Gympie hospital. Photo PatricK Woods / The Gympie Times
Gympie hospital. Photo PatricK Woods / The Gympie Times Patrick Woods

Guard death aftermath: Gympie still safer for security

AS THE investigation continues into the tragic death of Gympie Hospital security guard Karl Lowrie on the weekend, a Gympie security boss says the region is far safer than the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane.

Ultimate Protection and Security general manager Eric Lawes said every security worker faces dangerous situations on the job.

"I've been assaulted on the job many times, it's just one of those occupational hazards," Mr Lawes said.

"You've got to be a little bit smarter and a bit quicker, but sometimes it doesn't always happen, especially if there's more than one particular offender.

"Fortunately it's never been anything too serious, the most we had was a broken leg, and that was a few years ago evicting someone from a nightclub."

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Mr Lawes said while being a security guard or patrolman had its dangers, employees were trained to be vigilant and avoid hazardous situations.

"We certainly don't encourage the guys to put themselves in harm's way," Mr Lawes said.

"Nobody pays us enough to get hurt.

"Especially if the guys are doing a patrol at night time, they find a door kicked in or something like that, we're not obligated to enter the building and walk around on our own.

"We do naturally just step back, observe the premises, ring the police and wait for them to turn up and assist them where we can."

He said Gympie was "a hell of a lot safer than a lot of places".

"Once you start looking down the Sunshine Coast and towards Brisbane, you certainly have to look for guys that are a hell of a lot bigger and scarier looking than you need to up here," he said.

While Ultimate Protection doesn't service many pubs, Mr Lawes said said venues that involved alcohol required bigger guards as a deterrent to bad behaviour.

"We do some licenced premises, and we try to put guys there that look physically imposing, I suppose, but not necessarily thuggish," he said.

He said security guards could generally expect more trouble than those on patrols.

"We do a lot of shopping centres where we deal with the day to day people, and we can come across substance abusers, drunks, antisocial behaviour, people with mental health problems," he said.

"The guys on night patrols don't tend to come across those types of people.

"We do come across the odd drunk, but generally the people we do come across are hanging around somewhere they should be, so it's generally just a move on and they go."

Mr Lawes said no matter how difficult or aggressive offenders become, security guards are still bound by law.

"Our company police is no closed fist strike," he said.

"If we catch anybody using a closed fist on someone, we terminate them.

"We look for people with common sense and the ability to process some thinking before they go in and start throwing the knuckles around."

Gympie Times


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