Security Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 264–279 | Cite as

Corporate security – Private justice? (Un)settling employer–employee troubles

  • Clarissa Meerts
Original Article


‘Corporate security’ is a specialized form of private security providing services to private sector companies and also sometimes to public sector organizations, these services being tailored to the specific needs and interests of clients. This article focuses on those frequent instances where the private party acts independently from public law enforcement. Within this high degree of autonomy from public authorities, corporate security acts as an aspect of their clients’ management, keeping internal order by framing responses to economic crime in terms of secrecy, discretion, control and legal flexibility. Public law actors may however be tasked strategically – sometimes formally, sometimes informally – to assist with these purposes. This article focuses on the modus operandi of corporate security as observed in the Netherlands, setting this in the context of the international literature.


corporate security private settlement contract law criminal law reputational management 



This research was made possible by funding of Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam and by the assistance of anonymous interviewees. Going forward, the work is funded for 2012–2016 by the NWO MaGW Onderzoekstalent 2011 (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Division of Social Sciences Research Talent 2011) grant. I am also grateful to James Williams, whose work inspired this research; to Nicholas Dorn, with whom I have co-authored earlier work and who commented on drafts of the above; to René van Swaaningen, who further encouraged me and who together with Nicholas Dorn now supervises my doctoral work; to Henk van de Bunt and other colleagues in Erasmus School of Law; to anonymous referees for their useful comments; and to the editors of this special issue. The usual disclaimer applies.


  1. Avina, J. (2011) Public-private partnerships in the fight against crime: An emerging frontier in corporate social responsibility. Journal of Financial Crime 18 (3): 282–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bijleveld, C.C.J.H. (2009) Methoden en Technieken van Onderzoek in de Criminologie. Den Haag, the Netherlands: Boom Juridische Uitgevers.Google Scholar
  3. Dorn, N. and Meerts, C. (2009) Corporate security and private settlement: An informal economy of justice. In: J. Shapland and P. Ponsaers (eds.) The Informal Economy and Connections with Organised Crime: The Impact of National Social and Economic Policies. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Boom Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Garland, D. (2001) The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Chicago, IL: University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Gill, M. and Hart, J. (1997) Exploring investigative policing: A study of private detectives in Britain. British Journal of Criminology 37 (4): 549–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gill, M. and Hart, J. (1999) Private security: Enforcing corporate security policy using private investigators. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 7 (2): 245–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hardouin, P. (2009) Banks governance and public-private partnership in preventing and confronting organized crime, corruption and terrorism financing. Journal of Financial Crime 16 (3): 199–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hoogenboom, A.B. (2009) De Publiecke Saeck; Politie en Veiligheid in een Verwilderde Wereld. Den Haag, the Netherlands: Boom Juridische Uitgevers.Google Scholar
  9. Hoogenboom, A.B. and Muller, E.R. (2002) Voorbij de Dogmatiek: Publiek-Private Samenwerking in de Veiligheidszorg. Den Haag, the Netherlands: COT.Google Scholar
  10. Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (1998) Private Security and Public Policing. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lippert, R. and O’Connor, D. (2006) Security intelligence networks and the transformation of contract private security. Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy 16 (1): 50–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Loader, I. and Walker, N. (2006) Necessary virtues: The legitimate place of the state in the production of security. In: J. Wood and B. Dupont (eds.) Democracy, Society and the Governance of Security. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Maesschalck, J. (2010) Methodologische Kwaliteit in het Kwalitatief Criminologisch Onderzoek. In: T. Decorte and D. Zaitch (eds.) Kwalitatieve Methoden en Technieken in de Criminologie. Leuven, Belgium: Acco.Google Scholar
  14. Meerts, C. and Dorn, N. (2009) Corporate security and private justice: Danger signs? European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice 17 (2): 97–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie. (2011) Landelijke prioriteiten politie voor een veiliger Nederland. Den Haag, the Netherlands: Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie.Google Scholar
  16. Mulkers, J. and Haelterman, H. (2001) Privé-Detectives; Theorie en Praktijk van de Private Opsporing. Antwerpen, Belgium: Maklu.Google Scholar
  17. Noaks, L. and Wincup, E. (2004) Criminological Research: Understanding Qualitative Methods. London: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shearing, C. and Wood, J. (2003) Nodal governance, democracy and the new ‘denizens’. Journal of Law and Society 30 (3): 400–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Smith, R.G. (2001) Defining, measuring, and reporting fraud risk within your organisation. In I.I.R. Conferences, Applying Risk Management to Implement a Proactive Fraud Prevention Strategy in Financial Services. Parkroyal Darling Harbour, 19–20 July. Online:, accessed 12 July 2012.
  20. Steenhuis, D.W. (2011) Particulier Onderzoek in Strafzaken; an Offer Hardly to be Refused. Gorinchem, the Netherlands: Vpb.Google Scholar
  21. van Dijk, J., van Kesteren, J. and Smit, P. (2007) Criminal Victimisation in International Perspective; Key findings from the 2004–2005 ICVS and EU ICS. Den Haag, the Netherlands: Boom Juridische Uitgevers.Google Scholar
  22. van Wijk, J., Huisman, W., Feuth, T. and van de Bunt, H.G. (2002) Op Deugdelijke Grondslag; een Explorerende Studie naar de Private Forensische Accountancy. Zeist, the Netherlands: Kerckebosch bv.Google Scholar
  23. Walby, K. and Lippert, R.K. (2012) The new keys to the city: Uploading corporate security and threat discourse into Canadian municipal governments. Crime, Law and Social Change 58 (4): 437–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Walby, K. and Monaghan, J. (2011) Private eyes and public order: Policing and surveillance in the suppression of animal rights activists in Canada. Social Movement Studies 10 (1): 21–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. White, A. (2012) The new political economy of private security. Theoretical Criminology 16 (1): 85–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Williams, J.W. (2005) Reflections on the private versus public policing of economic crime. British Journal of Criminology 45 (3): 316–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zedner, L. (2007) Pre-crime and post-criminology? Theoretical Criminology 11 (2): 261–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clarissa Meerts
    • 1
  1. 1.Criminology DepartmentErasmus School of Law, Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations