It is very clear that the private policing sector is growing rapidly even more so than the public policing sector. In general, to become a public police officer in Canada is rather challenging for most people. Individuals who want to be a public police officer go through myriads of checks, clearances, interviews, trainings, and above all they go through an emotional roller coaster. However, a lot of people choose private policing as a stepping stone in becoming a real police officer. The hiring process for the security guard position is a lot less stressful and a lot easier. The requirements are very minimal and it is not even comparable to real police training. I have noticed that security companies hire just about everyone for the position regardless of their age, gender, height, and weight. This could have good and bad sides. It is good in a sense that they are less discriminatory in their hiring process and seem to give people an equal amount of chance of getting the job. However, it could mean a bad thing as they might hire someone who is looking for that position for the wrong reasons. Van Buuren mentions about occupational values which could be equal to a corruption problem. For example, I have two friends who work in a certain security company (I prefer not to name the company). From what I have seen, they both like to work mainly special events such as concerts, and football games because they take cash from people who do not have tickets and lets them “slide in”. This is a pure corruption in my eyes. Also, Van Buuren talks about “Accountability” which doesn’t seem to affect the private policing sector on a same level as it affects the police departments. The private security guards go through a very minimal training and tend to overestimate their rights. I have been volunteering for the VPD for 5 years now and I have seen my fair share of misguided security guards who seem to think that they are the real police officers. Just like the Pivot society survey revealed, I have seen those security guards yelling and labelling homeless people (homeless looking people got yelled at too) and kicking them out of public spaces. It is a well- known problem, but nothing seems to be done in order to re- educate those rude security guards who seem to think that they are the “real deal”.
In conclusion, changing the legislation alone is not going to do anything unless the company trainings are developed further. These million different companies really should re- train their employees and make their selection process a bit harder.
PIVOT Legal Society (2009). Security Before Justice: A Study of the impacts of private security on homeless and under- housed Vancouver Residents.
Van Buuren, J. (2010). “Private Security Ethics: Reintroducing Public Values”, in M. den Boer & E. Kolthoff (eds) Ethics and Security. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, pp. 165-187.