Protective Security Policy

The Primacy of Practical Application


Why good paperwork is not the measure of a security system’s quality & effectiveness




In the realm of security policy delivery there is an undeniable emphasis on the importance of paperwork.

Documentation, plans, and procedures are the backbone of any system, serving as the blueprint for achieving objectives. However, the principal approach is to recognise that no matter how comprehensive and well-crafted the paperwork may be, the ultimate judgment of a system’s effectiveness hinges on its practical application and delivery.

The private sector should not become focused on creating hundreds of pages of security information to display how good or not their protective security systems are for 21st Century Threats, such as terrorism and hybrid events.

Organisations must focus on the practical delivery and application of security systems.  The true measure of a system is how people respond to any given situation.


Real World Impact

That principle underscores the significance of turning paperwork (theory) into practice, translating ideas into tangible results, and gauging a system’s effectiveness by its real-world impact.


The Power of Paperwork

Effective paperwork is not to be underestimated. It provides structure, clarity, and a roadmap for any security system. When paperwork is well-drafted, it serves several vital functions:

Clarity of Purpose. Documentation helps articulate the objectives and goals of a system. It ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page, understanding what is to be achieved and how.

Accountability. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities within paperwork hold individuals and teams accountable for their actions, fostering a culture of responsibility.

Risk Mitigation. Comprehensive documentation anticipates potential challenges and outlines strategies for mitigation, thereby enhancing the system’s resilience.

Resource Allocation. Efficient resource allocation, including budgeting and scheduling, is made possible through well-structured paperwork, optimising the system’s chances of success.


The Limitations of Paperwork

While paperwork is undoubtedly a vital tool for system planning and management, it has inherent limitations:

Theoretical vs. Practical Knowledge. Paperwork represents theoretical knowledge, while practical application demands experience and expertise. The real world often introduces variables and nuances that cannot be foreseen in documents.

Human Variables. Human beings are central to any system, and their behaviour, motivations, and adaptability cannot be entirely predicted by paperwork. Effective management requires understanding and responding to these variables.

Unforeseen Circumstances. No amount of planning can account for every possible scenario. Unforeseen events or changing conditions may render even the best paperwork inadequate.

Adaptation. Systems must evolve to remain relevant and effective. Rigid adherence to initial paperwork can hinder necessary adaptation and improvement.


The Crucial Role of Practical Application

Practical application is where theory meets reality. It is the crucible where the efficacy of a system is truly tested. Here’s why practical application is paramount:

Measurable Outcomes. Practical application provides tangible results that can be measured against the goals outlined in the paperwork. It is only through practical execution that we can gauge a system’s success.

Problem-Solving. Real-world challenges necessitate adaptation and problem-solving. A system that can effectively address unexpected issues demonstrates its resilience and utility.

Feedback Loop. Practical application generates valuable feedback, allowing for iterative improvements. This feedback loop is essential for refining systems over time.

User Experience. End-users, whether they are employees or customers, judge a system based on their experiences with it. These experiences can significantly impact the system’s reputation and acceptance.

Sustainability. The approach must be simple and capable of adapting and empower people to act to changing circumstances.


Conclusion & Further Reading

While good paperwork is a necessary foundation for any protective security system, it is not the sole determinant of its success or failure.

Practical application is the litmus test that reveals whether a system can achieve its intended goals in the real world. Effective management requires a balanced approach, where paperwork is complemented by agility, adaptability, and a commitment to delivering results in practice.

Therefore, it is essential to recognise that no matter how good the paperwork is, the ultimate judgment of a security system hinges on its actual delivery and practical application.

How do you create a system that empowers all stakeholders and can deliver effective outcomes in real-world situations?  The answer to this question is covered in another article, covering real-world impact.  Click this link to learn about assessing and improving the real world impact of protective security systems


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About the Author:

Tony Gledhill, a seasoned protective security consultant and founder of Mildot Group. With extensive international experience, Tony has designed and executed security strategies for leading energy and construction organisations operating in high-risk and complex environments.   His private sector expertise extends to training international government protection teams responsible for VIPs and critical assets, plus thousands of armed & unarmed private security guards. Leveraging over 16 years in the private sector after a distinguished 22-year military career, he brings a wealth of real-world knowledge.

Armed with real world operational insight, he knows what can be achieved with reasonable and practicable security solutions.