, p. 109) who stated that the current reality of the role as far as his research has shown in the wider context of security manager, was that there were two linked issues. The first issue being that routes into the role of security manager from a learning or academic aspect is limited. The second issue is that to undertake the role there appears to be little or no academic requirements needed. Personnel that are well trained, therefore will be aware of what is happening with guests both good and bad, in this case security issues are more likely to actually be proactively dealt with (Gill, 2007, p. 14-15).

Following on then, gives a theme of the training standards given to base level security staff. Mark Button (2008, p. 104), states that mandatory training as a whole for security personnel in Britain, is well below that within most of Europe. He also highlights that a concern was that the level of training given was left at the discretion of the training companies (Button, 2008, p. 98). With this in mind, later will be examined what training levels are in place and also defining terms such as professional and competent. Managers are not required to train or qualify any further than as a baseline officer. Generally they hold, as an example their Security Industry Authority Door Supervisor License. However promotion leads into the role of Manager even though further training is purely at their desire and design.

To understand the requirement to be classified as a qualified professional there should be a comparative to act as a benchmark thus enabling the comprehension of what a professional is. In Hotels, the Security manager is often, also the Health and Safety manager. As such using This field of work gives the comparative therefore that will help develop the correlation between role and possible professional status. In the area of Health and Safety, requirements are set, so to each job level a person attains, there has to be an increase in qualification. As an example at one level the National Examination Board for Occupation Safety and Health (NEBOSH) General Certificate would suffice. To move however to a senior role the NEBOSH Diploma will be asked for. This can be seen in any career search engine within the safety field.

It is also to be noted that health and safety discriminates to specialism, a job in construction for example requires a health and safety construction qualification. The same however cannot be said for security unfortunately. Within security as a whole there are no differentials between types of industry or grade within each industry. This again does not balance with security wanting to have the same professional status as Health and Safety. Again, a simple look at the HSE website details this.

What is the theory?

Already, reference has been given to the trend of recruiting ex-police officers or armed forces personnel to the role of the hotel security manager. This tendency however does fail within the modern era of proactive risk mitigation from the business and away from the more reactive scope within the traditional type of manager (Button, 2008, p. 93). What is not currently understood however is what does make a good Security Manager. The realms of the Police and the armed forces are very different to that of the hotel security or corporate fields for example, so why this connection has been made is itself up for debate.
Two opposing points of view have been made on the debate. On one side is the view that the Security Manager is a service function. The second view point is that the Security Manager is a profession, this view however, as noted by Button (2008, p. 94) lacks the academic study within the field. This along with appropriate professional training is part of the benchmark for professional status.

To follow on from this point is guidance by Simonsen (1996, p. 231). He states that a plethora of certifications from any number of groups and community colleges are available, a simple web search indeed proves this. However actual academic learning is slow to be taken up. This could be argued, is based on the lack of requirement under current guidelines as stated in the Private Security Industries Act (2001). Examining if it is purely down to regulation and requirement or if there are further reasons for this will be examined within the remit of this paper.

The Theory of Training over technology

Technological advancements have made working better, such as Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV). Cameras are clearer, pick up more detail and therefore more useful after an incident has occurred to aid conviction. In modern times with smarter devices, cameras can be viewed much easier; a far cry from when the only place was a dedicated CCTV room with lots of monitors (Beck, 2007, p. 26). In the same way every young person wants the latest technology, the newest mobile phone, the same can be said for business. Businesses understand the need that their systems need upgrading regularly, to be at the cutting edge. A case study by Gill et al (2007, p. 112) highlighted this point. It is also clear from Gill et al, (2007, p. 36) when they wrote about Activity Based Costing which is the methodology of identifying activities and costing them based on the overheads they create, to put it another way to price up tasks. This is confirmed by the study from Beck (2007, p. 23), who stated that technological advances can only be a part of the solution, getting the right people who are motivated and trained. Only part of any solution can involve a purely technological element. At the basis of technology is still a person who needs to be trained to use and understand the data received, be that numerical or CCTV, any interpretation of that data then leads to action.

There are a few problems with technology; one is that it is reactive. A camera records and plays back what has happened. A camera also will be upgraded as technology advances, from analogue to IP as an example. In comparison the physical, personnel element of a Security Department does not get upgraded. There are no software updates for each unit. There isn’t a developmental arm that concentrates on the next generation of personnel and training, especially as further training is not a current requirement. To simplify this point, the only proactive part of the department is its personnel, the officers. As stated by Beck (2007, p.40), the Security Manager wants to be seen to be as cutting edge, going for the immediate quick fix. In doing so the argument is that he is architecting their own demise by not concentrating on training and future personnel development.

A further problem with technology is highlighted by Gill (2007, p. 26-27). On interviewing offenders it was noted that cameras were; avoidable, there were ways to get around them but also they could highlight a further issue. The final component in regards to CCTV issues was where there was a plethora of cameras. Highly used systems with multiple cameras in one area, it informed the offenders that staff natural lines of sight were diminished. With staff lines of site taken out of the equation a premises was seen as a better target. To offenders, staffs that were trained and aware were a much bigger concern (Gill, 2007, p. 26-27).

In the UK there is no further requirement to further train, regardless of how much the career progression they are capable of or how high up the ladder they climb; there is no need to upgrade their knowledge. This lack of training is commented on (Beaudry, 1996, p. 17), who refers to the lack of similarity between courses due to variables such as; standards of courses, instructor presentation and method of presentation to name a few. It is important to note that 38 years ago there were concerns raised in regards to training levels and with advancements in both technology and legislation with the Private Security Industries Act (2001) in place for 15 years, the same questions and the same issues are still being addressed and the same concerns are still highlighted with little composite action to remedy them.

This underlies the questions in regards to the absolute minimum amount of training required by the Private Security Industry Act (2001) and whether this should be raised. The current level of mandatory training for a static guard is 30 hours which is made up of 22.5hrs knowledge based and 7.5 hours of practical; this does not seem a lot of training especially as for some practitioners, it may be the only training that they will ever receive or undertake. From the details adapted from by Button (2008, p. 79, table 4.1), not only does England and Wales’ training seem outdated, when you consider other factors this is made more evident. Compared to a country like Sweden whose training hour’s level is 217. These hours are made up of 97 hours (nearly 4 times more) knowledge based and 120 hours (16 times more) of practical training. This is not even to mention Hungary who have a mandatory 320 hours over 10 times more.

Whilst this is comprehensive it also is worth bringing into the equation further training that is needed, as alluded to by Clifton (2012, p. 179-199). He makes arguments in relation to systems that are used by premises and run and or maintained by the Security Manager, systems such as:

• Fire Alarms
• Automatic detectors
• Manual switches at a pool station
• Control panels
• Alert devices
• Suppression systems including water sprinklers, chemical suppression, stand pipes.
• Panic Alarms
• Intrusion alarms
• Other monitoring systems
• Access control
• Key control
• CCTV systems
• Reporting software
• Tracking systems
• Lost and Found property systems
• Employee lockers
• Automated key dispensers

This highlights further possible failures within current training. Whilst it can be seen that mandatory training hours are dramatically reduced in comparison to other European Union member states. It is not evidenced if these topics are covered in training or if these areas would or should be covered by additional training and development. Consideration on this matter should also be given to the common thread that technology has become more a part of life and work. It is unclear therefore how a senior security role can be undertaken with no more training than that of a basic, entry level officer. It would appear therefore that training standards just on that basis is without enough depth of knowledge from the outset. The Netherlands additionally provides three weeks mandatory training that leads to a diploma, also, Belgium, Finland and Germany all provide further mandated training for managers. One point outlined by Button (2007, p. 117) is highlighted through the Spanish regulatory system. Under their system both employees and firms require a licence, he also says that training hours comprises of 240 hours theoretical and 20 hours practical. The interesting part where the United Kingdom could learn is that under the Spanish regulations, 75 hours of refresher training is mandated to be completed every 3 years. Furthermore this training also applies to managers.

This training and development theme is argued by Clifton (2012, p. 268-269). His point of reference here relates to understanding current trends in; crime, metrics and technology. The argument made here is that trends such as these are tackled in part by networking with industry peers and colleagues as well as those that you work to or for. His angle then continues that it is through this, that expertise is built that then helps both with how you are viewed by your managers but also with personal growth.

