The Changing Face Of The Security Guard – A Potted History

In today’s society, whether you go to a gig or concert, an event or even a party it’s highly likely that you’re going to bump into a security guard or two. In the 21st century security companies are employed in a wide variety of roles from the glitz and glamour close protection work, to the rather more mundane guarding of an installation or premises and even as consultants for large scale events. Back in days of old however, it was a slightly different story. Let’s take an interesting if not slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ look at a potted history of security guards.


Back in the stone age your average caveman didn’t have a team of crack security guards he could call upon should should he get into a spot of bother. Instead he had to use rocks, branches or even hard fruit to ward off unwanted visitors. Eventually though they got smart and created bows, arrows and spears to keep uninvited guests and other predators at bay.

30,000 BC

Believe it or not the first security guards were probably of the four legged variety. Orphaned wolf cubs were taken by humans and used for both hunting and herding. Overtime they became loyal to their new masters and would naturally protect them. Eventually wolves evolved into the dog species that we know and love today.

1400 BC

It was the ancient Egyptians who first recognised the need for a private security when Ramses II hired a band of people from Libya, Syria and modern-day Sardinia to act as his personal protectors. These were known to be hardened soldiers who tended to hire themselves out between wars. A bit like the Indispensibles, I guess you could say that they were probably the first mercenaries.

Ancient Rome

The practice of hiring private protection continued into the ancient Roman times when wealthy individuals would pay for the services of mercenaries to protect their homes, families and possessions. If you were Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony or Octavius however you could afford the best protection in the form of a big burly Praetorian Guard. Yikes!

Middle Ages

By the Middle Ages private security flourished both in Western Europe and in Asia. The elite Japanese and Chinese classes for instance utilised close protection to ward of the Mongols who were said to be among the most fiercest of people. They, like the Vikings, would rape, pillage and plunder at the drop of a hat.

Industrial revolution 1760-1840

As the industrial revolution gathered pace the role of the security guard changed. Now guards were employed to protect buildings and assets rather than people. As a result the very first security companies started to appear in the UK. In 1850 in the US, Allan Pinkerton created the first real recognised security company known as the Pinkerton Agency. They were employed to act as protection for the booming railway industry which was spreading across the US. This was closely followed by more well known agencies such as Wells Fargo and Brinks.

1969 Altamont

In 1969 a concert at Altamont headlined by the Rolling Stones was policed by a band of Hells Angels. Unfortunately it’s well documented that the event turned into battlefield with considerable violence culminating in 4 deaths. After this event, policing was left to professional security services

So there you have it a potted history of the security guard! Although the type of security guard has changed over the years it’s fair to say that their role to protect, maintain law and order and react to any incident hasn’t.

If you want to find out more about how our security service can help your event, party or business run smoothly, then contact MA Services Group on 03 9994 4107 or visit our website at

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