Use of security forces

Security forces are hired or contracted personnel that serve to protect the employees, facilities, assets, and operations of a company or organisation. Companies sometimes engage private or public security forces in high-risk environments where companies need a greater level of security.

What are security forces?

Security forces are hired or contracted personnel that serve to protect the employees, facilities, assets, and operations of a company or organisation.

Companies sometimes engage private or public security forces in high-risk environments where companies need a greater level of security. [1]

Why this matters?

Security forces normally possess a certain level of authority and sometimes weapons. If they start misusing their authority and weapons towards workers or people in the surrounding community, the impact could be significant. Therefore, it is very important for companies to define the roles, responsibilities, and boundaries of their security forces clearly, in order to prevent the misuse of these forces. [2]

Management systems are to be aligned with applicable international standards and local laws such as:

  • the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers [3]
  • the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights [4]
  • the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials [5]

How – procedures to manage security forces

  • Policy. Establish a company policy that prevents it and a third party security service provider from using of force while ensuring their proper management in situations where the use of force is unavoidable.
  • Complaint Management System. Provide workers with channels to report related complaints. All persons involved in processing complaints are responsible for keeping reports confidential and ensuring that a person does not suffer prejudice, embarrassment, or retaliation as a result of submitting a complaint. All complaints must be investigated and appropriate preventive, corrective, and disciplinary actions should be taken.
  • Risk Assessment. A risk assessment should be carried out to identify security risks, potential for violence, and understand the root causes of local conflicts (if any).
  • Training. Companies should ensure that all personnel performing security services have adequate competence in security management including:
    - Roles and responsibilities
    - The proper use and maintenance of weapons and ammunitions
    - Awareness and understanding of human rights and relevant laws

Example of a security force policy

“The purpose of this Policy is to regulate the use of force, arms and firearms by Security Personnel and to ensure that every individual acts in a manner that is in compliance with applicable national, state and local laws at all times.”

“[Company Name] is responsible for the local implementation of the Policy as well as for ensuring that local armed guards have been carefully selected, vetted to ensure that they have not carried out any human rights abuses and that they are trained regularly and supervised closely in reference to this Policy.” 

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