UK Standards for maritime private security by end of year
At the Inaugural Conference of the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) today, the Chair of SCEG, Chris Sanderson, announced that standards designed to ensure high levels of quality and professionalism of all Private Security Companies operating in a maritime environment would be in place before the end of 2012.
The Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) is a Special Interest Group within ADS. It brings together private security companies operating on land and sea around a common agenda of raising standards and introducing robust and independent accreditation for companies operating in complex and high-risk environments. ADS was appointed by UK Ministers as the government’s industry partner for the regulation and accreditation of private security companies in June 2011, and an announcement was made in Parliament.
ADS believes that the high levels of risk of piracy in the seas off Somalia makes the development of maritime standards and independent accreditation a high priority, to reduce risks to private security companies and their employees, to ship owners and seamen, and to ship and cargo insurers and brokers. The SCEG has been working on standards, and will shortly be consulting with government officials, client groups and others such as intergovernmental bodies and certification bodies. The draft standards will be then submitted to government Ministers. It is intended that the government will play an important role in the selection of independent certification bodies that will audit individual private security companies against the standards, when they are finalised. Our intention is to have an independent accreditation process in place by the end of 2012. This will also address accreditation for private security companies operating in complex or high-risk land environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rees Ward, CEO at ADS, said: "Piracy on the high seas is increasingly a problem, both for the areas and communities it affects as well as the commercial shipping which suffers from its attentions. The human and financial costs to ship owners and companies are potentially very high. Having a set of standards endorsed by the UK government and implemented by independent accrediting bodies will reduce levels of uncertainty and risk. ADS’ Security in Complex Environments Group has this as its top priority, working with the UK government."
FCO Minister for Counter-Piracy and Conflict issues, Henry Bellingham, said: "Given the importance of the private security sector to the UK economy, I am delighted that our partner association, ADS, is leading the way globally in the drafting of maritime standards for British companies. It is vitally important for British security companies, working both at sea and on land, to operate with the highest professional standards that are consistent with the principles of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers."