Private Security: History and Growth

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History and growth
‘It is clear that the private security industry has experienced substantial growth, particularly if one compares the size of the industry in 1950 with that in 1995. In 1950 there were a dozen or so companies involved in the provision of security services and products; now there are thousands, in what could be described as a multi-billion industry (George and Button : 30).’ Policing is now being widely offered by institutions other than the state, most importantly by private companies on a commercial basis and by communities on a volunteer basis (Bayley and Shearing, 1996).’ According to South, Jones and Newburn, private security industry in Britain has grown from the post war years from a few specialised firms catering for the rich folk to a multi-billion pound industry (South, 1988; Jones and Newburn1998). Johnston echoes the fact that there has been a significant increase in private forms of policing over the years in South Africa and many countries including Western democracies and other societies in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa (Johnston, 1992). Stenning and Shearing share the view that the growth of private policing is as a result of changes in societal status, property ownership like massive shopping complexes, cinema halls, huge retail stores, big compounds style housing estates or gated communities (Shearing and Stenning, 1983). Canadian private security industry coupled with management technological advancement grew so tremendously during the post-war period as to be referred to as ‘a quiet revolution’ (Stenning and Shearing, 1980). The industry continues to grow even in the adverse economic times leading others to term it ‘recession resistant’ (Kakalik and Wildhorn, 1977).

Reasons for the growth of the private security
The UK police encompass 53 constabularies found in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their funding comes directly from the government, and their aim is to give good service delivery to...
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