This chapter identifies the main external influences on the UK market for
private security and fire protection, using the four headings of a PEST
analysis: political, economic, social and technological.
Where such influences have more than one dimension, they are considered
under the heading that is considered to be the most relevant.
The Terrorist Threat
Precautions against terrorist attacks have been stepped up since the events
of 11th September 2001, and there is strong demand for security services
and equipment in the public sector. The UK, and especially London, has been
on a high level of alert since the war in Iraq. Some of the UK's export
customers are also concerned about the threat from terrorism.
In the important airport and airline security sector, the effects of terrorism
have been mixed. In the US, the Federal Government took over all passenger
screening from the private security industry, and it plans to retain direct
control until 2005. Because UK firms play an important role in airport
security, this meant the loss of an important customer sector. In the UK, the
Department for Transport (DfT) took over the approval of companies
providing airport security, but it left the work in the private sector.
Around the world, heightened awareness of the need for airport security has
been a positive driver for the private security industry. There are still many
airports where security needs to be improved.
Regulation of the Security Industry
After at least 8 years of discussion, compulsory regulation of the security
industry has begun in England and Wales. It will take some time to extend
registration to all regions and all the security activities that need to be
covered, but the result should be improved standards and improved
customer confidence in the manned security sector. However, the increase in
labour costs caused by regulation is likely to eliminate some of the lower-cost... [continues]
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