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The Significance of Private Security in Contemporary Society

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The very first point that proves the important role played by private security is the growth in private security involvement in the European Union. Steden and Sarre (2007) point out that according to recent figures, over a period from 1999 to 2007, the number of people employed in private security rose from a mere 600,000 to more than a million. Despite this growth in number, it is difficult to have a clear idea about the growth of the industry because the services offered by such agencies vary greatly. According to the writers, some commonly seen services are manned guarding, alarm monitoring, security equipment production, transport of cash, investigation of crime, advice on risk management, forensic services, and so on. Thus, it has become a difficult task to estimate the exact strength of private security and its social role (ibid).However, the work provides a table showing the presence of private security in various states in the European Union. A look into the table proves that in many states ranging from Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, and the United Kingdom, there is more private security personnel than total police (ibid, 225). The scholars point out two reasons behind this increase in the presence of private security. The first reason, according to the scholars, is the natural growth as a result of the belief that private security is a suitable way of dealing with the increasing threat of lawlessness in society. According to Steden and Sarre (2007), the second reason is the ‘marketisation’ and ‘commodification’ of security that allowed transnational security firms to take birth. As a result of this diversification of commercial security activities, it has become possible for such private security firms to enter such national and sub-national institutions like fire departments, ambulance services, car assistance services, custodial services, and even military operations (ibid, 228).