Need to privatise security industry

In 2016, more than 4.8 million crimes were reported in India. The ever-growing crime rate has created a need for better security systems across the country. With the government’s pushing for smart cities, the security and safety of the citizens have become the biggest concerns that must be contended with the aid of modern technology.

This issue is being tackled by a rapid rise in security solutions and electronic security devices that are built to counter the increase in crime rate and the startlingly low police to citizen ratio of 150:1,00,000 in the country.

More Indians are also joining the billionaire league and are thus demanding private protection. As infrastructure development is leading to more urban connectivity and development, the need for policy reforms that are aimed at citizen security are very important.

The concept of smart cities involves creating a safe and secure environment for the people. To achieve the same, technology needs to be streamlined in everyday life scenarios to make movement, productivity and operations easier.

To keep the security of its citizens under check, the smart city transformation is being fuelled by technology advancements, information management systems and the deployment of advanced intelligence that is geared towards improving citizen safety. 

Government policies, like the mandatory stationing of guards in schools and ATMs and the mandatory installation of CCTV cameras at various locations, have also accelerated the demand for private security guards in the country. Considering the rising demand, security firms in India are realising the growth potential in this domain and thus seeking capital to expand their businesses. Some international players are also foraying into India to tap the immense potential of the industry.

However, it’s not just the government that should solely undertake the responsibility of citizen safety. The private sector, too, now has the opportunity to capitalise on this need, and the private security industry is poised to deliver the services that are needed.

The private security industry, both globally and in India, has seen a considerable shift from its conventional services. It has now diversified into newer fields that are fuelled by government policies and citizen needs. The new-age security market has evolved from analog to digital systems, with multiplication of features like intrusion detection, access control, surveillance and alarms, resulting in steady growth of the Indian electronic security equipment industry.

Moreover, security agencies have also diversified into providing services like event security management, total loss prevention, software and data security, security consulting, and security training, among others. With company Chief Security Officers now tasked with handling more intensive ‘loss prevention’ services as well, the expansion of private security industry portfolios is indeed proving to be a major boost.

Into the hinterlands

By providing a degree of guaranteed protection, the private security industry is enabling Indian industry players to expand their presence into the vast Indian hinterland that was previously deemed unsafe for efficient business operations. This factor enables safety of company assets and employees, which also leads to better hiring and retention — and thus fuels overall industry and GDP growth.

Smart cities in India are steadily adapting to this change, with authorities working in tandem with each other. Each smart city today has developed its own safety and security programme that is unique to itself. For instance, Bhopal and several other cities have adopted customised means of integrated control and command centres for security.

Smart cities are hotbeds for economic growth, innovation and tourism; as a result, safety and security of the tourists have become key concerns due to growing numbers of wrongdoers and petty criminals. Therefore, it is important for a smart city to be equipped with monitoring mechanisms and safety systems like IP-based video surveillance technologies.

The private security industry in India, valued at Rs 57,000 crore by FICCI, is one of the largest employers in India and it is continuously growing. It employs 8.5 million people at the moment and it has the potential to employ 3 million more people by 2020.

While the Indian security industry is still undergoing changes and is likely to see exponential growth, both in terms of manpower employed and market share, due to rapid infrastructural and economic development, the increased need for prevention, detection and protection of assets and citizens cannot be neglected.

(The writer is CEO, Terrier Security Services)

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Need to privatise security industry

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