Security guard Andrus Tartu
There may be economic growth in Finland but crime is on the increase and people do not seem to be bothered about the penalties. More people are needed for jobs in security, and more and more foreigners are being employed as security guards. Their background is important, but a good security guard must above all be honest and diligent.
“When before someone got caught for shoplifting they would be too afraid to show their face for a long time. Now they come back after a couple of days just as if nothing had happened. They just don’t care.”
The words of Andrus Tartu, 35, who is a security guard for Securitas Systems Oy and who works at Sello Shopping Mall in Mankka, in Espoo. Before he moved to Finland he worked for the Estonian border guard service and in the police force. Tartu moved to Helsinki in 1995. He started working as a security guard two years later.
“It’s quite amusing that the first place I worked was the zoo in Korkeasaari. It was a great job, and you didn’t need to speak the language.”
Tartu learned Finnish, worked first for a small security firm, and obtained a police issue security guard licence. He had been working as a porter and removals man when he got a job at Espoo’s Vexi-Market. Four years later he began at Sello, first guarding access to the construction site, and, when the superstore was completed, the shopping centre itself.
“Just to train as a security guard is not a sufficient qualification. You have to be morally adept too.”
Tartu monitors the shop through cameras, and is responsible for opening the doors, access and fire safety on the premises. Theft is monitored by means of the cameras, but Tartu also does the rounds of the store.
“It is important to move around the store. If customers and staff see a security guard they have a better sense of security.”
The law determines a security guard’s rights and duties. Groundless suspicion is always annoying for a customer. But an experienced guard makes few mistakes. Guards can only resort to force in extreme circumstances. They always have to report it to the police if they detain anyone. Statistics show that the number of detentions has risen everywhere.
Working with people, Tartu has to think about the interactive side of his job. Talking to people is important, so it is important to know the language.
“An immigrant must know the language well to be a security guard. You speak to customers in Finnish most of the time, of course, and the reports are done in Finnish too. And it is good to know the language of the country just to get by generally.”
Tartu believes his work in the Estonian army and police helped him get a job in Finland, because here Estonian employees are viewed cautiously. Tartu’s interest in working in security might be due to his general way of thinking or simply the summers he used to spend at his granny’s.
“When I was a child we always played cops and robbers. I was the policeman.”
Text and photograph: Anu Likonen, Jukka Vuolle and Nanni Akkola
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy