Increasing attacks on police officers and other security personnel are deeply troubling. It is unmistakable that there has been a stark increase in the threats around the lives, livelihoods, and reputations of people who risk their lives for the safety of others. These brave men and women include both police officers and private security personnel.
The current environment is creating a lot of mistrust and animosity towards law enforcement and security personnel. Whether it is the economic misery driven by the pandemic, or the racial and political tensions being fueled by social-media, the lives of security people have gotten more difficult and dangerous in the last few months.
Threats facing police officers and other security personnel
An enormous increase in truly horrific incidents of attacks against security guards and officers are being witnessed across the country. Just a few weeks ago, a federal officer was shot. For some time now, police officers have been dealing a lot more than just armed assailants. They are feeling isolated and are increasingly finding themselves mischaracterized, devalorized, and de-humanized on the news and on social media.
The same is true for private security personnel. In almost half of the countries in the world, private security workers far exceed the number of police officers. Be it home security, banks, small businesses and more recently in schools of all levels, security is enlisted to ensure the safety for all. Given those odds, they are much more likely to be in harm’s way. But in the past few months, in many parts of the country, security guards have been at the wrong end of angry mobs that were targeting a business or a shop that the guards were trying to protect.
Besides the obvious attempts to inflict bodily harm on officers and security personnel, there are other threats being made with the intent to affect their mental well being. These include the blatant abuse, as well as threats that many officers and security agencies receive on social media.
An unsustainable scenario
Maintenance of law and order and assurance of safety towards life and property are the fundamental tenets of how a civilized society functions. This is what keeps any society from devolving into complete chaos. Considering the gravity of the job that security personnel undertake, and the scary frame of mind they live in, it is important for people to realize that targeting them, dehumanizing them, and making them more fearful of their lives, can only make the situation worse.
What can be the way forward?
The way forward is through communication and education. There are a lot of issues that security personnel deal with on a day-to-day basis. These include physical injuries, mental trauma from dangerous work experiences, long shifts, sleep-deprivation, and a host of other health issues. There is a need to come together and find what solutions can help, and further, providing employees with training on workplace violence and verbal de-escalation. Continuing education and preparedness for a variety of situations can also assist security personnel with controlling encounters and making the correct choices to resolve each problem fairly, and most importantly, peacefully