On the occasion of International Security Officers Day 2021, the Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS) stresses policymakers around Europe to translate the recognition of private security workers into political action. In another year of an unprecedent crisis, private security officers showed up in the frontline of workers and provided essential services that allowed European citizens and businesses to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. They are our silent heroes. Not only on this particular day, but throughout the past years, CoESS feels a deep commitment to pay tribute to the hard work of security officers, and calls for concrete political action.
On the occasion of International Security Officers Day, CoESS calls on policymakers in Europe to finally recognise the essential work of private security officers and take action in procurement and contracting practices, sectoral regulation that enforces quality services, and public-private cooperation.
As in previous crises, private security officers demonstrated that they don’t provide just any kind of service. They showed up to support public authorities, businesses and citizens around Europe to navigate safely through the COVID-19 pandemic. They are our “silent heroes”, an often-hidden workforce of more than 2 million private security officers in Europe that is present in people’s everyday lives and there to help.
Since more than a year, private security officers uphold their mission to protect Critical Infrastructures and vital supply chains at times when many could work remotely at home. They would protect empty offices, support access control in hospitals and retirement homes, manage visitor flow and implement security measures in shops, Horeca, and the transport of cash and other valuables. Now that the European economy is slowly opening again, they oversee infection prevention and control measures in public spaces and secure vaccination centres.
It is only logical that many European governments, and the European Commission, officially recognised private security as an “essential service” or “critical occupation”. In this new, unstable reality, private security officers have proven, again, to be essential for the functioning of our economies – not only during lockdowns but also now that policymakers, medical experts and businesses are trying to find the right balance of measures for a safe and secure economic recovery.
Let’s not forget: private security services have always been essential for safety and security in many different locations, particularly in previous exceptional circumstances such as the wave of terrorist attacks on European public spaces and high migration flows. What is different now is the level of recognition that the industry receives in many countries – by Heads of State, law enforcement, and the public.
But it is not enough to pay lip service to the private security industry and its workers.
Security officers are at the centre of internal security frameworks in Europe, but are still suffering from structural challenges that could be effectively addressed by political action.
On the occasion of International Security Officers Day 2021, CoESS therefore stresses that the recognition of the private security workers must now finally lead to political action:
Private security officers show up for all of us, 24/7, anytime. It is time for them to be adequately recognised.