European Standards ensure better security services 

The security sector is characterised by a very close relationship between the security industry and the public sector: public authorities hire service providers through public bidding procedures. Like many other sectors, the private security industry, its businesses and employees are faced with a series of disruptive trends that are radically altering the economic, societal, and technological environment in which the business operates. The many drivers – whether a changing security threat environment, digitalisation, or migration and skills mismatches – will undoubtedly result in a mix of incremental transformations in the business environment for private security providers, impacting market demand, future business models and operations.

Within CEN, suppliers and customers of security services sit together in technical committee CEN/TC 439 'Private security services' to define service requirements for quality in the organisation, processes, personnel and management of a security service provider and/or its independent branches and establishments. Up to now, three standards have been published covering terminology on security services, aviation security services and port and maritime security. Work is underway for delivering an overarching standard for critical infrastructure protection.

As an example, EN 16082:2012 ‘Airport and Aviation Security Services’ lays down quality criteria for the delivery of civil aviation security services requested by public and private clients or buyers. This technical standard is suitable for the selection, attribution, awarding and reviewing of the most suitable provider of civil aviation security services.

European standards establish a benchmark for the quality of services provided, allowing companies to enter the market and respond to client expectations. European standards facilitate a mutual understanding of the security terminology and equipment used by both public and private security organizations. They help security service companies prove their compliance with widely accepted procedures and demonstrate the deployed workforce and equipment meet expected performance indicators.

CoESS, the Confederation of security services, supports the standards development of these committees. Catherine Piana, Director General of CoESS and CEN/TC 439 Chair, emphasised that standards are key to promote the provision and procurement of quality security services: "If companies invest money in setting out standards, they must be of added value and tailored to the environment they operate in. CoESS actively participates in developing European standards for the private security industry as this is a direct and concrete action deriving from its core values, namely quality, trust, compliance and safety."

For more information, please contact Alina IATAN.

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