Private security companies – new standard in development

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A new ISO project committee has started work on an international framework and standard to help private security companies adopt good practice and improve accountability. The standard is titled Management system for quality of private security company (PSC) operations – Requirements with guidance.

Dr Marc Siegel is Chair of ISO/PC 284, the new ISO project committee that is working on the standard. He says there’s a pressing need for an international standard that helps private security companies and their clients demonstrate accountability so that human rights are adhered to and illegal acts prevented.

Private security services primarily protect people and property in countries where protection provided by the state is deficient, or when disaster or conflict makes heightened security necessary. Dr Seigel says, ‘There’s no denying that these companies operate in high-risk environments, so an understanding of these risks and how to plan for them must be paramount.

‘Among the beneficiaries of the standard will be the communities directly affected by the security services. The human rights impact of a private security company’s presence in these communities must be at the forefront of company thinking.

Dr Seigel is also keen to highlight an oft forgotten group – the private security company employees themselves who are working in high-risk situations.

‘If something goes wrong, they can find themselves in danger. It’s really important that they’re well prepared and know what to do if things get nasty.’

The committee plans to develop a management system standard for private security companies to help a company manage the risks associated with its operations, and ultimately protect human rights. A robust and rigorous standard, which can be certified by a competent third-party certification body, will:

  • help the industry consistently improve standards and accountability
  • help private security companies demonstrate their commitment to these international expectations and guidelines
  • reassure the clients of private security companies and the public that the company is taking all the necessary steps to minimise risk and protect human rights.

ISO/PC 284 held its first meeting in Montreux, Switzerland, in December 2013.

Published in international.

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