Security is any effort taken to ensure protection of persons or property from harm or any form of destruction. The concept of security evolved as the society evolved over time. In the old ages, security was only an issue of personal safety, but as societies became more complex so did the introduction of property and ownership. Property has evolved be anything from digital property to money, valuables, corporations and intangible property. This complex ownership structures present new security concerns. While in early ages the society relied on unwritten behavior and rules to exert security, this has since changed to formalizing these rules into laws that prescribe consequences of breaching these rules. This paper examines the history of security over time and the significant development of private security.
Theories Foundations of Security
The second theoretical foundation is that crime exists due to presence of a suitable target and an opportunity to do the act. This implies that for crime to exist there has to be a target of the crime and appropriate opportunity to perpetrate that crime. Finally, in the last theoretical assumption Ortmeier (2009), argues that in as much as crime in the society will always exist to some degree, such incidence can be minimized through deliberate manipulation of the environment. This implies that since targets of crime cannot be eliminated, then much can be done to reduce opportunities that promote crime. This relation between opportunity and targets of crime provide a good understanding of security as under study. All these concepts of security have developed into a complex and sophisticated ideology in the society.
In Ancient times, the burden to securing the safety of property and person rested on individual, clans and tribes acting in unison. This was mainly due to the fact that clan and tribes lived together in villages and owned most property such as land in communal. Social order was also maintained by customs and grievances were also handled at the community level. Only a select few of the community handled matters of crime and insecurity. However, some communities such as kingdom and empires had written codes that provided guidelines towards security. Stronger civilizations such as Babylon had a stronger security mechanism enshrined in the Code of Hammurabi. Some empires such as the Egypt had improved further and had a judiciary system.
Common Law of England
A more structured security mechanism was exhibited by the British common law system introduced during the Norman era (Fischer, Fischer, Halibozek, & Green, 2008). The king developed some kind of system in which a magistrate would be appointed by the king who would oversee arrests and deliver such suspects to a court system. Court gave rulings depending on circumstances for each case. A more important outcome of this era was the introduction of court precedents. According to the new court system, rulings on specific cases provided binding judicial precedents for similar cases in future. This was the foundation of the English Common Law.
The English system further improved under King John. During his reign cities with high walls started a night watch system in which nonpaid able community men would take turns in watching the city. This kind night security system from community men evolved into dedicated organ as industrial evolution took hold.
Evolution of private Security in the United Sates
The criminal justice system in the United States was largely based on English Common law. The reason for this is that most of immigrants from Europe into America were largely English. Hence, they simply transferred what they had long practiced in England. However, just as the rest of the world, the development of a formal police force was rather slow. The first formal police unit may have began at in Boston in 1838 followed by New York and San Francisco (Fischer, et al 2008). However, the development of formal police units was much slower compared to population growth in these cities.
This created some security vacuum in which investors took advantage of. These investors looked to provide private security services to enterprises. Two investors, Henry Wells and Williams Fargo established the Wells Fargo cargo company . Another investor Allan Pinkerton established a private security company that provided private security on the railroads. Pinkerton security even went further to providing investigative services.
The industry would soon see a myriad of investors. One such investor was Perry Brink who in 1858 introduced armored carriages for transporting valuable goods such gold and money. Edwin Holmes also introduces bugler alarms. Even as private security took hold of the industry, policing remained under the management of public sector under municipalities.
In the mid 1900s, private security also grew tremendously due to war veterans returning from the second war. The United States was involved in the Second World War in two fronts, that is, the pacific war with Japan and in the Europe against Nazi Germany . After the end of the war several military personnel were left without employment and thus entrepreneurs such as George Wackenhut established the Wackenhut Corporation becoming one of the largest security corporations in the United States.
Professionalism in Private Security
As many of these private security companies were formed, there was no regulation as to the conduct in which these private firms operated. Effort was put in place such as legislation to try and exert some sought of regulation. However this regulation did not work in uniformity in the private security industry. Therefore organizations within the industry began to have some self regulation.
Other agencies such as the International Foundation of Protective Officers have also developed some training certification to ensure quality on security personnel. Several security agencies provide different training programs to ensure professionalism and quality in the Private security sector.
Today, several factors affect the manner in which private security firms provide services to client organizations. Some of these factors include the mission of the organization, culture and the conduct in which the client organization interact with external partners. To understand the manner in which personnel can offer good security, it is important to understand the development of the sector vis-à-vis the clients of the business. It is also important to understand the role of the formal police units in the society. This ensures that private security personnel operate within the purview of the law.
Burstein, H. (1994). Introduction to security. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Fischer, R., Fischer, R. J., Halibozek, E., & Green, G. (2008). Introduction to Security. Boston : 2008.
Ortmeier, P. (2008). Security Management: An introduction. 3rd edition. New Jersey : Prentice Hall.