A continuing theme running through all current research is, whilst we have identified the training levels are well below others in Europe, the standard of training worldwide is still considered poor (Gill, 2007, p. 30; Button 2008, p. 98). They also note that for many entering into the security industry this training is also the only training they will receive, of course at this point in time it is the only training that is required. Button adds to this, when he previously stated that security management was typically a secondary career (Button, 2008, p. 90). A contrast to this perception comes from Wakefield (2006, p. 400 – 401) when writing in the handbook of security. She refers to her earlier work (Wakefield, 2003 p. 388 – 391 table 16.1), stating the level of training at the current time as varied. She denotes that the training given was dependent on factors. Factors such as if the person was working in-house or for an agency.
When looking through the diversity of tasks that include crime prevention administration, audits, access control and not even starting to mention areas such as computer based challenges. It is questionable therefore, if the training requirement by law and the training requirement by job description is even comparable. It is also unclear why training that should be designed to meet the business needs, a licensed role, does not equip a person with enough depth of knowledge to meet the challenges of modern business.

The only requirement in law in regards to mandatory training for a security role is the training required to hold a door supervisors license, the same as the officers that a Security Manager employs. This stems from the Private Security Industry Act (2001). Furthermore when then compared to how Button develops his argument and relates to the role of Security Manager in the National Health Service. There is a requirement for a new manager to qualify on their “Accredited Security Management Specialist Course”; he claims this would be a start as an industry standard (Button, 2008, p. 113). It could be followed through therefore that this could formulate a basis whereby, industry specific versions should be in place.

A further area that is examined and researched by leading academics is the business element of security management. Writing in the security handbook, Bamfield (2006, p. 485 – 489) looks at this subject. What is analysed is areas where planning and organisation are key. Key to ensure whether a high profile visit or event runs effectively or that the department is working within the parameters of a budget, or restructured budget. This argument is further highlighted by Button (2008, p. 93) who agrees with this point. He develops the hypothesis that strategy and analytical measurement are key components. Alongside this the return on investment and bottom line commercial awareness also further develops the manager and the role.

What appears to be lacking within a defined training matrix in the security industry is a theme that has re-occurred time and again. Button (2008, p. 109) is one that supports this. He affirms a leaning towards the ex-service and former Police officer as ideal candidates for the role of Security Manager. Whilst this may or may not be agreeable to arresting suspects and the traditional side of crime, it does nothing in respect of the emerging trends in security violations.
Burstein (1985, p. 78), enlightens that this type of candidate may have issues with communicating about trends in crime, preferring to hold onto the information for themselves. Button (2008, p. 109) also says here that there are limited opportunities and avenues for academic routes into security management and, furthermore limited actual requirement. It is ambiguous how a person can or, for that matter should, qualify in this industry. Further clarity is required to understand from which perspective would it become reasonable to undertake further development and qualification when there appears little to be gained by doing so.

Balanced against the regulation and compliance element of what the SIA has achieved, the lack of training standards that are in place remains a big debate and, one could say UK standards are woeful in comparison to our European Partners. When detailing the qualifications that are required in the Private Security Act (2001) a problem comes through and that is the degree and level of training given is entirely the responsibility of the training provider and not through rigorous scrutiny by an external body or legal requirement. One training provider states

“The minimum contact hours for this qualification are 32.5 hours of the required 45 guided learning hours.” (

This training level and the understanding of the contextual reasoning was one of the themes that ran through his book (Button, 2008, p. 102 – 105). These levels of training hours cannot put security officers, let alone managers, in the same context or understanding of threat and protection even when compared to Spain for example. England’s requirement measures 80 hours, Spain has a requirement of 260 hours, some 325% greater. It is therefore questionable whether the mandatory training standards in the UK are even viable. Therefore it is arguable not compatible with the hypothesis that the security industry would be considered professional when by comparison it could be questioned as even being competent.

Why is this research worth doing?

It has previously been mentioned that there is little by the way of academic writing on specific sectors of security manager especially. Amongst academics that have written on the area of security managers in general is Gill et al (2002), he confirms this opinion. Furthermore his writing dates back fourteen years. It must also be accredited that his writing also came out prior to the Private Security Industry Act (2001). Whilst it is agreed that the book was published one year later when considering the time frame for research along with implementation of the Act and allowing time for that Act to bring results his work does predate it.

Since Button (2008, p. 109) wrote about the lack of academic routes into the industry a simple internet search reveals a plethora of companies and courses that can now be undertaken in security management. Courses ranging from diplomas to certification to National Vocational Qualifications and so on, this does not even including the university courses at both bachelors and masters levels. This expansion of courses is detailed by Beaudry (1996, p. 11), but it is however in direct contradiction to the later work of Button (2008). Simonsen (1996, p. 231) makes the point, confirming, in some ways the stance by Beaudry, that numerous certificates and diplomas are available, however the lack of academic routes has been slow. Whilst it could be said that twenty years ago that may have been the case and of course everything has changed now, it is worth pointing out that whilst more courses are available from universities like Portsmouth and Leicester. The lack of requirement to undertake academic learning seeks to undermine the point and indeed purpose of these qualifications. It is ambiguous, although there is a timeline difference, how there can be an expansion of courses whilst maintaining a lack of academic routes into the industry without the conclusion that requirement and regulation are missing.

Add to this the current low or non-existent requirement to even have a qualification then how the right course can be identified by a candidate becomes questionable. A candidate who would seeks to better themselves out of a willingness to self-develop may find themselves on potentially the wrong course or the right course for no benefit. This lack of structure to training creates a lack of clarity to the subject, the candidate, or for that matter potentially those recruiting. Therefore evaluation and structure within these organisations would allow for both candidates and recruiters to understand better and then gain a fuller understanding of the requirement needed for professionalism to transfer from ideology to reality.

Also to be considered is where legislation has moved on, and for that matter trends, both in training and criminal activity. This has critical importance to the role of Security Manager due in part to the trend that health and safety has become more a part of the remit. In the Hospitality industry the role of Hotel Security Manager, is generally a merging of two roles, the role of security and the role of health and safety. This mergence is typical within hotels and is noted by Gill Et al (2002, p. 59 – 60). It could be argued therefore that that the manager should been in line with, as the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) puts it, “the competent person”, for both sides of the role. They already have to be from a Health and Safety aspect, so surely the same should apply to the Security side. This point is established by the work of (Groenenboom, Jones, 2003, p.14-19).

Increasing the functionality to include Health and Safety the range of duties now expected leaves questions. Questions over the viability for one person to undertake the full extent of the security function was stated by Gill et al (2002, p. 59 - 60). This notwithstanding the tasks as stated in the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). There is cause to debate that, rather than diversifying the role there is an issue of diluting one with the other. These issues were also observed by Security Manager D (Groenenboom, Jones, 2003, p.15).

Beaudry (1996, p. 34), lists some of the tasks undertaken, Button (2008, p.88) takes this list a lot further. Whilst research that has been achieved so far is significant in its findings, it is small in quantity; it is of further importance to understand the levels that manatory training should be aimed. It is also equally important to detail what disciplines training should be aimed at with the role and remit of the Hotel Security Manager.

Professionalism applied
Amongst many academics and through papers written one of the most succinct descriptions of a Profession comes from Ferguson and Ramsay (2010, p. 24 – 25), they relay the concept that it is based on a body of specialised knowledge. Continuing that, to therefore be a professional one needed to be in an occupation that was seen as professional. Knowledge that is both born out of experience and qualification lends to a more complete result and better utilisation of both technology and personnel. This is confirmed (Ferguson, Ramsay, 2010, p. 25); they state that “extensive education” is vital to the expansion of understanding. They also go onto to introduce the idea that this should be a continual process. In any field of expertise and professionalism, training is an ongoing process. This process is integral to the growth of the manager and is borne from a continual professional development (CPD). It is therefore fair to consider that to be a professional manager, first you should be a professional officer.

For the purposes here the term profession will be used as per the definition within the Oxford English Dictionary (OED, n.d.)

“An occupation in which a professed knowledge of some subject, field, or science is applied; a vocation or career, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.”

