Why Have Different Software for Police and Security?
By Ben Hale
While the difficult jobs of law enforcement and private security can differ greatly, the two protective services often have similar needs and pain points. Police and security officers are both held to high standards of performance and recordkeeping. Both police officers and security professionals need software that helps get the job done efficiently and effectively. However, law enforcement agencies are ultimately accountable to the public while security agencies answer to one or more private employers. This influences what information has to be recorded and in what way. The differences in law enforcement and security workflow and processes mean the software has to meet specific organizational needs and may not have the exact same features.
How Police and Security Software are Similar
Police and security needs meet at records. Both groups are expected to keep detailed, accurate records for incidents, names, and vehicles. That’s why the same framework that underpins a quality police Records Management System (RMS) should be used in solutions for security incident management as well. Software that is designed for security may include different vernacular and could expand or omit information present on a police record. Nevertheless, the basic need for a database facilitating accurate reporting is present in both law enforcement and private security.
Where they Start to Differ
Beyond basic recordkeeping, the software needs of law enforcement and private security begin to part ways. Police departments require robust databases of criminal and other records that security operations do not have access to by law. Additionally, security officers often have to track information that a police officer would not need to worry about. Some security firms conduct routine maintenance checks. Others require security employees to keep a daily log and group their daily activities into shifts. Security organizations need software that expedites the process of gathering and reporting this kind of information. For private security firms that have many clients (not just one, like an in-house security operation), keeping client information up-to-date helps streamline officer workflow.
Just as the needs of law enforcement agencies depend greatly on the communities they serve, the needs of security firms vary as well. A security organization’s needs may be unique enough to require a measure of customization in their software. Customizable code tables, “nature” categories, drop-down menus, and other features can help security operations adapt their software to the particular work they do.
At a glance, the records management needs of law enforcement and security seem nearly identical. The big-picture goals are comparable. The two operations both require detailed recordkeeping and a degree of customization. However, when it comes down to the details recorded, the needs of police and security diverge significantly. Software built on a similar framework, but with the necessary adaptability, will serve both protective services and help improve efficiency.
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