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Security tip: How to deal with an agitated person

Fri, November 02, 2018

Frontline employees in higher-risk sectors are usually trained how to deal with potentially violent conflict situations, but every organisation is potentially at risk from agitated or upset employees, clients or members of the public.

Or it could be that you are caught up in a situation when on site at another organisation or even when out and about in a public space.

If the person is aggressive telephone Police on 111. Here are some other tips for diffusing tense situations and staying safe if things escalate:

1. Keep your distance

Maintain at least two arms’ length, if possible position yourself so there’s a barrier (e.g. desk) between you and the person.

2. Enable the person to leave

Ensure you are positioned in a way that enables them to leave the premises without needing to push past you.

3. Don’t play the hero

Never try and wrest a weapon off someone, or chase suspected shoplifters or criminals because you don’t know if they have accomplices nearby.  Instead, observe, take notes (immediately afterwards) and report to Police or security.

4. Be passive

Don’t make sudden movements, talk to, or stare at them.

5. Do what they ask

Don’t resist and remember, money and goods can be replaced but a life can’t.

6. Don’t touch anything the offenders may have touched

This could destroy or contaminate valuable evidence for the Police.