Tactical Elite aims to improve security industry

Staff of Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services Ltd, and an employee. -
Staff of Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services Ltd, and an employee. -

Founder and managing director of Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services Ltd (MTEPS) Jase Keith Faria wants to revolutionise TT’s security industry.

It may be an ambitious task but he is confident the company, which was registered with the Ministry of Legal Affairs in May 2019, could create “a fundamental shift” in the way people view the industry.

In a recent interview with Business Day, Faria said he has done a comprehensive analysis of the local industry over the years and believes it is void of vision both in respect of operations and public image.

Security officers in this country, he observed, are not respected.

“Too many times security officers are treated without respect in this country. And this can be caused by a lack of training and lack of vision in many local companies to bring higher standards to the industry. I think Metropolitan will bring about that change in mindset and philosophy for which people have been crying out for the longest while.”

He noted that long before covid19, the security industry was one of the few sectors in which people could have gained employment to support their families.

But he claimed many companies do not take into consideration the fact that officers still have to contend with challenges in their respective households – children to send to school, medical bills, high food prices, travelling to and from job sites. Faria claimed the companies also do not put measures in place to incentivise their officers.

“What about bonuses for these officers that work diligently. Security officers don’t get bonuses. They get a flat rate, coming in work for 12 hours. Some of them work double shifts and they are not given any meals.”

He added, “These are the factors that will not make a great officer and these are the things that companies need to be more considerate about when coming to officers’ needs.”

Faria has no qualms about entering into an already saturated industry, saying it is like any other business.

“There are many grocery stores in TT but everyone seeks out their own specific needs of what they want. It is the same thing with the security industry. We will show our clients what we have but it is also up to them to do their research. The clients will see your experience eventually.”

For Faria, who grew up in east Trinidad, the company is the manifestation of a dream he has harboured long before migrating to the US in the 1990s.

“It took some time for me to get my feet wet in the US. But by the time I was settled in and got myself firmly on track, I made it my life’s mission to work to fulfil my dream.”

He is ecstatic and humbled that the years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice he has put into establishing his own security firm, have finally paid off.

The company provides security for homes, businesses, construction sites and social events.

“You name it. Metropolitan provides security for it.”

Its officers are also trained to accompany clients to commercial banks, other financial institutions and the magistrate's and high courts.

Keith Faria, founder and managing director of Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services Ltd. -

Metropolitan can also be contracted to install CCTV cameras, conduct patrols in communities, carry out surveillance and provide bodyguard services. Private investigations also fall within its ambit.

Faria said the prices for the company’s offerings vary depending on the nature of the job.

Using its bodyguard services as an example, he said a high-ranking official like the attorney general, who already has bodyguards paid for by the government, may also request private security to get to and from his home.

Faria said a top government official cannot be put in the same grouping as a businessman who owns a small hardware.

“You have to understand the needs of the client and prices will vary based on that.”

Officers, he said, will also be assigned to clients based on their level of training.

“So, you cannot give an A-class client an officer that has minimal training. You want to select your best officers for high-risk clients.”

The company was open for business in Cane Farm, Trincity, last month. Owing to the continued threat of covid19, Faria said interviews are mostly being conducted virtually but company officials are also willing to meet with potential clients at the office strictly by appointment.

Claiming the company is close to acquiring its various licences, Faria said the processes take too long.

“The government takes a while to grant licences to security companies because you can’t work as a company in this industry without having all of the licences to make it safe for the clients and the officers to go out there and do their job effectively. The government needs to put easier mechanisms in place because security companies play a major role in helping to curb crime in the country.”

Keith Faria, founder and managing director of Metropolitan Tactical Elite Protective Services Ltd, takes aim alongside one of his security officers. -

He claimed people are already looking at Metropolitan with keen interest.

“Metropolitan is being eyed with grave interest by some key players in the private sector, who have bought into our philosophy in today’s troubling market. We may not be necessarily new to this but we are true to this.”

Faria, who is currently based in the US, is planning to return to TT very soon to personally oversee Metropolitan. In the meantime, he said he has a dynamic and competent staff eager to get to work.

The security veteran has over 30 years of experience in the field having worked in Trinidad, Washington DC and Qatar.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing and an associate degree in criminal justice. Faria also has a post baccalaureate certificate in homeland security and defence as well as a certificate in tactical operation.

He said clients can expect empathy, fairness, professionalism, reliability and performance from the metropolitan team.

Of the latter, Faria said, “We will do everything possible to make sure that our performance is steady and strong, regardless of the situation. It will be dispensed in a timely manner, despite the pressures, demands and obstacles that typically derail employees. We can be counted on to give 100 per cent under all circumstances.”

But he noted many misconceptions are plaguing the industry.

“It goes without saying that the movies and TV shows can often influence the way we think or view the world and the security industry is certainly no exception. If people believe what they see in the movies they might think that security jobs are either dangerous or might perceive security officers as unskilled or lazy.”

There is also the view that all security guards are men, need to be built like bodyguards and are largely required for late night or weekend jobs.

“But the reality is that security personnel play an invaluable role in ensuring the safety of people and property and as such, the society has come to rely on their integrity and judgment.”

Saying that security guards are trained to “detect, deter, observe and report,” Faria said the proper application of these skills and techniques will ensure that they are less at risk of being injured in a chaotic situation.

He believes a guard not properly trained will only cause frustration on the scene and end up in trouble, possibly endangering themselves or the people and property they are hired to protect.

While Faria acknowledged the view that many people aren’t attracted to the security industry because of the long, gruelling hours and generally low pay, he believes such matters must be addressed through the relevant government agencies.

“The onus is on the agency to put a structure in place to ensure that officers are not taken advantage of or work more than their required shift.”

He also believes when officers’ wages are too low, it not only represents a problem for the officers but also creates challenges for the company.

“The costs of high security turnover can be staggering because of the costs associated with recruitment, overtime, training, not to mention reduced quality in service based on the use of less experienced officers. For security companies, enacting strategies for attracting and retaining high-quality employees not only means higher quality service but, in the end, better bottom lines.”

Asked how he intends to make his company more competitive, Faria said the focus will be on retention and productivity.

As such, he said proper benefits are a must.

“Typically, when we think of benefits, this means extra costs for employers. For the sake of employee retention and reducing the costs associated with high officer turnover, it may be worth it for security companies to spend on such benefits.”

Faria said Metropolitan intends to offer benefits that are valuable to security officers but not necessarily expensive, such as healthy workplace culture and opportunities for advancement.

“As employers, we will strive to improve workplace culture by building strategies that can include empowering employees through more job autonomy, building trust in managers and supervisors and allowing more input in management’s decision-making.”

He added Metropolitan will also support their officers by providing more learning opportunities, enhanced support for job success and increased efforts to recognise their officers.

“At Metropolitan, we believe that security companies should start looking at their officers holistically. The companies can see significant gains in retention and productivity by placing their officers in circumstances that benefit them personally. This is the Metropolitan way.”


"Tactical Elite aims to improve security industry"

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