Security Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 264–277 | Cite as

Developing a Risk Profile and Model Regulatory System for the Security Industry

  • Tim Prenzler
  • Rick Sarre


This is a theory and policy paper that examines the security industry in order to develop a model form of regulation with cross-jurisdictional application. It begins by outlining the need for regulation based on a risk profile for conduct and standards of work. Different types of regulation are then reviewed – including civil and criminal law, market forces and self-regulation – elaborating on previous evaluations. The focus is then placed on the need to refine modern systems of government regulation through licensing. The core of these systems involves mandated entry-level competencies (via prescribed training) and disqualifying offences (via criminal history checks). These requirements and many other elements of regulation are, however, currently applied in highly variable ways. The paper emphasizes the need for consistent standards and the inclusion of a range of “advanced” regulatory strategies for improved monitoring and professional development. It concludes by proposing a comprehensive model of what has come to be known as “smart regulation” that seeks to balance the needs and interests of the different groups holding a stake in security.


security industry private security regulation smart regulation misconduct risks 


  1. Ayres, I. and Braithwaite, J. (1992) Responsive Regulation: Transcending the Deregulation Debate. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. BJA (2005) Engaging the Private Sector to Promote Homeland Security. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  3. Button, M. and George, B. (2006) Regulation of Private Security: Models for Analysis. In Gill, M. (ed.) Handbook of Security. Houndmills, Hampshire: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp 563–585.Google Scholar
  4. Button, M., Park, H. and Lee, J. (2006) The Private Security Industry in South Korea: A Familiar Tale of Growth, Gaps and the Need for Better Regulation. Security Journal. Vol. 10, pp 167–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davis, R., Ortiz, C., Dadush, S., Irish, J., Alvarado, A. and Davis, D. (2003) The Public Accountability of Private Police: Lessons from New York, Johannesburg, and Mexico City. Policing and Society. Vol. 13, pp 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Waard, J. (1999) The Private Security Industry in International Perspective. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. Vol. 7, pp 143–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. George, B. and Button, M. (1997) Private Security Regulation – Lessons from Abroad for the United Kingdom. International Journal of Risk, Security and Crime Prevention. Vol. 2, pp 109–121.Google Scholar
  8. George, B. and Button, M. (2000) Private Security. Leicester: Perpetuity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gunningham, N. and Grabosky, P. (1999) Smart Regulation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hemmens, C., Maahs, J., Scarborough, K. and Collins, P. (2001) Watching the Watchmen: State Regulation of Private Security 1982–1998. Security Journal. Vol. 14, pp 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hyde, D. (2003) The Role of Government in Regulating, Auditing and Facilitating Private Policing in Late Modernity: The Canadian Experience. Paper presented at the In Search of Security Conference. Montreal, February.Google Scholar
  12. Jaksa, J. (2004) Is the Guard Trained or Not? The Attempt to Legislate Security Guard Training in Michigan. Security Journal. Vol. 17, pp 67–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnston, L. (1992) The Rebirth of Private Policing. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Johnston, L. and Shearing, C. (2003) Governing Security. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (1998) Private Security and Public Policing. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  16. King, M. and Prenzler, T. (2003) Private Inquiry Agents: Ethical Challenges and Accountability. Security Journal. Vol. 16, pp 7–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lister, S., Hadfield, P., Hobbs, D. and Winlow, S. (2001) Accounting for Bouncers: Occupational Licensing as a Mechanism for Regulation. Criminology and Criminal Justice. Vol. 1, pp 363–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Murray, C. (1996) The Case Against Regulation. International Journal of Risk, Security and Crime Prevention. Vol. 1, pp 59–62.Google Scholar
  19. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States (2004) Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  20. Prenzler, T. (2004) Security Industry Report Card. Paper presented to the National Security Industry Forum. Australian Security Industry Association Ltd., Melbourne, 20 April.Google Scholar
  21. Prenzler, T. (2006) Growth, Scandal and Reform in the Australian Security Industry. Paper presented to the Sixth Australasian Security Research Symposium, Brisbane, 20–21 April.Google Scholar
  22. Prenzler, T. and Hayes, H. (1999) An Evaluation of the Queensland Security Providers Act. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. Vol. 32, pp 79–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sarre, R. (2003) Sources of Private Security Law. Canberra Law Review. Vol. 7, pp 109–128.Google Scholar
  24. Sarre, R. and Prenzler, T. (1999) The Regulation of Private Policing: Reviewing Mechanisms of Accountability. Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal. Vol. 1, pp 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sarre, R. and Prenzler, T. (2000) The Relationship Between Police and Private Security: Models and Future Directions. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. Vol. 24, pp 92–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sarre, R. and Prenzler, T. (2005) The Law of Private Security in Australia. Sydney: Thomson LBC.Google Scholar
  27. Stenning, P. (2000) Powers and Accountability of Private Police. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. Vol. 8, pp 325–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zedner, L. (2006) Liquid Security: Managing the Market for Crime Control. Criminology and Criminal Justice. Vol. 6, pp 267–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Prenzler
    • 1
  • Rick Sarre
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Commerce, University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations