Physical security


Receptionists and guards

Control visitors and deter threats with receptionists and guards.

If your organisation has regular public or client contact, you should have receptionists or guards to greet, assist, and direct visitors.

Guards deter threats to information and physical assets and can provide a rapid response to security incidents.

Follow good practice

Receptionists and guards:

  • should be able to easily lock all access to the reception and non-public areas in the event of an emergency
  • may only perform other duties, such as CCTV and alarm monitoring, if it does not interfere with their primary
  • task of controlling building access through the reception area. If performing other duties, they should be suitably trained and competent
  • must be able to lock away all valuable or sensitive material (for example, paperwork, keys) if they need to temporarily leave the vicinity
  • must have a method of calling for immediate assistance if threatened, for instance a duress alarm or radio, as they are most at risk from disgruntled members of the public
  • must hold security clearances (and briefings) at the highest level of information to which they may reasonably be expected to have incidental contact with and in line with the facility with which they work.

Your organisation must:

  • provide receptionists and guards with detailed visitor control instructions
  • identify any security concerns for receptionists, guards, and people using your reception areas in a security
  • risk assessment and mitigate concerns
  • ensure that contracted guards are licensed under the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010.

Out-of-hours guarding

Guards and patrols may be used separately or along with other security measures.

Base your requirement for guards on the level of threat and any other security systems or equipment that are already in place. That will guide your decisions on what their duties are and how often they need to carry out patrols.

Security zone requirements

You can use out-of-hours guarding or patrols instead of alarm systems in zones 2 to 3. These guards may be permanently on site or visit facilities as part of regular mobile patrolling arrangements.

You must not use guards instead of an approved security alarm system in zones 4 and 5. However, guard patrols can be used as an extra measure.

You may use out-of-hours guard services in response to alarms in all zones. The response time should be within the delay period given by the physical security controls.

The highest level of assurance is given by 24 hours a day, seven days a week on-site guards who can respond immediately to any alarms.

Where guard patrols are used instead of an alarm system, patrols should be performed at random intervals. For zone 3, base the intervals on an your risk assessment but make sure they are within every 4 hours. For other areas, base the intervals on your risk assessment.

Guards should check all security cabinets and access points as part of their patrols.

Also refer to Supply chain security


Page last modified: 6/11/2018