Skip to main content

Security Guards: Low on Intelligence

One way in which security guards can be of help
(image source: Africom's Flickr stream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/africom/)
Lately, I have had no less than 2 run ins with various security guards, in which an opportunity to provide intelligence turned out to be a pointer on its startling absence. In the same period, I have had a run in with only one matatu conductor, but circumstances were a bit different here. So do we conclude that matatu conductors are brighter than security guards, be they from KK tasked with the American embassy, or any other guard?

Do not get me wrong on security guards, or watchmen, or "solja" as sometimes we prefer to call them. These guys are still of great importance when it comes to finding out where the hell on Parklands Road that Centre Point is. At such times, Google Maps tends to think that being on Parklands Roads, you must be looking for some Centre in Germany.

While your watchman might have an idea on what is down the road, these guys are usually clueless as to what is where in the building that they are employed to guard manage.


Take this KK high level manager at the Hotel Intercontinental ,on a recent Tuesday. I was there for some cocktail event where the ICT board was hosting some Indian investors. Actually, the cocktail was just a cover, as I was supposed to interview no less than two of the investors before the clock struck 9 pm.

The Intercontinental usually has this board that shows ongoing events, and the venue inside the hotel. The event I was looking for was not on the board, and so I consulted the nearest hotel staff, who unfortunately  turned out to be the KK security guard, or rather a supervisor of the other guards posted in the hotels.

The bald headed KK guard told me to consult the board, to which I replied that I had already done , fruitlessly. The guard's eyes then widened as he eyed me , head to toe and back. I was not in a suit, my shoes were dusty and I had a backpack, well worn from lugging around a heavy Compaq Laptop amongst other electronics.

The guard instructed me to call the ICT board. I only had Kaburo's phone number, and she was not aware of the finer logistics of the event as she was planning some other event on the same evening. I told the guard that that was of no help either.

The guard then summarised that he had identified a gatecrasher and instructed me to remain on the spot as he confirmed whether there was such an event. The guard dashed off in the direction of the kitchen area, reappeared a while later and disappeared in the direction of the business centre.

After several appearances and reappearances of the fellow, I asked him if I could just confirm where the event was, the guard replied no. He asked if I had ever been at the Intercontinental before. I had been there many times before and we had even hosted some recent event in one of the rooms. I was surprised when he asked for dates which I had been there, not that I could remember exact dates.

I had been standing there for more than five minutes, and I was losing my temper. I finally told the guy that I was going in to find out where the event was. He said I couldn't. I asked what he was going to do to me if I did, "grab me by my worn shirt and throw me out?" . I knew that the guy would be careful about making a physical scuffle in front of high profile (and white) guests.

He followed and tried calling after me as I made true the threat to find out by myself. I approached the first hotel employee I found, who happened to know that the event was taking place at the pool deck, mind you that the guy had been at the spot all the time that the KK guard was "looking" for the event.

A senior KK employee, tasked with overall security of the event, has no idea of what events are going on in the hotel. He operates with a mentality that the board lists all the events that the hotel is running. The same employee identifies threats as those young guys who approach him to ask questions - all gate crashers will ask him a question or two, and gotcha, he will have them.

I do not blame him, intelligent people are difficult to hire, their salaries are competitive , they are easily poached and they tend to be unpredictable.

The solution is to hire some muscular guy and instruct them on how to identify threats and how to handle them. Guards are usually in the strictest of instructions, not to deviate form the rules. Unfortunately, criminals are known not to have any set of rules to follow.

You can only rely on a guard to some point, unless you are ready to pay for the intelligence.

Comments

Unknown said…
wuldnt agree less

Popular posts from this blog

Nairobi's Top 4 Texas Brisket Places Reviewed and Ranked

Brisket on a bed of roast vegetables with barbecue sauce at Texas Brisket, Kikuyu  This review has been updated after a number of you suggested I try the brisket at County2County.  What's the best place to have Brisket in Nairobi? What's even brisket?  Brisket is one of the toughest cuts in a cow, from around the belly. It is so tough that it has to be smoked for about 16 hours to tenderise. But that there, is the catch.  12 to 16 hours later, it is the most flavourful and softest cut you will ever have. So full of flavour and so soft you can pick it apart with your fingers.  However, due to the long cooking time involved, only a few places offer brisket in Nairobi.  The best so far is Texas Brisket which is located within Kikuyu Railway station.  They do the meat for a proper 16 hours, and will usually have a fatty or non-fatty portion. The fatty portions are more tasty. A 500 gram serving goes for KSh. 900 and a 1 KG order comes with a serving of free fries. Their brisket has

5 Kenyan Holiday Destinations in Turkana and Rift Valley

Much local holiday travel in Kenya involves going to the Coast. If not the Coast, most holidayers end up in Nanyuki or Naivasha. But what if you wanted to go somewhere else, what are the alternatives?  An interesting itinerary would be Lake Turkana, through the Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment. This is a trip doable both by public transport or as a self-drive. Given the distance, it takes at least 2 days by road - though it's manageable in one day if you have 2 drivers.  However, it would be more fun if you explored different destinations on your way up and back, which I'll highlight below.  1. Iten - Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment The Kerio Valley is a breathtaking valley within the Rift Valley, with the Elgeyo/ Kerio Escarpment forming one boundary of the Rift Valley and the Tugen Hills forming the other. The Tugen Hills are within the Rift Valley and one of the oldest features on the planet. The Kerio River flows in between falling over the esca

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

A spoonful of sugar, but for who? ( Image: Carol Wallis on Flickr ) Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar? Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen. Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji". The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave. But what ails Kenya's sugar industry? The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here. Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly decline

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

With Mixcrate gone, lovers of music either have to pony up a fee for a variety of streaming services or head over to YouTube There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits. Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for. Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

Kenyan products: The art of punishing your consumer

This post was written in 2011. Facts may have and indeed have changed - but the conclusion has not.  Dormans instant coffee tastes better than Sasini instant coffee. Ramtons electronics are manufactured for Kenya's Hypermart Limited, yet maintain a high product quality Peanut butter used to taste so good, but you could not afford it on the pocket money that you got back in school. A few years later, you have your first real job and your first "disposable" income. You buy your first real tub of peanut butter, probably the first in your life. You feel proud that Dominion peanut butter is manufactured in Ruiru, a town that you visited in your campus days to withdraw your pocket money, it was the nearest bank ATM to your campus.  This was before Equity bank became a mainstream bank and decided to open an ATM in your campus, and before M-Pesa meant that you