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8 Effective De-escalation Techniques for Security Guards

Any security guard will tell you that confronting angry individuals is one of the most difficult parts of security duty. Learning de-escalation techniques is essential to ensure your own safety and that of others. Thankfully, there are eight successful techniques available to security guard based on proven methods.

1. Listening
Listening to an angry individual allows them to vent and reach a state of balance. While it seems easy enough, the ability to listen requires training. Once you can listen the right way, de-escalation becomes much easier.

2. Acknowledgment
Recognizing what an angry person is trying to say validates their emotions. It shows them that their passion is legitimate, but their behavior is not. Once they understand this, they can reassess their actions.

3. Agreement
Cooperation with the actual cause of their anger eliminates resistance. However, one must not confuse agreement with validating lousy behavior, so it’s essential when agreeing with someone to present alternative solutions.

4. Apology
An apology for legitimate grievances helps with de-escalation by acknowledging that something wrong has happened. If no apparent problems exist, security officers may apologize for the roused individual’s irritability. Apologizing shows them that the officer is empathetic to their difficulties, potentially decreasing hostility.

5. Clarification
Angry inmates or irate individuals may have trouble articulating their points, so officers need to seek clarification. Asking for an explanation through questions or by paraphrasing their statements allows the individual to think clearly about what they’re saying.

6. Choices and Consequences
Officers must enforce rules, but it’s important not to resort to outright authoritarianism. Instead, they should inform individuals that their decisions have consequences that they must accept. Better choices equal better outcomes, and that is entirely on the individual.

7. Sequence Questioning
When a person doesn’t want to talk, one trick is to start asking them surprise questions, or having them repeat the sequence of events. This tactic can divert their attention and open up a new window for conflict resolution.

8. Suggestion
Angry individuals are unlikely to follow demands. When that happens, officers may engage them with “question statements.” Rather than ordering an irate individual, provide him with a choice. For example, instead of saying, “Will you talk to me?” ask, “Would you rather explain the situation to me or to the other officer?” This tactic allows individuals to obey commands unconsciously. These suggestions are less likely to trigger combative responses than direct mandates.

De-escalation is an essential skill for any security officer. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge as a security guard, discover online classes with the National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. Our courses will help you understand the psychology behind conflict resolution and other scenarios. For more information, contact us or call 1-800-730-NITA.

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