Under that definition, a professional therefore is one who is qualified and trained to work in a specific area, for the purpose here, Hotel Security Management. This is validated by Larson (1977, p. 14), who stated that a “distinctive commodity had to be produced”. The author then goes on to follow that most professions produce intangible goods. Foremost in this is the comment that “the producers themselves have to be produced”, this would therefore follow that by using the term “produced”, could be intellectualised by academic development through education (Larson, 1977, p. 14). To follow on from this point is guidance by Simonsen (1996, p. 231). He states that a plethora of certifications from any number of groups and community colleges are available, a simple web search proves this. However actual academic learning is slow to be taken up. This, it could be argued is based on the lack of requirement under current guidelines as stated in the Private Security Industries Act (2001). Examining if it is purely down to regulation and requirement or if there are further reasons for this will be analysed and debated further.

Continuing with Larson (1977), he states that professional roles have three elements or attributes. Professional roles are; reserved for a minority, desirable and, key here, accessible only after prolonged and complex training (Larson, 1977, p. 61). And inclusively, the levels at which appropriate and proportionate training is needed. It would be useful here to put the role of manager to one side momentarily, and look at the security officer, the entry level in hotel security, or for that matter security in any sector.

In his work Moore (2014, p. 176), writes that experience plus sufficient training is the benchmark of competency, clearly stating that both aspects are required. This is also agreed upon and illuminated again by the theory of Stranks (2005, p. 400). He concludes, in relation to health and safety, that knowledge based both in theory but also in practical application and experience and is the basis of someone being competent.

Now it could be stated that the onus is on the employer or recruiter to decide at what level a candidate should be trained. There should also be no doubt that there is a requirement and that they are trained. A deciding factor in this is stated by Button (2008, p. 107), he brings attention to the “huge body of knowledge”. He also states that this is often based on other disciplines. Within the hotel industry this is often seen by the Hotel security manager diversifying into Health and Safety.

Fischer et al (2008, p 43 – 44) writes the number of professional associations that have arisen is evidence of this move towards professionalism. This point of view builds on the earlier work of Larson (1977, p. 40), in the authors chapter titled “Standardization of Market Control”. The authors point here is that for an industry to become a profession the knowledge base needs to be codified. It is this basis of knowledge which creates the commodity that makes it distinct and recognisable. The author also agrees that this base of knowledge needs to be mediated via the process of training. Also the point made continues that only out of this uniformity of training that the cognitive standardization can be gained (Larson, 1977, p. 40). This unification is usually through a group of professionals or professional body.

All Security Associations such as; American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), The Security Institute and the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) to name but three have training arms. One of the issues that has arisen out of having all of these professional associations with their own training is that they all state that there training is the most desired. It is fair to say then, if they all state that their qualification is the preferred one, they cannot all be accurate in their statement. A slightly alternate point that runs here is that according to Larson (1977, p. 72), controlling the educational aspects alongside the career aspects is the key to power within the profession. With so many alternative organisations in both educational and career fields, the industry as a whole lacks the power spoken of as it appears divided by competition from within itself.

Clifton (2012, p. 276) makes mention of these association based qualifications under the title personal growth. He states that they are a good way “to advance your education in security”. He follows on that university classes can also be taken. It would accordingly be reasonable to follow from that statement that advancing your education is dependent on more than one thing, or course. This point is confirmed by the earlier work of Simonsen (1996, p. 229), that an educational understanding whereby preparation for the specific industry is developed.

Additionally to the subject of these qualifications based from associations is a further contention. Amidst so many versions of qualifications from so many providers more questions arise. Questions such as clarity, whether there are comparisons between them and understanding if such comparisons exist and how they might fit together. Through to the dilemma of what would the point be in spending money for a qualification that is not required within recruitment descriptions. Only with the standardization of mandatory training through formal training institutions can the transition to commonality begin. A further point is that cognitive standardization through monopolization by academic institutions lends to market control and through this the protection any specialism can have (Larson, 1977, p. 46 – 48). This coincides further with Fischer (2008, p. 14), stating that the most persistent obstacle is training and education. Either that be for someone employed directly or through an agency. Now Fischer does relate this directly to the officers and differentiate between in-house and contract. However this is negligible within the context of hotels as both in-house and contract officers work side by side. Button states in his work (2008, p. 107) that within the industry there are many people who operate in the role of security manager. It could be seen therefore that anyone can and no requirement needed so the question of professional status becomes increasingly less tangible.

Alongside others Simonsen (1996, p. 231), examines the need for the role of hotel security manager to be a profession noting that there has to be a professional body. Balanced against this Gill et al (2007, p. 13) states that when speaking to police officers and companies one of the barriers was lack of communication. On this area the HSM does score points. Firstly there needs to be a professional body. The Institute of Hotel Security Management ( is that sector specific body. This group openly seeks dialogue with the police on subjects of best practice and for the prevention of crime as such alleviates the point made by Gill et al as well (2007, p. 13).

Prioritising People

Starting at a level of technology being secondary to the development and training of staff, Button states in his work (2008, p. 107) that within the industry there are many people who operate in the role of security manager. They state they have a basis of knowledge about the industry and how well versed they are. Given this it is curious that those who could even name an academic journal are low. Taking that further the number who could say they have read a journal even less still (Button, 2008, p. 107). With numbers of those that read quality journals so few and the reluctance to further their own development so prevalent, it is unclear if further training is therefore actually wanted. It could be suggested if it is just the idea of further training that is wanted.
Within the context of Health and Safety is the term the “nominated competent person” as per the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations (1999, section 7.5). Where it states:

“A person shall be regarded as competent for the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (8) where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures referred to in paragragh (1).”

Paragraphs 1 and 8 outline the main tasks within the role and the compliance to law that it requires. To reflect, training and experience equals competent. There is a requirement in law that says that a competent person is trained alongside having experience. It is interesting therefore that, just to be competent in health and safety, you are required to undergo training and yet in the Security Management sector this requirement is not there and yet the industry states that it is a profession. This point is backed up by Larson (1977, p. 51) who stated that to control a market a professional service required the monopolization of competence; also that competence is both quantifiable and demonstrable. An arguable point therefore would be that if a competent person has training and experience, without both of these then they could be classed as incompetent. This is backed up by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED, n.d.) when it describes incompetent as:

“Of inadequate ability or fitness; not having the requisite capacity or qualification; incapable.”

To summarise therefore a person with training and experience the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations says you are competent. Without the requisite qualification The Oxford English Dictionary says you are incompetent. It is perplexing therefore why a statutory requirement for ongoing training throughout the Security sector is not in place given these simple definitions. Business acumen and a competency to understand the language of business, and the lack thereof, have already been seen as a needed quality. It has also been seen as a quality that is missing with the private security industry (Gill, Owen, Lawson, 2010, p. 10). Whereas, within a security team Beck (2007, p. 24-25), states that blending a team is key for success for the manager. A team that has cross sector components including traditional arrest rate aspects would therefore, be the mark of an excellent and diverse team.

One aspect of the role that is a continuous factor is the interaction with customers, what does change however is the understanding of just who those customers are. With greater integration more and more those customers also includes services such as the Police. In their paper Gill et al (2010), spoke with a number of Chief Police Officers. A lack of accountability and leadership from authorities was detailed by them as a major factor in interacting with the Private Security Secto. The paper followed on to detail the amount of barriers to development that outweighed the opportunities for development the rate ran at more than 2:1,Listed were 9 barriers and yet only four opportunities (Gill, Owen, Lawson, 2010, p. 6 -8). One of the key issues was of a direct leadership component to private security personnel from official authorities on how they should be engaged and to levels of accountability.

Training, what is the requirement

A basis, or foundation of understanding comes from Button (2008, p. 78), he states that in organisations where the officers are in-house, the training requirements are down to the employer to decide. He goes on to say that in many cases this training may be the only training that they will receive. In opposition to this argument is the position held by Clifton (2012, p. 89), He states that whilst training is an expense that needs to be borne, properly trained officers actually saves company money. He cites issues such as prevention of legal action as one example. Both points do have validation; the issue potentially with both however has the same basis, a lack of regulation and standardisation of training, This should include Continuous Professional Development, means that whilst training may mean a return on investment and indeed may help in the prevention of countless issues the choice to train still becomes subjective and not objective. Simonsen (1996, p. 231), comments on this subject and mentions the traditionalist type of security manager or as he puts it the “ageing rent-a-cop”. He states that as the industry is moving from reactive to proactive, a greater level of technical knowledge is required. He follows this by stating that school level education and experience is no longer sufficient. This correlates with Button (2008, p. 93) where he speaks of the business astute manager, a manager that is more than just arrest rates.

The level and nature of training in the field of security in general has been historically low. This is promoted through Gill (2007, p. 30), and his work with shoplifters. When interviewed the shoplifters’ state that staff like security were poorly trained. So it is understood that security training is low even at officer or guard level. Officers receive the training to become an SIA Licensed Door Supervisor for example and that is the end. It therefore lacks reasoning how a manager, with no other training or qualification requirement is able to increase responsibility without increasing their depth of knowledge, other than through experience alone.

Taking this point to the next stage, is to understand what is detailed by Gill (2007, p. 33-34). The concept he develops is the need for good risk assessments and the auditing of current measures and gaps to be undertaken. This includes the levels of training and awareness of staff (Gill, 2007 p. 34). As such these audits and assessments need to be completed by someone senior, a manager. Clearly it can also be stated that the person that would undertake these processes needs to have an understanding of why these need to be done. This however is to be understood based on experience alone or a personal desire to learn all without a requirement for further training. On this basis, that you do not need to be qualified to be a security manager it is unclear why anyone would undertake formal training. This appears to be in complete contrast with the industries desire to attain the status of professional.

Evaluating the Perspectives

During the research for this paper a number of people were questioned to understand view points and perspectives. Viewpoints were taken from three angles each looking at the Hotel Security Manager, that of the Managers themselves, the Human Resources Managers and from a leading member of two of the largest security organisations some key points has come to light. The first point that all were agreed on is that there is a lack of recognition in the role. It is also notable that alongside this the lack of a requirement to be qualified perpetuates this point. Furthermore it was understood that there was a lack of correlation with all the differing streams of certificates and qualifications available with little either being relevant or agreed as a preferred form of qualification. It is has been highlighted throughout that the Hotel Security Managers, with a couple of exceptions, did not see the need for training as it was not required. The Human Resources Managers also stated that qualifications were not a requirement within the recruiting process.

The Second point or theme that has come through is that whilst qualifications in hotels were not; required, needed or particularly sort after, to cite Shaw & Williams (1994, p. 142) “uneducated, untrained and unskilled”. It was identified that to move the role onto a professional level would be something that needed to be addressed legislatively. It is also worth considering an alternative course to legislation that would see action more readily. If all organisations like; ASIS, The Security Institute and the Institute of Hotel Security Management did make it a requirement to be qualified to join them, then a precedent would be set that meant more people would be inclined to get qualified to therefore be able to network. As it stands these professional organisations do not require any qualification criteria, just your fee money.

The third point was the comparison with health and safety. Everyone identified it being within the role. Human Resources felt that the two should be together although the hotel security managers sided against this, whilst understood the inevitability of it. What did come through was that to be competent in safety you had to be qualified although security wanted to go further, onto professionalism without qualifying. This coincides with the interviews when only 50% had further security training. Re-visiting the earlier point over competency it is therefore arguable that 50% therefore would not stand up to that benchmark.
Finally, from all points of view; academics, Hotel Security Managers, Human Resources Managers and even the organisations themselves agree that the Security Industry is still without the structure that is required. Taking that back to the specifics of this paper, the hotel security manager, this is certainly true. All areas be it health and safety or recognition refer back to this. However current requirement does not need or want people to drive for this as it directly affects the bottom line. The way forward starts when qualification becomes a prerequisite for associations and roles, and this can only be led from the top although driven throughout the ranks not just for managers.

