n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - A use-of-force preventative training model for law enforcement and security practitioners

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The private security industry plays an ever increasing role in protecting people and assets globally. The use of force in the private security environment is an area of concern for many groups and individuals. Role-players range from individual officers, who may have to put their lives in harmâ??s way whilst carrying out their duties, to regulators tasked with enforcing legislative compliance. There are various points of view and levels of concern regarding use of force by private security officers. Incidents where innocent civilians were killed by private security contractors are of most concern but equally, incidents involving crowd controllers (colloquially referred to as 'bouncers' or 'doormen') who may use force on a nightly basis to manage rowdy patrons, are just as important (and sometimes just as lethal). With the roles of traditional policing and the private security industry becoming more inter-related every day, the use of force by the private security industry cannot be ignored. The core concerns regarding use of force are twofold. Firstly is the issue of the use of excessive force and secondly is the need to constantly enhance the safety levels for all parties (security officers, assailants and innocent bystanders). Addressing these concerns is impossible without a systematic structure that ensures officers are adequately trained and equipped for the job-related activities that they must conduct. This research indicated the need not only for an integrated system of training and acclimatisation (familiarisation) to the use of force, but also for a model of assessment that measures use-of-force competency. The perishable nature of use-of-force skills means that training should expand to include on-going refresher and skills training as well as regular competency assessments. The need to train officers for the 'real thing' is of paramount importance. They need to be taught to manage adrenal response in order to perform effectively under the extreme duress of an attack situation. Existing force continua provide guidelines for use-of-force but fail to provide recommendations on how officers should be trained to actually apply the guidelines (in physical and psychological terms) that most continua prescribe.

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