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The Private Security’ History and Evolution Essay


The concept of security has evolved as a result of certain issues that have faced the public security system. For example, crime and criminal activities in the past overwhelmed the public police to a point that there was need for increased private security system in order to supplement public security agencies available in various countries globally (Maddry, 2009). In addition, the evolution nature, technological changes, and population growth have been influential in determining the development of private security (Maddry, 2009).

In the ancient years, especially in medieval England, various kings and queens used to formulate and implement programs whereby, a number of activities were done on the road in order to protect them from any impending dangers such as robberies and burglary. In addition, various homes, institutions, and companies used only night watchmen to protect their resources, people, and even important production materials (Tani, 2007).

However, currently, things have changed and most companies and social institutions have developed and established a number of security strategies and approaches to promote their protection and general security. For example, it is not strange to find various electric fences and other perimeter fences surrounding homes and social institutions. Furthermore, it is also common nowadays to find a number of security patrols meant to provide security to the people and their resources in various social places. Actually, with more advance technology and changes in environmental issues, it is very common to find many intrusion alarms and other security detectors being used in a number of social institutions and companies (Tani, 2007). Therefore, this paper will discuss the evolution of private security in various countries globally and how this has affected the general security.

History of Security Systems

It is worth noting that, in the early 18th century, most of the security systems were provided to the society through communal means, where the strongest men in the society were appointed to protect the community; any invaders would be dealt with appropriately. Besides, during this period, the authority had to collect taxes from the society in order to finance security services offered by various security agencies such as strong men in the community. However, it was after this era when the parliament in the United States organized a number of security studies in order to expand the scope of security channels in various institutions including the inclusion of the private security system protection.

It is clear that private security started in the United States when the Indians began to attack settlers from Massachusetts. These attacks propelled the settlers to seek ways and means of protecting themselves and in the process, they settled for private security systems in order to mitigate those attacks and security threats. This was made possible due to the fact that the settlers mostly stayed in a settlement system. Here, their farms were inside a fort, and in case of any attack, various alarms were sounded and all of them would converge in one place as the strongmen conduct patrols and counterattacks on the intruders (Tani, 2007).

It is also important to note that many changes have occurred in security system since the early centuries. For example, the municipal police agencies in United States were established in 1700 in various American Cities (Jones, 2014). However, despite establishment and introduction of these municipal police security agencies, their services were very poor, inefficient, and full of corruption. This made the public to demand for more organized and coordinated security systems to protect them in social places such markets and their homes. As a result of this, a number of private security agencies were formed to offer services dealing with private guards’ services for various social institutions such as industries, companies, and rail yards. As a matter of fact, most services devoted to private security systems such as freight and package delivery services, car and courier services among many other services were totally given to the private security agencies by the public (Tani, 2007).

Rising demand for protective services

By the year 1900, a number of former federal officers and agents began to form their own private security systems due to increased public demand for protection and the inefficiency of public security system (Jones, 2014). Even former federal detectives also began forming and opening their own private security systems, as the demand for protection became overwhelmingly high (Lehn, 2006). Indeed, a number of security matters today are in the hands of the private security agencies. These include various services that require more security and protection such as the infrastructure system, the transportation system, and retail and special events services (Maddry, 2009).

In addition, it is also clear that by the year 1970, most of the protection and security services were in the hands of private security system agencies instead of public police system (Fischer, Halibozek, & Walters, 2012). Due to the shortage of security agencies in the past, there was an increase in reported number of crimes and criminal activities in institutions and other social places. To make the matters worse, the public police system was not capable of handling the surging crimes, thus necessitating the need to supplement with the private security system (Tani, 2007). For example, in United States, various organizations such as the American Society for Industrial Security are helping the public police system even today by offering various training programs with the aim of promoting private security system in the country.

In addition, there is a clear indication that in future, the law and security system will be left in the hands of the private security system agencies, since research has indicated that they provide better services than the public security system (Solution Maintains Purity of Evidence, 2007).

Historically, many past evidences indicate that early man was able to use social codes in his involvement in protection of his resources and life. Generally, there was no distinction between private security system and public security system prior to the early 19th century; however, the demand for more protection gave birth to private security system. Biblically, even the Old Testament had some laws and regulations that were to be followed for proper security and protection to be achieved. Again, among various past rulers and in their ruling era, there were certain standard punishments that offenders were to undergo, including payment of fines.

Despite this, it was not until the Middle Ages when many concepts involving security system underwent advancement and improvement. For example, in the early 18th century, the first plain-clothed detective system was formed in the United States. Besides, the year 1829 marked the hallmark of the beginning of the police system, as this is the year when the first uniformed police force was given full employment for the first time in history (Smith and Brooks, 2012).