To Summarise

What was set out, was to examine the relationship between: training, knowledge, regulation and professionalism. It was developed upon hypothesis and reasoning from academics and built through knowledge gained from within the industry. One of the key factors that has arisen through this is the level at which training is both given and required. This has been shown as being much lower than those countries in Europe that we do business with (Button, 2008, p. 102-105). A further point highlighted is the lack of training required further up the responsibility ladder, this coincided with the answers by those that participated .
The inconsistencies between regulation and requirement in Health and Safety in comparison where the HSM role or security management in general currently sits is clear. The health and safety at work act (1974) was published, 42 years later we have an industry that has one main governing body, (IOSH). What has also been evidenced is that there is a structured career and training system whereby one is accredited to the other.

In comparison the Rand Report (1975) stated, amongst other items that training was inadequate. To date training is still inadequate according to Button (2008, p. 113) amongst others. The Private Security Industry Act (2001), whilst did bring in some changes, has not created the same paradigm of change that was needed to answer the issues. This has meant an industry such as the HSM that still does not need to be qualified to take on the role. Simply put, in the 41 years since the Rand Report (1975), the issues present prior, are the same issues and yet the timeline is almost the same.

It has been shown that professionalism without training and qualification is unlikely to happen when key benchmarks have not been reached. Furthermore Burstein (1985, p. 107), stated that supervision and sound training were vital elements to competent security, be that staff or manager, as one cannot happen without the other. Also it has been noted that the Oxford English Dictionary has been referred to on the subject of professionalism and competency and, at this moment the basis of question could arguably be on the later rather than the former. Larson (1977, p. 52) states that professionals and those looking to be considered professional have a vested interested in maintaining standards including that of training. It is clear by respondents from both HSM and HRM that the vested interest is not in place based on a lack of requirement. The executive summary from Gill et al (2007, p. 6), states that although there are opinions that base utilising security it is a cost with little return on investment.

Barnfield (2006, p. 502) states that a security manager is a leader, viewed by peers and subordinates as an expert. This is, as has been stated, an expert who’s training level is almost entirely based on personal desire not requirement. It has also been shown that training tends to be around the health and safety compliance requirement. This in turn is due to the fact that no such similar requirement standards exist for the security of the hotel or our tourists. However the modern Hotel security manager has a diversity of task and a range of undertakings that span a very wide remit. Experience has been highlighted as an important factor from the point of view of the HRM side. That is however, only one of the three factors that make up both the professional and the competent. It is to be noted, Larson (1977, p. 185) hypothesis’ that structural deposition is greater when the aspiring profession uses a collective bargaining perspective. This appears at odds with the current multi association based industry of security that, as a whole finds itself in. The author then follows this up with stating that most professions require a career to be based in “training in professional schools or universities”, (Larson, 1977, p. 229).

This leads back onto the training of Managers within the Security sector that is required. There is a standard of training from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for security staff however they do not enforce or regulate any further mandatory training once a person becomes a Manager aside from the low requirement currently in place. When added to the argument from Button (2008, p. 113), Where training towards a licence to be a security manager has been lacking since the introduction of the PSIA (2001). This compounds the issue, along with the lack of any standardized competency benchmark or Industry wide code of ethics. It therefore becomes inexplicable how, as an industry that did not meet the criteria when researched for the Rand Report, did not meet the criteria of professionalism and training when Button (2008) assessed it and why to date it still hasn’t. Certainly within the role of HSM this seems unlikely to change based on this research possibly it never will unless attitudes and mindsets change. Those that do seek to qualify and train do so at their cost and for little perceptible gain.

To move forwards therefore requires this paradigm to be reversed, unlikely when business is notoriously looking at the bottom line in all areas. Secondly, academics including Larson (1977, p. 74; Button, 2008, p. 203 – 204) include a position whereby the formal association, controls both learning and inclusion and exclusion. With the current range of security associations, yes there is a requirement with most to prove educational accreditation or certification. There does not appear however an absolute to be a member of them in the first place. When that is the case then it is likely to aid in the professionalization of the industry, at the very least the competency.


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ASIS American Society of Industrial Security
CCTV Closed Circuit Television
CPD Continual Professional Development
H&S Health and Safety
HSM Hotel Security Manager
HRM Human Resources Manager
IHSM Institute of Hotel Security Management
IOSH Institute of Occupation Safety and Health
PISA Private Security Industry Act (2001)
NEBOSH National Examination Board for Occupation Safety and Health
SIA Security Industry Authority.