what is a security officer?

As a security officer, you usually work in a team to ensure the safety of your location, the people working there, and any valuables that are on site. You carry out active patrols in all weathers, maintain access controls for vehicles and foot traffic, and operate monitoring equipment. You are one of the public faces of your organisation, and you maintain its reputation by greeting staff and visitors politely and with authority. 

You inspect your assigned site's buildings and equipment and make sure that all doors, windows, fence perimeters, gates and assets are secure. You work in shifts to maintain security round the clock, responsible for checking that exits are closed and locked, with equipment and valuables stored safely. You complete daily reports with observations of activities on-site, and are alert and attentive at all times.

what does a security officer do?

As a security officer, you are a first responder to incidents, dealing with distress calls, disruptive activities, or emergency alarms quickly and appropriately. You will deal with trespass, suspicious behaviour, accidents, safety and fire incidents and take the appropriate actions. You are responsible for managing traffic into and out of the site, permitting or refusing entry, and restraining intruders. 

Would working as a security officer suit your teamwork and interpersonal skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a security officer role.

security officer jobs

security officer salary

According to National Careers Service, security officers earn an average of £18,000 to £32,000. Your salary depends on hours and shift work, as well as experience and the type of company that you work for. Prior experience in the police or armed forces tends to be beneficial in salary negotiations. You could also earn more if you take training or development opportunities, for example, through the International Professional Security Association.

Smiling male looking away wearing yellow jacket and walkie-talkie signing where to go
Smiling male looking away wearing yellow jacket and walkie-talkie signing where to go

types of security officers

As a security officer, your options for roles and environments are varied:

  • warehouse security: your primary responsibility is access control (of both vehicles and foot traffic) in order to protect whatever the warehouse holds. This role often requires close monitoring (CCTV surveillance) and coordination of patrol routes and schedules.
  • general security: you protect public and commercial buildings, guarding against trespass and theft. You could be part of a team securing a single building or covering a large worksite. Alternatively, you could be working alone as part of a single-cover shift pattern.
  • corporate security: you are as much of a public face of your employer as the reception staff. Skilled at dealing with both employees and customers, you may also have completed specialist training in dealing appropriately with high-value clients in stressful situations.
  • hospitality security: your locations are entertainment and concert venues. You deal with attendees who are drunk or aggressive and medical emergencies that require fast action. You are responsible for crowd control, compliance with fire safety regulations, as well as maintaining a safe environment for all other individuals present.
  • vehicle security: as a crew member of a vehicle transporting valuables, you might be working either directly or as a third party for banks, jewellers, and other organisations who require high-value goods to be protected.

working as a security officer

Want to know what it's like to work as a security officer? Read on to find out about your responsibilities, work environment, colleagues and schedule.


education and skills

Although there are no specific educational requirements to be a security officer, some level of formal schooling will be an advantage as the role involves filling in reports and other reading and writing tasks. What you will need, however, is a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence to work legally as a security officer.

three colleagues having a conversation at breaktime
three colleagues having a conversation at breaktime


FAQs about working as a security officer

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