Everyone’s ready to see the end of the pandemic. Getting on with life nowadays comes with plenty of challenges — and it’s so important we can trust each other. Unfortunately, recent headlines highlight the need for female guards in quarantine hotels more than ever.
Sadly for many women who are staying in quarantine hotels after travelling overseas, that professionalism has been missing from the security staff who are supposed to be protecting them.
Female guards in quarantine hotels will reduce harassment
People who have travelled and are staying in a quarantine hotel are trying to do the right thing. And as is often the case, doing the right thing isn’t always doing the easiest thing.
These travellers stay in places that have been especially isolated as quarantine hotels. They have to remain in their rooms for 10 days. This is to be sure that they show no symptoms of Covid-19. It’s also so people don’t accidentally spread the virus to other people asymptomatically.
To make sure everyone stays safe during this quarantine process, security professionals are contracted to these hotels. Their job is to make sure everyone stays in their rooms, nobody acts in a dangerous way, and that nobody from outside the hotel tries to enter.
Any security professionals with an SIA Licence should be expected to take this duty seriously. It’s why ongoing reports of sexual harassment in quarantine hotels make for such difficult reading.
The government’s response is to suggest that women in quarantine hotels have the right to request a female security guard. If no female security professional is available, two male security professionals should escort the woman instead.
As you might imagine, that idea has already been criticised by a number of organisations. They’re worried that just doubling the number of male security guards might make the problem worse.
Female guards in quarantine hotels let guests relax
Becoming a security professional is an exciting journey. People who get licensed unlock a new world of work. Your skills and development are put into your own hands. The more security courses you take, the more job opportunities you open for yourself.
Abuse of position in order to harass and make uncomfortable the people you’re supposed to protect is never okay. A lot of people in the security industry are angry about security guards misusing their position, and with good reason.
A shortage of female guards in quarantine hotels, on top of the shortage of UK security professionals overall, is challenging. Yet for women staying in quarantine hotels, that’s what’s needed in order to feel safe and comfortable.
The vast majority of male security professionals are trustworthy. Yet there’s every reason to thank every woman who chooses to work in security. Many women report simply feeling safer with another woman as their security guard.
Quarantine hotels should be safe
Quarantine hotels should be safe places to stay. Any reports that show this isn’t happening are a big concern.
Reports from female travellers staying in quarantine hotels show that harassment takes many forms. Inappropriate comments, knocking on hotel doors, and even love notes have been reported. It creates feelings of fear and anxiety, rather than safety and security.
“I was shaking and had no words because I knew that he was now following me.”
— Brittany Dodd, speaking to the BBC on security harassment
The solution that women in quarantine hotels will have the chance to request female security professionals is welcome. Yet the reality is, there simply might not be enough of these security professionals to go around.
The alternative? Two male security guards escorting a female traveller around the hotel, rather than one. It suggests that it would give less chance for male security guards to take advantage.
But in reality, many women find that solution even more uncomfortable than ever. It’s horrible to think about, but if both male security guards take advantage of a woman at once… then what?
Take responsibility for people’s safety
Isolating women in quarantine hotels and bothering them throughout their stay is extremely bad practice. It’s basically the exact opposite of a security professional’s job.
Yet even when these women complain, they feel a lack of support. The hotels themselves just shrug and say to take it up with the security company. The security companies themselves promise to take things seriously, yet are rarely seen taking decisive action in the public eye.
In the worst cases, the women who raise complaints are told that they should have behaved differently in the moment. That’s victim-blaming — a pretty shameful way to handle a very serious complaint.
“There aren’t enough female guards to stop these incidents happening. Just putting on an extra male guard isn’t good enough — and it’s also quite oppressive.”
— Harriet Wistrich of the Centre for Women’s Justice, speaking to the BBC
You can help stop quarantine hotel harassment
Often when we read about difficult topics like this, it’s easy to feel like we’re unable to help. But that’s not the case here — especially with so many security jobs needing to be filled.
It’s not just about female guards in quarantine hotels. Women in security can also add strength against hate crimes and prejudice.
Whether you want a Security Guard Licence, or a Door Supervisor Licence for more varied career, GuardPass can help.
Having access to resources, skills and advice can help you keep moving forward in your security career. Remember, it’s not about your size, your gender identity or your background.
It’s about being the person people count on. The person people turn to when they need reassurance — even if that’s due to other security staff.
The changes we need won’t happen until we step up — and now’s the time to make that happen.
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