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Security


leaving the majority of assets


unprotected at any single point in time. Secondly,


there is the issue of an audit


trail. In the absence of technology, evidential quality relies totally on the testimony and


contemporaneous notes of guards, with all the potential for collusion, coercion and subversion this entails. Thirdly, we face the inherent limitations of individual and group capabilities. High-quality, efficient manned guarding requires the recruitment of disciplined, intelligent and well-vetted staff, trained to the highest standards (not just to the lowest common level required to achieve legislative compliance), organised into cohesive teams under effective management. Should any of these elements be missing or poorly executed, there is potential for error, misjudgement or deliberate maleficence. It is a sad fact that all too often the security industry struggles to recruit and retain high-quality, well-educated staff who possess the necessary strategic vision. It is the painful recognition of this fact that has long fuelled the never- ending debate on whether in-house or outsourced resource is most effective.





High-quality, efficient manned guarding requires the recruitment of disciplined, intelligent and well-vetted staff, trained to the highest standards


90 FACILITIES ’


The role of technology Having painted a fairly negative view of people-oriented solutions, it may be tempting to view technology as the panacea, under what criminologist Professor Adrian Beck calls the lure of technology. The constant development of security technology is driven by the emergence of new threats along with new possibilities delivered by technological innovation. However, taking the retail sector as one example, whilst research shows some 24% of security expenditure is made on technology, over 90% of theft still goes undetected. It therefore needs to be understood that technology has its own weaknesses and limitations. Firstly, technology requires considerable capital expenditure. This is doubly problematic as not only is there a lack of truly independent information upon which to base decisions about


security technology, but often senior security practitioners lack the business acumen to present and justify such spending at corporate board level. Secondly, whilst technology operates on a 24/7 basis, solving the issue of shift working, it lacks the true intelligence available from even an average person. The cleverest video content analysis algorithms available today may well be able to isolate a person in an image and determine if their behaviour falls outside a set of predetermined parameters, but they are to date unable to identify if someone is ‘acting suspiciously’ and should therefore be monitored. Systems for detecting patterns within human activities and communications cannot yet operate autonomously; there is always a requirement for human verification before an alarm is raised and a response despatched. An example of this is the requirement for video verification of intruder alarm activations before a police response is sent. Thirdly, most technology is provided commercially, off the shelf, and is thus available to all. The physics behind its operation is therefore not only clear to the user but also to the adversary who, in many cases, is every bit as well-educated and technologically savvy as the system designers. It is a truism that all such technology can be defeated, and indeed the theory of systemic complexity suggests that such failure is inevitable. Finally, in many countries across the globe it is difficult to support high-end technologies. The technical skills base required may not exist locally, while perceptions that technology replaces labour, in societies which often lack effective social support systems, can also lead to resistance.


More bang for your buck It should be clear from these brief summaries that neither people nor technology alone can provide a complete and effective response; security is inherently a sociotechnical system, requiring both elements to be in place and supported by effective policies, procedures and training. Whilst technology can provide a visual deterrent, detect hostile behaviour and delay entry or egress, it normally requires a human response to apprehend the adversary.


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