On the other hand, the private’s security system began properly in 19th century when most of the former police workers began to start establishing their own private investigative security agencies. For example, one of the well known private security agencies in the early 19th centuries was Brinks Incorporated private security agency formed in 1909 (Maddry, 2009). This company was later named the American Banking Association Investigative Unit. By the year 1914, railroads system were given full mandate and authority to operate using their own private security system, although occasionally, they were involving the public force powers (Private Security Company Achieves National Incident Management System Compliance, 2007).

Furthermore, it is also clear that most private security systems underwent a lot of growth and development after the Second World War. This is because many individuals who underwent training in the war, especially in the line of law enforcement and intelligence later began to open their own private security agencies. This provided more jobs to the public, and since they were highly trained in investigation and protection procedures, they were in high demand (Engebretson, 2011).

Private Security system Today

The demand for private security system in contemporary society is still rising, with many institutions finding it more cost-effective, efficient, and reliable in providing security services. In addition, the changing social and technological environment has heightened the responsibilities for security agents as well as the need for expanded skills and knowledge to deal with changing crime trends. In that sense, it is now common to find many professional security personnel tackling complex security matters, thanks to advanced training programs provided by learning institutions. However, there are some limitations that modern private security systems continue to grapple with, among them being rising rates of crime, rising population, increasing conflicts between nations, emerging trends in terrorism and crime, and inadequate resources to guarantee maximum-security services.

Today, various countries globally have well established private security systems than the public security system. For example, in the United States, there are about 10,000 private security system companies that are responsible for protection of human life and other important duties. Again, in various countries globally, private security companies have been known to be among the highest providers of employment opportunities (Maddry, 2009). In that sense, it is clear that private security systems contribute towards provision of employment to many individuals globally. Besides, these private security systems and the public police force usually work hand in hand in order to promote security matters in the society (Hess, 2008).

Needless to say, it is worth noting that the increase in both non-violent and violent crime rate in various countries is one of the reasons that have made private security systems to have high public demand. For example, due to increased public fear of crime rate in United States, the federal regulations were placed in the hands of private security agencies in 2002, with the help of American Society for Industrial Security. Again, the Private Security Officer Employment Act was also passed in the year 2002, allowing private companies to have the authority to get background checks from the National Crime Information Centre (Tani, 2007). This followed the 9/11 attach in America, which prompted many organizations and the government to seek the services of private security agents to mitigate their risks of attack.

Various countries usually have a number of programs for training of private security agencies’ employees (Maddry, 2009). For example, some organizations and institutions have started providing various courses to individuals who operate private security systems. These courses and programs include certified protection professional, professional certified investigator and physical security professional courses. Furthermore, private security system is mainly charged with the task and responsibility of protecting life and resources. As a result, most private security systems in various countries are today given both internal and national duties including checking of people’s IDs at various office buildings and even participating in some military operations and activities (Maddry, 2009).

In ancient Egypt and in Romanism period, most wealthy landowners used private security systems to protect their resources. The fall of the Roman Empire took with it the power, and this led to the development of private security system. Again, in the past European villages, many individuals faced many security challenges due to lack of centralized authority, thus leading to private security systems development (Maddry, 2009). By the late 20th century, most European settlements had changed to become cities and towns, calling for increased private security systems to give more protection from criminals (Maddry, 2009).

On the other hand, by the early 21st century, many countries began to use private security agencies in various events and public places. It is worth noting that even the military bases are usually protected by private security agencies. Furthermore, in countries prone to war such as Iraq and Afghanistan, most of the security and protection roles are usually in the hands of private security agencies (Gasulla, 2011). Nevertheless, the need for private security system is not going to decline in the foreseeable future due to the increasing demand for protection by state, institutions and other agencies, given that public security systems may not have the capacity to provide maximum security. Indeed, there is likely to be more firms entering the security industry to take advantage of the potential opportunities for sustainable viability in the long-term.


This paper has clearly discussed and evaluated the evolution of private security system. It clearly illustrates how private security system has developed at a fast rate due to failure by the public security system to protect the public. Therefore, the development of private security units was mainly due to lack of enough public police force and the increase in the rate of crime and criminal activities in the early 19th century.

As a result, today, most security issues in many countries are in the hands of private security system agencies. This involves duties and responsibilities in sectors such as protection, transport, and social places gathering among many others. Therefore, this calls for the need for security science that integrates the various areas of security into a single entity of knowledge. Again, the security science should also bring together various models, principles, and theories that would promote the scope of private security system. This will enable private security system to have more knowledge about the concept of organizational security and the homeland security systems. Moreover, this will provide skills and application of scientific methods necessary for modern crime detection and the frequent terrorist’s threats.


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Fischer, R., Halibozek, E., & Walters, D. (2012). Introduction to Security. MA, USA: Butterworth-Heinemann. Web.

Gasulla, S. (2011). Illinois Court Sides with ADT against Fire District Monitoring Monopolies. SDM: Security Distributing & Marketing, 41(9), 18-36. Web.

Hess, K. (2008). Introduction to Private Security. OH, USA: Cengage Learning. Web.

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