Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Access Control

12 Dec

A – Standard Operating Procedure – (SOP)  – for Access Control

PURPOSE and definition of any access control SOP:

  • Purpose; SOP’s were designed to create uniformity of effort, and cohesion, thus resulting in the continuity of standards. These standards would also refer to unit standards, TACTICS: best practices, immediate action drills, intelligence gathering, surveillance and counter surveillance, interrogation, authentication, and legislative compliance among other things.
  • Aim; to couple objectives with standards; It becomes a standard for “tactical” implementation. (Tactical – implying; the use of military/ Police science that deals with securing objectives set by strategy).  Especially the technique of deploying and directing “troops” – guards -, and the use of terrain, and communication, as well as technology to effectively counter any threat with.
  • Strategy implementation;  Thus we design a strategy first, and then we use techniques – tactics/ SOP’s – to deploy guards/ resources for the greatest impact and effect, in executing our access control strategy.
  • Definition; To establish an integrated standard criteria and control system for all functions/aspects of access and egress control within the scope of standards.
  • Standards in this context refers to; something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; or an approved model. Put at its simplest, a standard is an agreed, repeatable way of doing something.



SOP’s for the most part cannot and should not just be cut and paste exercise only, granted its good to work from a template. The applicability of an SOP applies to all security personnel assigned to the safeguarding and protection of life and assets at a specific site or gate, or venue, and effects all who they come into contact with. Therefore it needs to be specific, in both addressing security concerns as well as enforcing the basic aspects of security and access control.

An SOP’s aim is to create one specific criterion to be followed during all hours of operation; by all concerned, thus creating a uniform approach to access control. This also then becomes a standard, that then becomes the benchmark for the level of service expected, and to be maintained; how you start will determine where and how you will finish. The departing standard, will also thus inform the grading of guards required and a performance criteria to be followed for the maintaining of a minimum, (or medium, high, or maximum level of security). a level of security in it self becomes a expected standard.

Standards are set pertaining to any agreement reached, or president that was set.  Any attempt to address any level of threat, should be coupled to a standard, or by adopting a best practice. Not just on consensus reached, perception is not reality. Threats can only be countered, by implementing barriers,  a counter strategy, that prevents the opposition from achieving his goals – committing crime – by countering such threat with tactics. Tactics are set standards to be adopted.

Tactics may very or escalate, (you won’t just have one criteria for instance to address just one problem with; if violence erupts in a community, or we experience a sudden crime wave, then naturally the level of security must escalate – “automatically” -, and then be adequate – to face the emanating escalating risk, and be escalated disproportional to the risk).

Flexible tactical escalation and de-escalation could be built into any SOP, with set protocols for each level to escalate to.

The aim is to have scale-able criteria, and to still have set standards for each scale.  If you only adopt one level of security, and it never flexes, then its easy to observe and be bridge by criminals. However, if you have changing tactics, and scale-ability then they will have to make a huge effort to bridge your security. This aspect could also be coupled to time; for instance day vs. night time deployment could see different criteria, (more guards during night time, dog patrols, etc.) and then even seasonal, calling for additional measures to be adopted.

The SOP must address the situation well and in its entirety;  some say in parallel; for instance with peak hours and off peak; we make provision for traffic flow, or get house sitters, to check proprieties of people on leave, etc.  Our strategy and actions/ tactics needs to inform and speak to us; on both the internal as well as external factors that will, could, have, has impacted on our strategy in the past, to address where we suffered error in hindsight effctifly in the future. It must be in parallel with trends, and crime patterns, neither be over bearing, nor be watered-down either. Therefore; not extreme, it must be efficient – professional – and both effective – valuable.

That’s the best way to describe it. We have to think highly of these people we employ as guards, and they have to become indispensable assets of the community they serve. (Not the norm, where they can’t speak, or communicate, lazy, and they are the masterminds behind most acts).

Detail; they say the devil is in the detail; any good SOP will/ should cover several aspects clearly. we have to go into detail, and cover every aspect we can think of that will impact, challenged, compromise, and or address our access concerns. The only way to do this is to go into detail, for instance;

  • It should define the minimum force criteria; 
  • The minimum level grading of guards to be deployed
  • Those minimum actions condoned, how far is a guard expected to go; including the use of (armed) force; to be sufficient to bring any situation under control or to defend against hostile acts or hostile intent. In other words, the guards should be bound by the use of force criteria. But not to such an extent where they become useless, or targets themselves…strive for balance in all things…
  • The specific amount of guards and resources on the gate, or terrain at all times.
  • Informed decision making practices; 
  • what is the best practice pertaining to each criteria staring with; 
  • Access control criteria
  • Vehicles
  • Pedestrian
  • Delivery people
  • Contractors 
  • Visitors
  • Service suppliers 
  • Patrols
  • Perimeter
  • outside, inside, mounted, dog, equestrian, etc..
  • Look at all the criteria in question…then see if it is legitimate. 



  Legitimacy is the final test, the legal status of your criteria set, and the standard used and adopted to become the  SOP.

Always get a legal opinion before denying people their rights. However for the most; The short and the long of it is; basically, any (legal and reasonable) criteria implemented by the owner, body corporate, trustees, landlord, or anyone who is legally in charge of a property will be deemed legal. No matter peoples rights.  Any person May institute any criteria they deem fit for the use of access criteria, and it will be deemed legal, as long as its legal and reasonable.

  • Legally speaking, however – Accountability and Responsibility is not thereby removed; it remains vested with the HSO: Head of Security Operations at a venue; – or otherwise the owner, or his/her appointee.
  • A responsible individual appointed on orders to act as the representative of the Directorate/ people that employed them – security contractor -, on all matters involving access, egress, traffic, parking, and security.  He/she is totally responsible for supervision of the control, of personnel and systems and will ensure that the SOP is maintained.
  • Second HSO: An individual appointed on orders to assist the HSO in all matters of supervision and control. Unless otherwise specified, the term refers to operational effectiveness.


 Is best established through having a proper access and egress control system, supported by SOP’s.

 HERE IS A SAMPLE SOP;read the user rights…

This is one of the most comprehensive documents I have ever seen on this aspect, complied by; The Foundation for Community Association Research is a national, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to common interest community research, development, and scholarship. Incorporated in 1975, the Foundation supports and conducts research in the community, homeowner, and condominium association industry

SOP Security village      

 Terms of use;

Copyright and Use Permission
Published 2008. Foundation for Community Association Research
225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Readers are encouraged to download and reproduce this report for community association managers, board
members, individual homeowners, and community association-related industry professionals without permission of the Foundation for Community Association Research provided the following terms are met: this
document must be reproduced in its entirety including the use permission statement; this document may not
be added to, modified, amended, or otherwise altered from the original as presented here. Readers and users agree not to sell copies of this document or otherwise seek compensation for its distribution.
“This document is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal,
accounting or other professional services. If legal or expert advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.” —From a Declaration of Principles, jointly adopted by a committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers.
ISBN 978-0-941301-73-2

Also see this SOP;


Emergency & Disaster, Event Management Planning.

Get a copy of this book on strategy; and build your own SOP…

More related links;

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