Professional bodies have an important part to play in a fast-changing world
by David Thorp, Managing Director, The Security Institute
These are dynamic and rapidly changing times for Security and the professionals that work within the sector. The world, from a risk perspective, has become an increasingly complex place.
In terms of national and regional security, it seems clear that there is little possibility of a conventional threat in Europe as was the case under the old cold war alignment. In the main, the current threats to national and individual security arise from socio-economic imbalances in many developing countries. This leads to two main outcomes: firstly, increasing levels of migration and, secondly, the spread of radical ideologies, which in some instances permit groups of extremists to spread terrorism on a global scale. This in turn has led to an increasing national interdependence in the field of security. The diversity of risk and threat is now enormous, the development of the global village effectively means that global threats are now local threats.
These threats are not merely physical: due to the increasing impact of globalisation and the accelerated evolution of accessible information technologies, both individuals and states are increasingly subject to the so-called cyber threat and to the threat presented by disruptive technologies. Threats that may become increasingly prevalent over the next two decades include the growing world population increasing competition on a regional basis for dwindling resources of fuel, food and water thus creating an environment that can only encourage the growth of extremism. Couple this with individuals seeking justification in the eternal tropes of religion and nationalism and a volatile environment is guaranteed.
Contemporary modern democracies no longer relate the security of their countries to their own national capabilities alone: they focus instead on collective approaches in dealing with security issues. Bilateral and multilateral security co-operation, and the development of international security organisations are on the rise. The awareness that threats to security can come from geographically remote regions has increased readiness to engage in regulating crises and conflicts far beyond the borders of any home country, giving rise to retaliatory acts of terrorism.
As the nature of threats to security becomes ever more complex, so there is a need to adopt complex approaches to confronting them. If national and international security is to be maintained, it is necessary to take action and introduce measures in a concerted manner involving cross-border cooperation that includes political, economic, and diplomatic, technological and military means; a comprehensive approach to finding solutions.
New threats require new approaches, novel techniques, fresh initiatives. For individuals in the front line – the ones actually charged with keeping society safe and secure new skills and methodologies have to be learned and absorbed so that they can be applied effectively. This is where a professional body has an important role to play.
Professional bodies are fundamentally about performance support and improvement. They help their members to be the best they can possibly be, to enjoy the best networking with like-minded professionals, to offer structures where they can enjoy and demonstrate continuing professional development. My own organisation, the Security Institute is one such body.
The Security Institute is an independent body set up in 1999 by a group of senior security practitioners to promote the interests of the profession and its members and to foster an understanding of professionalism in Security. In 2014 the Security Institute celebrates its fifteenth anniversary.
Over that time we have become the primary professional body for security professionals who can demonstrate their experience and today we have almost 2000 members across every sector of security from the virtual threat scenarios of cyber security to the physical presence of man guarding with all points in between.
The aims of the Security Institute have always been focused on the development of the profession and the professionals who work within it. We promote wider understanding and acknowledgement of the contributions of the security profession to the wellbeing of individuals, of organisations in both the public and private sectors, of national interests and of civil society itself.
We encourage, develop and promote the highest standards of training and education for the long term benefit of the profession, its members and those it serves. We help to define best practice security management and have developed and promoted a code of ethics for the profession.
Our goal has always been to become universally recognised as a force for good within the sector and amongst all stakeholders from government, through organisations down to individuals.
The professional body has come of age as the primary development partner for individuals wishing to go further, do better.