A parliamentary meeting hosted by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has identified trust, accountability and value for money as three key areas to help the private security industry build successful relations with the police.
These issues were part of a wider debate on the topic of delivering community policing, which took place at a recent Parliamentary roundtable event hosted by the BSIA and chaired by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP. The event brought together MPs, senior figures from the private security sector, Police and Crime Commissioners and local authority representatives to discuss the issue of private security involvement in the delivery of neighbourhood policing.
“Against a backdrop of economic austerity, there is clear recognition across the political spectrum of the need to consider new and innovative resourcing solutions within the public sector,” said James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA. “The community policing approach can be undermined by cuts to policing budgets, and there is a resulting increase in the need to consider how different elements, such as police and local government, can work together effectively to achieve results.”
BSIA was keen to bring together leading figures to highlight examples of successful partnership work between BSIA members and police forces. During the discussion there was recognition of key concerns regarding the impact of outsourcing and accountability, and debate focused on how to build trust in the sector.
Kelly added: “Despite some reservations, the progress made by the private security industry in gaining public trust over recent years was also acknowledged, and the role of the Private Security Industry Act of 2001 in increasing the professionalisation of the industry cannot be underestimated.
“With the industry currently undergoing a period of regulatory change, now is the perfect time to highlight the need for timely primary legislation in support of the proposed introduction of business regulation. When introduced, this new regulatory framework should help to increase the industry’s accountability to its customers even further, and the BSIA is heavily involved in the development of this new regime.”
Robbie Calder, Chairman of the BSIA’s Police and Public Services section added: “From the discussions that took place at our roundtable meeting, it is clear that there is a widely held view that trust is best built through direct relationships and consistency, combined with the ability of locally-based security providers to produce tailored services and develop close relationships. Through case studies and success stories supplied by BSIA members, we are able to challenge the more negative views and demonstrate real-life examples of successful partnerships, a message which the Association shall continue to reinforce through further Parliamentary engagement.”
The BSIA hosts regular roundtable events bringing together parliamentarians, policing representatives and key figures from the private security sector. For more information – and examples of positive partnerships – please visit the Association’s website: www.bsia.co.uk/police-and-public-services