Simple Guidelines about choosing a Watchman

It was one of those days, when something that is always been right in front of you catches your attention for the first time. Today it was the security perch at my sister-in-law’s place.  He had personalized the security perch totally it had morphed into a tree house.

Growing up I remember my relatives in the city having an outhouse which housed a family. The husband would be the watchman and man Friday while the wife would help out in the house. Then came the tradition of the “watchman” of buildings, who would be the lift attendant and again man Friday for the building he would collect the mail, help senior citizens do the ironing whatever. But he would be called the watchman. His wife would help out as domestic help in many houses.

With increased outsourcing to security firms and gated societies suddenly the familiar Raju, or Mahadeva is replaced by the Nepalese Bahadur or Bir Bahadur with a Ghos or Bhose babu from Bengal running the racket. Looking at the perch at Pune and the general way the dynamics work I wondered …about  the actual job profile of a watchman/security guard

The primary duty is prevent illegal activity at the place of employment. He is also responsible for the protection of his clients or the residents of the building from harm. Whether  the watchman wears a uniform, works from a security desk, carries arms depends on the place and nature of his employer.

The primary role of a watchman is surveillance. Being alert and quick in detecting any attempts of damage to property or harm to residence. If the watchman is at a security desk he usually gets to monitor through a surveillance camera strategically placed through the premises. The presence of a watchman could offer some measure of deterrence to a potential unlawful activity. It is also essential that the security personal are proactive in suspected violation. This puts the watchman as the first to respond to incidents and emergencies. It becomes the responsibility of the security personal to inform the police or medical services of the incident or emergency. The watchman also administrative and public relation work, considering he is the first person the visitor encounters when they enter a building. The watchman needs to be approachable, knowledgeable and be able to provide necessary guidance. The watchman also maintains the record of all activities observed on the premises to keep the employer apprised of the security situation and advice on any further measure.

On day to day basis the responsibilities of a watchman would include

  1. Patrolling one or number of premises.
  2. Monitoring the activity within and in the vicinity of the premises through observation either through direct vision or a CCTV.
  3. Signing in the visitors to the premises.
  4. Sorting post and checking packages.
  5. Monitoring the traffic in and out of the building.
  6. Taking action if there is a potential disruptive situation.
  7. Taking charge in a incident or emergency
  8. Communicating relevant information.
  9. Guiding visitors.
  10. Coordinating with fellow security officers and colleagues.
  11. Handling watch dogs if necessary.
  12. Writing reports for the police, emergency service or courts.
  13. Handling general reception duties.
  14. Creating and managing access cards.
  15. Managing car-parks.

Currently the only qualification for being a watchman seems to be knowing one, or being connected to one, so you know there is a job that you can fill.

However if there are some skills that can make things more efficient. In UK, knowledge of reasonable level of written language is a must. Also people working in private sector or security organizations require having a security Industry authority front line licence. This license is given after a training course. In India the only license seems a Nepali passport.

Like all profession working as a security officer comes with a required skill set that help

  1. Reasonable level of fitness and strength.
  2. Being trustworthy
  3. Having reasonably good communication skills.
  4. An ability to deal with confrontational or disagreeable people.
  5. The ability to be flexible, responsible and respond to emergencies.
  6. Basic IT skills and first aid knowledge.
  7. Ability to follow instructions.
  8. The ability to work individually and as part of a team.
  9. Should be able to work with technical equipment.
  10. Should not have a criminal record.
  11. Should be polite and approachable.

Many countries put a seal on the working hours to 48hrs a week, with over-night work on a shift basis. Often there training to upgrade skill sets.

As we do not have regulations as yet, the least we can do is check these out when we hire or accept the next Bir-Bahadur that the friendly neighborhood security suggests

tree house pune
The Perch that provoked thinking
  • Ensure that the person has no criminal background. This might be difficult unless we have regulations in place.
  • Have a proper interview and check the person’s interpersonal skills.
  • Make sure the person can speak the local language, and have fairly good writing test.
  • Make sure that your candidate passes the drug and alcohol screening test.

It makes sense to register the person’s detail in the local police station.









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