U.K. to Set Standards for Maritime Private Security Companies by the 2012 Year’s End

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Private Security Companies operating in a maritime environment would be required to meet certain standards expected to be instated before the end of 2012, according to Chris Sanderson the Chairman of the Conference of the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) taking place this week in London. 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.

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. 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.

SCEG is a Special Interest Group within the British ‘Aerospace, Defence, Security’ (ADS) group. SCEG 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. “Our intention is to have an independent accreditation process in place by the end of 2012” Sanderson said, adding “this will also address accreditation for private security companies operating in complex or high-risk land environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“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,” said Rees Ward, CEO at ADS. 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.