Private security is any profit-oriented enterprises, owned by individuals, which safeguard persons, businesses and government institutions. The history of private security dates back to the mid years of the 19th century. Its rampart growth has led to the current situation of a sector worth $150 billion in the US. Several factors led to this growth in the past fifty years as this private sector adopts a professional mode of working. A close examination of the history of private security is paramount to investors of this field as it may enable a projection of the probable shape and future of the industry.
Public security began in the period when humankind adopted communal or societal form of leaving. However, the private sector in the US began as late as mid 19th century, when Allan Pinkerton created the famous Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton’s firm got contracts from the US government and acted as a spy to the military. The president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, employed the agency as his private security, when it emerged that the Pinkerton Agency had dismantled a plan to assassinate the president. After the First World War, the agency provided security to industrialists who had security concerns on their wealth. In industries, they spied on rebel workers and protected assets of companies in times of strikes. The most notable industrial guard occurred in the 1892 Homestead Strike of labourers, which implicated Pinkerton’s Agents for shooting allegations. The agency grew considerably and outnumbered the U.S soldiers. This growth established fear within the state of Ohio, which claimed that the agency was a threat to national security. The agency grew further in 1877 and got involved in security measures during the Great Railroad Strike. Upon realization of the opportunity, several private securities emerged and expanded the private security sector. Currently, the Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations still exists as the founder of private security in the U.S (Singer, 2003).
Factors that led to the growth of private security include the rise of terrorism in the mid twentieth century. The terrorist threat of the twentieth century was a threat to the state and personal figures. This made the U.S government seek services of competent private owned security companies that provided intelligence services to the US military in a move to combat terrorism. The private spies watched on suspicions foreigners and provided security to public figures, which provided attractive remuneration packages. Hiring of these companies based on a performance merit thus creating competition among private security. This increased their level of efficiency as well as their number (Singer, 2003).
Private investors loosed their properties to theft, loot and demolition of properties during public strikes in the US. This occurred because the public police force was incompetent and did not provide ample security as required. This made such investors opt for private owned companies for the provision of the much-needed security. The private agencies acted as spy agencies and provided physical security during public strikes. The move expanded private security companies due to the high number of industries that were in existence in 1960’s, after the Second World War (Ortmeier, 2012).
Legalization and regulation of private security agencies that ended in 1993 was a vital move that contributed to the rapid growth of the industry in the last two decades. The legalization process began in 1915, when California presented the licensing option to the Directors of the State Board of Prison. Private Patrol Operators and Repossessor agencies got into the draft opinion, and the then Detective Licensing Act became the Private Investigators and Adjuster Act. The Bureau of Collections and Investigative Services began the registration of private security agencies in 1973, a move that saw private companies flood in the Bureau to have their agencies registered. Companies registered to buy and own firearms and alarm response system in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and 1993, the Locksmith Act underwent the final expansion that ensured freedom of registration of private security companies. This move became a key factor and contributed significantly in the expansion of this sector (Cunningham, 1985).
The move of private security agencies towards professionalism is a notable step in the history of this sector. The initiative started by training of personnel involved in private security. When the agencies started in the 19th century, physical picking and employment of the personnel was the norm. The selection was based on physical appearance of an individual regardless of their health and level of education. The norm stopped, and physical training of the employees in the agencies began, thus ensuring that the personnel were professionals in their field. The salary of the employees improved to meet their personal needs and acted as an incentive to motivate their efficiency while at work. All these moves contributed immensely towards the professionalism of private security companies. However, the major step towards professionalism has a reservation for the move directed to address licensing standards of the agencies (Ortmeier, 2012).
The US government set guidelines to regulate activities of private security in a move to make the employees of the agencies more professional personnel than the previous years. The guideline set rules that governed the nature of investigations that the private security engaged in them and the training of the personnel. The regulations also involved the training session, education issues and insurance of the employees who get involved in the risky private security activities. Oversight bodies emerged to monitor those companies that did not conform to the regulations, thus ensuring subjection to professionalism with impartiality.
The nature of investigation that private security firms had to conduct got a restriction to ensure that the state and public were secure. An example of prohibited moves included rules that prohibited a private agency to work for a foreign government or work for an illegal gang or a group of people. This move prevented the use of private security firms as spies against the government of their country. The rule against an association with unlawful groups protected state and public security of the state. These regulations increased professionalism in the sector.
The nature of training of the employees of private security companies also got changes within the U.S regulation guidelines. The efforts, which saw employees get basic physical training, got a boost from the regulations that demanded various changes in the form of straining. The regulations directed that each employee undergo training according to the scope of his mandate at work. This move ensured all the different types of jobs offered to the private security agencies matched professionals of the job. The jobs ranged from anti-riot employees, spies and personal security. These jobs needed different form of training to ensure professionalism.
Education and insurance issues also got a boost from this guideline, which ensured conformity to intellectual regulations. The level of education of employees got a consideration along with the suggestion of continual education. Continual education ensured that employees remained informed on the trends used by criminals to carry out crime. The insurance policy directed the employers to assure their employees due to the risky nature of their job. The final move saw the establishment of the oversight authority that monitored the agencies and auditor them for conformance. These moves turned private security bodies from their informal activities to professionalism.
This history of the origin and lifespan of private companies gives an insight of what the sector has gone through to attain its current level in the U.S. Potential investors, in this sector, can use the history to make a protection of the future of their business before trying it.