European Security Summit: Dare to make security a collective effort

The European Security Summit 2019, hosted by CoESS for its 30th anniversary in partnership with FederSicurezza, has started today in Rome. In its sixth edition, this year’s Summit focuses on “The Security Continuum in the New Normal” and the need for public-private partnerships between law enforcement and private security industry. To this end, CoESS launched a White Paper on the Security Continuum today. To tackle today’s complex challenges to public security, keynote speakers called on the more than 150 participants to work together for enforced cooperation: among national associations, private security companies, law enforcement and policymakers.

In the opening of the Summit, Marc Pissens, President of CoESS, highlighted that the private security industry has evolved a lot since the foundation of CoESS in Rome in 1989. Today, 2 million licensed private security guards in Europe make citizens feel safe in their daily lives: when they go to work, take a flight for a business trip or holiday, visit the match of their favourite football club, or go see a concert during the weekend. And for many unseen, private security would play a crucial role in protecting todays supply chains, Critical Infrastructure, and transportation networks.

However, current challenges to public security would make it necessary that society as a whole adapts to this new normal: A true Security Continuum would be needed, in which security is seen as an enabler and not a simple commodity. To really achieve this, private and public sector partners would urgently have to work together and legislation would need to create fit frameworks to strengthen security in Europe. CoESS has provided respective recommendations to European policymakers to take important steps in this direction with the recently published 10 recommendations for a more resilient Europe.

The Summit further started with a strong statement by Luigi Gabriele, President of FederSicurezza. He called for strong cooperation of the private security industry on EU-level in order to improve the exchange of best practices among national associations and to drive the promotion of CoESS’ values: quality, safety, compliance and trust. Likewise, he stressed that private security would be ready to assist law enforcement in counterterrorism efforts in a complementary way. Private security could take over tasks such as monitoring and patrolling to allow law enforcement and armed forces to better focus on the specialised missions they are trained and equipped for. He mentioned the Italian initiative “1000 eyes on the city” as a best practice example.

Luigi Gabriele was joined by Anna Lapini, member of the National Board of ConfCommercio, stressing that also from an industry perspective, it would be crucial to continue fostering a secure environment for business operations. In Italy alone, still 29 Billion EUR would be lost annually in the retail sector due to organised crime. To highlight the importance of this issue, ConfCommercio has launched the Rule of Law Day in Italy, stressing stakeholders to work together to create an environment that is safe and secure for business operations. Today, 4 out of 5 entrepreneurs in Italy would already have preventive measures in place, including video surveillance solutions and the services provided by Private Security Companies.

This year’s keynote speech was held by Hans Das, Head of the Counterterrorism Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs. He stressed that the terrorist threat would remain high in the EU, and would unfortunately be there to stay when looking at emerging threats to public security. It would therefore be crucial to adapt response strategies accordingly, and particularly private security would play a crucial role to support law enforcement and Member States in protecting public spaces. He showed himself deeply convinced that cooperation between public and private security is essential. To this end, the European Commission has put in place importance initiatives in cooperation with both Member States and private operators – including the EU Action Plan on the Protection of Public Spaces, the launch of the EU Operators Forum, as well as guidance material to improve the exchange of best practices among Member States. Law enforcement and armed forces could not protect every single public space alone, which is why public-private partnerships would be an essential part of future security approaches. “We need to dare to make secure a collective effort”, he said. A commitment CoESS makes a contribution to with the White Paper on the Security Continuum, which was launched at the Summit.

Discussions this afternoon will go into further detail on how to create this Security Continuum: from best practices in ensuring quality in the provision of security services by standards and public procurement; the use of innovative technologies and security solutions in private security services at the benefit of law enforcement and public security; and concrete recommendations on how to establish partnership frameworks between law enforcement and private security.