Organizations that utilize private security companies (PSCs) traditionally selected a specific PSC based on the security company’s perceived strength and reputation in a particular geography or technical offering. Ultimately, the selection of the PSC often came down to evaluating self-claimed capabilities proposed in response to the client’s requirements.
With the arrival of new risk management standards and frameworks, however, the traditional client vetting and selection process for PSCs is likely to change. As referenced in previous Human Analytics’ posts, the release of ISO 18788, Management System for Private Security Operations – Requirements with Guidance for Use (ISO 18788) provides a global auditable management standard for PSCs to adhere to in the provision of security services anywhere in the world. It stands out among ISO standards because it is the first certifiable international risk management standard that incorporates extensive human rights provisions.
PSC’s demonstrate their conformance to ISO 18788 through third party certification including recurring field audits, thus providing their clients and other external stakeholders, such as civil society groups, with greater assurance of their ability to consistently provide security services to a high standard while maintaining the safety of clients and ensuring respect for human rights and national and international laws.
Private security companies that successfully certify to ISO 18788 provide assurance to all stakeholders – both internal and external – of their tested compliance with ISO 18788 and their commitment to a continual improvement process within their organization. PSC compliance with the new standard provides chief security officers and their teams with a new basis for vetting and selecting PSCs anywhere in the world.
GardaWorld International Protective Services, an international PSC provider, recently became the first PSC to receive global certification to ISO 18788, but other PSCs will undoubtedly follow. This is an extremely significant development and sets performance expectations both for PSC providers and their stakeholders, including the company boards that oversee PSCs, the public and private sector clients that utilize PSC services, and the local populations where PSCs operate.