Canadian Security Magazine

Book review: The Canadian Security Professionals Guide

By Derek Knights   

Features Book Review Opinion

There’s a new book for security personnel and right in the Preface, it’s described as “a helpful practical tool that references Canadian best practices and laws”¦” And it is. 

In fact, from a Canadian security perspective (and I’d guess almost any country’s) it’s the only book in town. 

Security practitioners have historically had a stapled bundle of photocopied rules, ad hoc post orders, possibly a well-thumbed binder, and often only the painful memories of past mistakes as a guide to the job. 

The book, by Christopher Menary, is The Canadian Security Professionals Guide, published by Carswell.  Menary is an experienced security trainer based in Toronto, and sits on a Canadian government committee that addresses security guard training requirements. He is also the president of the Centre for Security Training & Management, in Toronto. He is well-versed in this topic, and the book’s detailed content confirms it.

He aims this book at the security guard in any environment, commercial, industrial, residential ”“ and discusses these fields and others in the book’s opening chapter.  What follows are another three dozen or so chapters of duties and requirements, often to an extremely granular degree.

It’s a valuable addition to any security desk or bookshelf. I hope the next edition, though, changes the binding method; it’s bound using a cumbersome coil the size of a bike rack — I’d like to see it in a mini three-ring binder so occasional revisions can be inserted.  And I hope this book does become a standard in the industry and reach a 2nd edition for two reasons: one) the industry needs it, and two) it needs some work.

This book’s downside is not in content (or even binding) but in editing and formatting. Well, perhaps some content; for example, it’s over 730 pages and about 100 of those, Appendix D, reprints the “Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” right down to dozens of pages of scientific names. It’s not necessary for its intended audience. Also, listing each province’s trespass and security guard legislation might be superfluous — though some national companies might like it; here is the value of the three-ring — it’s easier to catch updates and changes which, with all provinces/territories in the mix, could be annually.

Editing and formatting throughout the book is inconsistent. Writing style runs from early high school to post university level, indicating several contributors. Some attention to modulating this throughout the document would make it read more easily. The same goes for point-of-view; sometimes the text reads, “the security officer should check”¦” and other times it reads, “you should check”¦”  Again, this is likely due to a consolidation of multiple versions or different vintages of source documentation.

This industry still has a long way to go in improving its image in the eye of the general public. Clients are often too cost-conscious to worry about image, and the demeanour and appearance of the guards often reflect this. It becomes a spiralling self-fulfilling prophecy.  The industry often seems to be the last one in line to set the standards it’ll live by. This book can go a long way in turning this around, particularly in light of wishy-washy government regulation or the lack thereof.

In an early chapter, Menary describes the importance of “appearance” for the security guard ”“ be neat, clean, polished, avoid general sloppiness, and be confident. His book should present the same sort of image. It’s almost there. I hope everyone in this industry buys a copy and supports it. It deserves a second shot.

The Canadian Security Professionals Guide
Christopher J. Menary
730 pages
Publisher: CARSWELL
Canadian Price: $75

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