By ELENA KOSOLAPOVA
AZERI OBSERVER STAFF WRITER
It is no secret that the security situation in the world is far from being ideal. In recent years a number of terrorist attacks have happened in neighbouring Turkey and Russia, Europe, the US and in many other countries. Terrorist threats forced both governments and private companies all around the globe to increase security spending and pay more attention to the protection of people and property. Fortunately the security situation in Azerbaijan is much better than in many other countries. However, since 2015 government bodies have reported the liquidation of several extremists linked to foreign terrorist groups who had planned attacks in Azerbaijan. In light of such reports the demand for private security services has increased in Azerbaijan and has raised security concerns among the international community. In Baku the presence of security guards at the entrance of all the shopping malls and entertainment centres is now commonplace, just a few years ago this was not the case.
The private security services market is well developed in Azerbaijan – there are dozens of private security companies. However, every client wants to be sure that he is hiring properly trained and qualified security guards. According to Azerbaijani law a security guard should be a citizen of the country, at least 20 years of age, has fulfilled his military service duties, does not suffer from any mental disorders and has completed a certified security training course. GESCO security company is one of few organisations that can organize such training courses. GESCO conducts the training sessions with OdlarYurdu University, which has been working in education for many years. What makes this particular training course unique is the expertise OdlarYurdu university offers. Furthermore the training is delivered by a team of competent and highly qualified teachers from OdlarYurdu University.
Practical exercises are an integral part of GESCO training courses – trainees are subjected to various role playing scenarios which they have to resolve. They are also given fire safety training, to learn how to extinguish different types of fire and how to evacuate people safely. However, it is clear that each facility requires a different set of skills and knowledge beyond the standard security training. A basic level of English is required for security guards working in foreign companies and a knowledge of psychology is important for the protection of educational facilities. Therefore GESCO courses include not only the mandatory security training, but also training in psychology, informatics, English and law. The company also plans to include training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in the future. The full course is very thorough and takes 144 hours to complete.
GESCO offers a variety of different training packages which include different modules depending on the skills required by the client. The security training course certificate is valid for life, however GESCO regularly organizes refresher training for its employees to help them become the best security professionals in the industry. GESCO certificate holders may also apply for work in any other private security company in the country. GESCO also have a contract from the Education Ministry to invigilate annual teacher certification and recruitment exams.
GESCO has been working in the security service industry for 15 years. Currently it is responsible for the protection of around 50 public and private facilities in the oil and gas, education and manufacturing sectors. Among the clients of GESCO are companies such as Azertrans, Absheron Operating Company, Karasu Operating Company, Salyan Oil Operating Company, Caspian Drilling Company, Caspian Pipe Coatings and many universities in Baku, including Azerbaijan State University of Economics, Baku Branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Azerbaijan State Oil and Industrial University, Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University, French-Azerbaijani University and several others. The company also guards the facilities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Sabina perfumery & cosmetics stores, AGBank, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the State Aerogeodetic Enterprise, Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park, the Embassies of Turkey and China, and other organizations and enterprises.
The company has a multistage control system. Every security chief officer is assigned to an area and is responsible for coordinating shift leaders, who in turn control the work of junior guards. In addition the company has a special inspection which can happen at any time, day or night, this ensures standards are maintained. This assessment is supervised by the Chief of Inspections who reports to the company’s management.
In 2017 the company received a ISO 9001 certification in Quality Management Systems from Intertek. This year GESCO has gone even further and has implemented an Integrated Management System (IMS) which includes Environmental Management (14001) and Occupational Health and Safety Management (OHSAS 18001). For GESCO also fire safety is a high priority, the company equips its guards with the necessary safety equipment. It uses modern video surveillance equipment and access control systems. The company follows international technological developments in the security protection industry and endeavours to evolve with the times. Another advantage of GESCO is its compliance with international standards and regulations, this ensures good working conditions for its employees.
“We do our best to ensure safe and comfortable working conditions for our employees. That differs us from many other companies working in this sphere. The human factor is more important for us than the profit,” says the director of the company Ramiz Gaytmazov. “If a company does not create such conditions for our guards, we prefer to terminate the contract. Our image is more valuable.”