Private security in the Commonwealth
With public policing services ever under pressure and resources stretched in many Commonwealth countries, the provision of security by private companies has always been inevitable. The private security industry is valuable in protecting property and ensuring personal security in all sectors of the economy, the public sector and households. The need for such services is self-evident such that in many Commonwealth countries private security personnel outnumber public policing officials.
Essential services provided by the private security companies in many Commonwealth countries include transportation of valuable goods and commodities such as cash and gold; personal security services; rapid response to alarm systems; security guard services for businesses, households, public events, courts, ports and embassies; and the sale of surveillance technologies particularly closed circuit television, alarm systems and safety gear.
Regulation of the private security industry
A regulated and accountable private security sector is crucial to the maintenance of order and peace. The industry has for many years been hampered by a lack of regulation of security officers and companies. To that end, a number of Commonwealth countries have in the past 20 years introduced legislation and established security industry authorities to provide regulatory oversight, promote a culture of professionalism and safeguards including restrictions on the carrying of arms. Equally, in the age of globalisation there has been increasing scrutiny on the role that international private security companies play in some Commonwealth countries, such as the no longer operational Executive Outcomes and Sandline International. This has prompted initiatives to regulate the industry on an international level.