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Safety is a combination of knowledge, experience and good will

Стефан Ганков, снимака в СОД Варна

Safety is a combination of knowledge, experience and good will

Stefan Gankov has been with SOD Varna since its establishment on 27.05.1997. He is one of the company’s foundation team. He has serious professional experience in security business acquired in the system of the Ministry of the Interior as well. Mr. Gankov is keen on team work since the experience and development of SOD Varna have shown that this is a key factor in offering high-quality security services.  

What is your opinion on the quality of security activity in view of the characteristics of your business – those of them that distinguish you from the competitors on the market and make you a reliable and preferred partner?

The issue of security services quality is a complex one, because there is no regulated standard in place in our country for a security company to adhere to. In my opinion, the absence of formal standards is a drawback. At the same time, the components of the service which in their aggregate are a quality assessment are things that differ from region to region. Taking account of the specifics of the environment and the security business we engage in, this may probably be another reason for the absence of a general standard. The quality of service, when it comes to security technologies, depends in the first place on the quality of the technical system transmitting signals of a potential emergency event. In this regard we have seen enough of both exceptionally good and ‘zero’ solutions. I should point out that good solutions are achieved in accord, and through interaction, with the client.  We at SOD Varna endeavor to use the most reliable technical home and office security equipment and we are always ready to find the optimum variant – the best solution in the particular situation. We employ a very large set of security systems and it is important to say that we have a specialized department developing own solutions in compliance with all legal regulations. We seek to achieve a fair price for the client without compromising his safety. 

Norms of high standard and proper technical equipment which you yourselves set as requirement…What do you mean?

Both the potential and ability of the security company to react to a security signal are determinant for the quality of the security activity. You may have a security alarm system with very high parameters, but if there is nobody to see the signal and react on time…? We have fixed 3 minutes’ time for reacting to a signal and I can say for sure that this is an exceptionally high efficiency. We are ready even now to fix 2,5 minutes in our contracts, but we have set ourselves the goal of taking them down to two. For the purpose, we will keep on renovating and increasing our car fleet and investing in our employees. Everything in the company is connected – like in a living organism. Yes, we can reach the point of transmitting the alarm signal within 3 minutes, but it takes a well trained team to see, trace and deliver the signal to the patrol team.  And we have such a team. 10 people at the alert monitoring center monitor each site secured by us every second in real time. We have a system with software providing quarterly complete and detailed information based on which we investigate at length each situation that has occurred. In this way we analyze the figures, but anyway, each individual case of averted risk and signal is discussed by all units of Security Activities Department at daily briefings. We’ve been able to comply with the 3-minutes reaction time in 99% of the cases. We have developed this internal monitoring over the past 10 years. Since the number of clients is growing, much more information is piled up which has to be analyzed in order that we can offer effective solutions in a changing environment.

Years ago you were elected member of the advisory board for assessing the competencies of the personnel engaged in the sector of security activities. What are the qualities of a well trained security guard? What is the professional standard in the sector?

They are complex. There are specialized security guards, divided into several categories; there is specialized managerial staff, because the organization of this kind of activity is different; there are technical specialists as well. The first main condition is for them to have all the necessary knowledge in the legal sphere, determining the activity, and to have organizational skills in order to be able to apply such knowledge. Our work is team work; no ‘Rambos’ who think they can tackle all problems on their own are welcome here. What is important is the coordinated action of all units which is conductive to the results achieved by us. Team work is the most important condition for the successful security activity of SOD Varna.

Are there any factors that nowadays affect negatively the security sphere and the manned guarding, in particular, and what other factors cultivate positive professional qualities of the persons engaged in the sector?

It is very important that the position of ‘security guard’ is not taken advantage of. The security guard is not a friend of the car owner he is accompanying, carrying a gun by pure chance. The security guard is a person appointed under an employment contract to carry out specific security and safety tasks under plans and instructions on field work worked out and approved for the particular location. The security guard has attended the relevant training courses and is aware of his duties and statutory rights. According to the law each security guard must undergo an initial 40 hours training  at a licensed vocational training center. Then each of the companies should provide its own training for its employees in view of its internal rules and requirements on the quality of work. We have worked out our own training program which is renewed each new training year. We add new instructions following an analysis of the various events and this is the Bible of our security guards. We laid the beginning of this instruction manual as early as 1997.

The instructions change depending on the technical preparedness and level of training of the counterparty. The team is obliged to take them into account. Of course, there are cases when the security guard acts on the spot depending on the situation without following the instructions… If the result is good, we analyze the situation and decide on how his useful and professional action can be written down as a supplementary instruction. Our manual is a source of stories for the authors of criminal novels…

What are the decisions on management level on providing ongoing professional training for the security staff of SOD Varna?

By the end of January of each year we review the training programs for all employees of the company, both security guards and administrative staff.  All departments – from ‘Marketing’ and ‘Accounting’ to ‘Security’ – have training programs in place. We endeavor to create possibilities for adequate career realization of each officer and employee of the company within the frames of his/her professional competency and work load. This means that we are to provide a possibility for our employees to realize their professional ambitions at their workplace.

Safety is … The clients’ safety is a combination of plenty of knowledge, plenty of experience and plenty of good will.