Patrolling is an essential part of any law enforcement employee's duties. The basic functions of patrol are to prevent crime by identifying and reporting on conditions, to deter crime by showing an area is fully covered by an officer and to repress crime by direct action if needed. Patrolling also helps bring an officer closer to the public and helps him form valuable area connections.
Methods of Patrol
Patrol techniques depend much on what method of transportation is utilized. Foot patrol is the most basic and affords a security officer a closer and less obtrusive way to monitor his surroundings. He should not wear bright clothing and should move quietly through an area. This method is useful for the gathering of information function of patrolling, as well as the public assistance/relations function. Officers patrolling in a motorcycle or car -- usually necessary if the area to be covered is larger -- will be more visible. This method of patrol is useful for the deterrent function of patrolling, as well as the repression of crime function.
Methods of Covering the Area
A traditional way of covering ground is to do a quick sweep of the area first, then cover more carefully and thoroughly on second, third, etc. go-arounds. If an officer is covering with a partner, she may choose to split the area between the two or change patrol routes every once in a while to keep criminals surprised. Officers can choose a zigzag route, cloverleaf pattern or circular route, so long as they have a system to remember to cover all areas.
Preparation for Patrol
A security officer should always be prepared for patrol. Officers should wear comfortable shoes. Officers should bring a two-way radio in order to keep in contact with their supervisors, a flashlight to reveal interiors of dark spaces or when patrolling at night and whatever defensive gear is permitted by the job (pepper spray is a good option). Security officers should mentally prepare for going on patrol as well, by remaining calm and collected while on patrol. They must keep alert despite the occasional tedium of patrolling.
Conducting a Safe Patrol
A security officer on patrol should never round a corner too close to the wall, as a criminal may jump him from that vantage point. He should stay to the side in parking garages and small streets to avoid speeding cars. He should avoiding walking into enclosed dark areas; he should first sweep his flashlight over the space and ask people inside to come out. An officer should always call for backup if needed.