Security practitioners’ perspectives of the Alberta Basic Security Training programme

  • Glen William Kitteringham

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The uniformed security guard industry has experienced tremendous global growth in the past five decades and there is every indication it will continue. Many government and private sector bodies have created mandatory and recommended training programmes and syllabi to equip guards for their growing and often complex duties. There has, however, been little research into the effectiveness of these programmes. Poor or non-existent training can lead to a number of issues including poor job performance, low salaries, unethical or criminal behaviours, high staff turnover, increased risk of harm to guards and the public, exposure to liability for both employees and employers, reputational harm, and outright abuse of rights by employees and the public.

This research sought to examine the relevance of the Alberta Basic Security Training (ABST) programme introduced by the Alberta Government, Canada in 2011, and practitioners’ perspectives of its effectiveness, with a view to making recommendations to enhance the programme. Through documentary analysis, the ABST was first compared and contrasted globally with 35 government and industry training programmes. Guard duties were then examined from the research community, government and security industry to enable comparison between their findings and guards’ actual duties. This examination further explored guard, trainer, manager, and contract management perspectives of ABST effectiveness. 24 semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain direct feedback on both the delivery and effectiveness of the training programme
Findings include that the ABST content is as good or better than many of its global counterparts and is in alignment with general guard duties. And while the training time of 40 hours is far less than the 160+ hours required in some countries, it is far more than in many other jurisdictions studied. Programme improvements include increasing delivery time, reducing duplicated material, enhancing trainer qualifications, improving student language requirements, increasing active learning tactics, reducing licensing wait times and involving security management expertise in enhancing overall programme effectiveness.
Date of AwardSept 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorAlison Wakefield (Supervisor) & Tom Ellis (Supervisor)

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