Security Officer
Scottish Parliament

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Pauline M

00:00:02 I’m Pauline M and I’m a Security Officer in Scottish Parliament.

00:00:08 It mainly involves making sure the building is secure and also the people working in it, but also customer care, cos we’re first point of contact for people coming in.

00:00:17 It’s, they’re twelve hour shifts we do, four days on, four days off, we do work a lot of weekends, but it doesn’t really bother, you get used to it, you just sort of have to rearrange your life so that you go out during the week instead. (laughs)

00:00:33 Oh I don’t have an average day, every day is different, doesn’t matter what day you come in, it’s completely different, you don’t know where, what position you’re gonna start with, you don’t know where you’re gonna finish, anything can change throughout the day, you know, if something happens then you might get pulled from one post and have to go someplace else. But, so there really isn’t an average day, I couldn’t describe what normally happens you know.

00:00:57 I actually saw it advertised in the paper. I had just left my previous job I was a riding instructor, so I decided that this is time for a career change and my dad was in security as well so I thought, sounds like quite a good job, he’s always enjoyed it, so I saw it in the paper and applied and thankfully I got it.

00:01:18 I’ve been working with horses for, since I was about five, you know, going helping out at the local stables and, I just sort of progressed from being a helper to working part time while I was still at school and then I had a full time job waiting for me and I was there for about four and a half years.

00:01:35 I just, I sort of realised that I was never gonna be able to afford my own house or be able to afford a car or anything like, it was mainly the money that I realised you know, I’m not making enough to be able to keep a career out of this.

00:01:51 I just didn’t realise how little you get paid as a riding instructor in our riding school. You need to be a freelance instructor with lots of qualifications to make a lot of money with that career unfortunately. I just thought, right enough’s enough I’ll just and I left, I didn’t have another job to go to, and so I had to go and move back home with my mum and dad’s for a year which was, hard. (laughs)

00:02:16 I really enjoy working with the people I mean you, you never know who you’re gonna meet you know it could be somebody famous, I’ve searched Vivienne Westwood, that’s my claim to fame so far. (laughs)

00:02:29 You can only really progress when somebody else leaves up with, you go from being a security officer to being a, a line manager and then there’s more management jobs after that but, it’s not that easy to progress in the job I’m doing, but I’m really happy with what I’m doing just now I don’t.

00:02:49 At the moment I don’t feel I need to go any further, maybe in a few years time I’ll start to get a bit bored with what I’m doing but, no, I’m quite happy where I am just now.

00:02:58 Although I did quite well at school I wasn’t no, none of the subjects I did sort of, have now reflected on what I do. I did, I did enjoy school yeah, I just wish now I’d, maybe enjoyed it a bit more, cos you don’t realise how good and easy school actually is until you have to start working and earning money and paying taxes and bills and things. (laughs)

00:03:23 For me it was when I left school, I already had sort of a job to go to, and if you’ve got a hobby that you can do that, even if you could get a job working in your hobby for even a year until you decide exactly what you want to do and how you’re gonna get there, then, I would say that’s probably the easiest way to do it.

00:03:43 But, don’t know I just, you need to really work out what you want to do before you decided to settle down in a job, cos although I was really enjoying working with the horses I knew that I couldn’t make a career out of it. Whereas working in security I’m, I’ve got, you’ve got a job for life, you know I’m settled and I’ve got a secure job, there’s nothing better knowing that I’ll have a wage packet each month, so nice and safe. (laughs)

00:04:12 END

Pauline M is a Security Officer in the Scottish Parliament. “I don’t have an average day, every day is different – we’re first point of contact for people coming in.” Pauline started following her passion as a riding instructor but low pay made her re-assess her life.

More information about Security guards and related occupations

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

84%  male 
16%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Workers in this unit group protect merchandise, individuals, hotels, offices, factories, public grounds and private estates from injury, theft or damage, and investigate fraud and crime on a non-statutory basis.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. For some vacancies a current and clean driving licence is required and entrants may have to pass a medical examination. Training is typically provided on-the-job. NVQs/SVQs covering various aspects of security guarding are available at Level 2.
  • Investigates crimes, trading practices and the private affairs of individuals;
  • Walks or rides near person requiring protection, watches for suspicious occurrences and defends guarded person from attack;
  • Monitors and patrols hotels, factories, offices and other premises, forests, parks, and public or private estates to prevent theft and unauthorised entry;
  • Checks persons and vehicles entering and leaving premises, establishes their credentials and arranges for escorts for visitors;
  • Receives duty sheet, time-clock and keys for premises to be visited, checks locks, doors, windows, etc. and reports any suspicious circumstances to security headquarters;
  • Calls in civil police and gives evidence in court where necessary.
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Employment status

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