Delivering Quality Assurance with Robust, Reliable and Repeatable Training and Testing

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Written by Head of Covert Testing & Quality Assurance, Andy Mason

Critical to effective security personnel is that of outcome-focused training and qualification that progressively evolves with the changing nature of threat across all sectors. To facilitate robust preparedness against threat, in the first instance, training needs should be analysed against security objectives, and exacting standards met through reliable delivery of training with appropriate and thorough assessment criteria. Without question, initial training must be followed by a programme of quality assurance to assess individual and collective performance against the required standards. Quality assurance through objective testing, assessment, and prompt corrective intervention, where necessary, plays a crucial role in the maintenance of a solid security ecosystem.

The extent of shortfall in effective training and testing to maximise preparedness is proportional to the level of consequence. Frequent testing informs the need for refresher training and is of unparalleled importance to ensuring the desired performance is delivered at the time of a response to a security threat. Training and testing should provide the knowledge, skills and behaviour required for security personnel to remain constantly alert, capable of immediate and correct response and escalation, and to continuously improve and evolve through practice and exercise.

As discussed in our previous blog, a programme of testing utilising covert or overt methods provides a complete picture of vulnerabilities and risks across an entire organisation based on metrics that are collected on a regular basis. Depending on an organisation’s security objectives and training needs, both covert and overt testing methods have their place in silo or in combination to deliver robust quality assurance.

A programme of covert testing is an effective method to identify performance trends, points of failure, and causal factors and provides a clear picture of how trained personnel are applying their knowledge and skills to their roles and responsibilities within the security ecosystem. Regular overt testing and/or toolbox training facilitates more individual development, especially at the more basic level, and there is opportunity to understand an individual’s capabilities, areas of improvement and potential for development.

During 3D CT scanner training, our trainers share the required higher level of technical knowledge in unison with advanced training software. Personnel are taught machine enhancements, how to dice and splice and how to read rotating imagery; performance data, such as screening interaction and decision making, is recorded and assessed so that appropriate measures for improvement can be implemented.

Whilst technology, such as artificial intelligence, plays an increasing role in the security space and beyond, the human factor cannot be devalued. Human interaction and observation, person-to-person engagement, bringing security threats to life in training sessions, and development of personnel’s skills to work hand in hand with technology are critical to providing a robust, reliable and repeatable operational performance standard of security personnel.

No matter how advanced the equipment is, responsibility lies with the operator to be aware of the use and aims of the equipment and its capabilities. An advanced CCTV camera system can be programmed to spot anomalies in the pattern of life it is trained to recognise, such as a large crowd of people moving on the concourse of a city train station. If the camera spots a static item or someone running, the camera will bring these to the user’s attention. Whilst such advanced systems can bring something suspicious to the user’s attention, it cannot make the decision to respond nor act. Therefore, personnel need to be trained to respond to whatever has triggered the technology, because if it is left unmanaged, it could lead to the very consequences that the technology has been put in place to prevent.

In the case of Behavioural Detection Awareness (BDA) training, technology provides additional data points to reinforce human observation, but technology cannot act. With the right training, human instinct and intuition are sharpened to detect and read cues that could indicate criminal behaviour or the intent to harm, such as nervous facial expressions, a sweating brow in the middle of winter or someone carrying a bulging rucksack. Training also instils the confidence in personnel to be decisive and act upon their developed instinct.

In our fast-moving world, where the wider landscape is constantly evolving and influencing change in specific sectors, the nature and risk of threat to security and prevention and mitigation measures are constantly evolving, too. There is no time for organisations and personnel to be static; a continued rota of training, retraining and improvement are crucial to quality assured security standards.

To find out more about our security training courses and our Quality Assurance services, including covert and overt testing, speak to our security experts at or on +44 (0) 1302 288360, or visit our Training and Quality Assurance pages.