27 Feb 2021

Skills are just as important as academic certificates

Practitioners must purposely obtain skills to be relevant for 2021 and beyond. #NewGeneration

Many flash certificates of academic achievement but they forget that soft skills are just as important – perhaps even more so today than ever before.


We are in a moment in time when the global history is dramatically changing and impacting the security and the risk factor. Regardless, of location, all are experiencing multiple threats with crime related to such and doubled or triple in the crime numbers related to the outcomes of such.

There are many more desperate people that could resort to anything to serve their basic needs which is not only food, water, air and shelter because they may need meds for themselves or their kids, perhaps alcohol or other things that they may be addicted to. Their motivations to resort to using criminal methods talks to high crime numbers. Let us keep the one thing in our minds – it is not the weapon that causes mayhem – it is the person. Therefore, soft skills are required more so than ever before!

After 9-11, there are many physical security practitioners that believed that with their years of experience justified themselves not having a certificate. Some did educate themselves further and obtained certificates. How many of them actually worked on their skill development? Some even said – ”are you trying to re-invent the wheel?”. The reply to such was – ”when you first got into security – the wheel could of been discovered – but since then, we have many forms of transport such as, hoover craft that glide over the water and planes that fly faster than the speed of sound – we even landed a roving car on Mars!.


They have to now work with IOT (Internet of Things).

We also now use AI [Artificial Intelligence] which is geared towards physical security and investigation.

Implications of the multiple threats in concert today

There are more millions of perpetrators trying to daily out-think and outsmart the security system (technology and manpower). Therefore, the most important objective is to gather as much information as possible. When one has no idea of what is truly happening then we are unable to limit the level of collateral damage.

  • This means that – no matter what academic or any form of qualifications – one is unable to use such knowledge if one does not obtain information to know where, why and how to apply such qualifications.
  • When one is basing any action on unreliable or insufficient information then all their efforts and expenses are wasted and furthermore, they invite collateral damage.
  • When there is insufficient of misinformation or it is not fully comprehended then the manpower will not be provided information on what type or crime to look for or what to consider when they are dealing with volatile situations.

‘’The manpower must be layered by skillsets and they should be equipped with the appropriate tools. Furthermore, the technology must be suitable and effective’’

What skills are required and why

Based on the Principle ” Security success depends on the level of situational awareness of the people on the ground (all are decision-makers) and their reaction speed” (Kirsten/ISIO/HIM,2021) – relating to security criminology-risk investigation situational awareness,

The practitioners may have heard of words ‘insider threat’ and perhaps have had training besides the pleasure of reading case scenarios. But, how does a person recognize a person of concern? Yes, there is crime situational awareness related to shop theft that may display certain criteria, however there are many other forms of insider threats.

Situational awareness in investigation means that when one does not know the motivation for crime, the culture of crime and criminal methods, then one may not find the person of concern. It is not the weapon that causes mayhem – it is people. Are they an insider threat doing the crime voluntarily or under duress?

Practitioners cannot afford to be misled – they handle life impacting and deadly outcomes.

Facts on Skills

Some have had crime investigative interviewing skills but here is a difference between crime and security investigation. Crime investigators are summoned after the fact. That does not support security principles which is to find the crime before the fact of experiencing collateral damage. The biggest nightmare is not knowing what is truly happening on the ground.

Some went further and did learn lie detection by way of micro-expressions, kinesthetics, body language and believe that they can read people. The problem is that you have no idea who can read you better while you are reading them. We can suppose that one could never confide in people that talk about others because they will land up doing the same to us.

Furthermore, some may have been trained in the west but that does not mean that they are able to read people of other cultures. An example, is that one could see a person smiling and say – ”wow.. they are happy”. This may not be the case because there are some cultures may be smiling simply because they are embarrassed for you and just very polite. Or, perhaps someone is not showing emotion in their face at all and simply is tight- lipped which is an emotion in itself which could confuse some students using some methods.

To detect the lie is quite easy when certain skills are mastered – but what do you do when a person is hiding something or volunteering information for their own agenda. Rest assured perpetrators are also learning these skills.

When the practitioner cannot find a person of interest, read the person of concern or comprehend the big picture then – they will experience collateral damage- regardless if they have a certificate or not.

Before we consider the skills we must consider the future.

The 4 issues – the pandemic, the crime related to such, the crime related to the outcomes of such being associated to the economic meltdown, and the shift towards AI (artificial intelligence) and IOT(internet of things) that talks to a fast changing and wider vulnerability landscape besides using the same to limit the levels of collateral damage.

The thinking pattern of the practitioner must therefore be in a constant state of Critical Thinking Situational Awareness to out-think and outsmart the forever thinking perpetrators.

The skills

Strategically Layering the manpower with relative skills

Critical Thinking Situational Awareness is a skill

Critical thinking situational awareness in and out of the box which is required to comprehend the big picture by analyzing  the reporting and to devise solutions, methods and protocols.

The thinking process assists to identify and clarify the true nature of the beast which is the true situation. Then, one considers the position one is in – or others are in (determining the pattern/modus operandi). Finally, by comprehending the implantations, one will consider the necessary tools or manpower to solve the problems with effective solutions.

Obviously, it is required to find a person of interest and to get to extract all-the-truthful information because there are many variables. This is also required to manage down the line for numerous reasons.

The Critical thinking situational awareness skill is essential for anything to do with AI because the instrument is only as good as the user.

For example, anybody cannot afford to be naïve to think that this pandemic story will end soon or that another may follow that is just as or more devastating than the current one. When critical thinking is applied, then the description of the threat is clear. This is an active biological threat which means that security protocols must be used besides the health protocols. There are distinctive reasons for such, which prescribe what technology and equipment to use and to ensure that the tools are authentic and tested. Therefore, the person taking over will respect the resilience of the author’s systems with the protocols and procedures

How to acquire the skillsets to master this Critical Thinking skill-craft

The easiest and most effective method to acquire the critical thinking skills is by using lie, deception detection and critical situational interviewing method. When one is daily using the methodology and practically applies the principles besides physiologically going through the experience of having to out-think and outsmart a person that is lying or hiding something or finds out why they are volunteering information. embeds the knowledge so it becomes a pattern of thought. This gives an understanding of the intention of others. The methodology kind-of re-wires the brain!

We need to think in such fashion to understand and comprehend the full nature of the beast intimately that we are contending with, therefore the method must contain information on criminology as in nature of crime, criminal behavior and criminal methods so as to identify such.

Then we have to find the person of interest and see who they are in concert with because they may be doing so voluntarily or under duress

Deception detection and critical situational interviewing

There may be some that have not ever read a book or did any form of training to read people. If a practitioner cannot tell if someone is lying besides hiding something or is totally naïve then they can be easily misled. This is ‘THE’ primary skill for security and investigation professionals.

If one has read a book or been schooled before, then one must accept the fact that this science has also matured even more so lately. This skill must be continuously developed because certain people like hostage negotiators or undercover operatives have to master this skill and so to must any practitioner in the field of security criminology-risk litigation.

The learning tool must be designed in a way that embeds the knowledge by scaffolding the learning curve so that practitioners react instinctively. It must be the easiest and most effective method so one can use the methodology to subconsciously train the brain for critical thinking. Sounds scientific – yes, we have evolved with this skill development using the tools of today (IOT/Internet of things).

Environmental awareness skills

Either situational awareness when walking outdoors or it could be crime situational awareness for a distinct sector, e.g., loss prevention – store theft because of distinctive characteristics.

Interpersonal Skills

When it comes down to a pandemic is in theater, it is wise to layer the first interaction with the public using Conflict Management skills. There are many reasons for such because it is vital to reduce the level of violence.

Conflict could also be heightened when there is no cultural awareness, for example, when different cultures and religions are touched with the left hand or the base of the foot is displayed then violence could escalate. Therefore, cultural diversity skills are vital because we live in a global village. People can talk to each other using only their hands. This is not sign language but words that are displayed with hand movement. Meaning that, when one has no idea that there is communication going on right in-front of one, then there is no situational awareness.

Physical Intervention skills

Physical intervention skills must be appropriate for the situation at hand. The skill development may need to improve the techniques to ensure that limited time is spent face to face. This is because one has no idea if the other person is virally infected. Furthermore, the training needs to be in full hazmat gear when handling an active biological threat. What is important is that one must know that the eyes are just as porous as the mouth and therefore any form of eye protection must be used because people do tend to spit even if they shout and scream.

Where, how and why are these skills are used

The AI, IT and equipment is only as good as the users!

We rely on all mediums to gather information.

There is a difference between intelligence and information.

You need intelligence to understand the information!

You need situational awareness to get the information and use all methods to get such, as from technology (cctv, access control, perimeter security, gps, rfid, etc.)


Manpower on the ground provide information. But – we know that people do lie, hide or volunteer information. Perhaps they are even part of the problem.

The strategic layering of manpower is vital because all practitioners on the ground could more than likely handle life impacting and deadly outcomes.


Being Intelligent

Being knowledgeable and having access to a continuous flow of information

besides Mixing with Like-Minded Practitioners

View HIM Human Investigation Management for more