A new report by independent market research provider, Apex Insight, has revealed that despite a hesitant economic recovery, the outsourced security guarding services market is approaching £5 billion in size.
According to the research, the industry is being shaped by a number of important trends, including the growth of integrated facilities management contracts, the application of new technology and consequent re-engineering of services, government spending cuts and outsourcing of services with the aim of achieving savings, the increase in levels of security in airports and other sensitive locations and the growth of internet retailing.
The main growth sectors within the security industry are retail, airports and government security contracts.
Retail locations, in particular larger outlets of national chains and shopping centres have seen an increase in the deployment of security guards according to the report, however it also highlights that the growth of internet shopping has had a negative influence on security requirements. Smaller, independent stores and high street locations, which are less likely to have guards have seen a decrease in the sector.
Airports have intensified their security operations since 9/11. Security areas have been expanded and equipped with new technology such as body and passport scanners, metal detectors and conveyor belt-like baggage control areas. This in turn has led to increases in security spend per passenger and the need for more security staff to carry out the increased checks.
Prisons are also a key growth area for security due to rises in prison populations and the governments plans to use outsourcing to achieve cost savings. The end of 2014 saw an increase in the number of probation service contracts. The report states, a total of 21 criminal probation service contracts worth a total of around £450-£500 million per year (depending on success in areas such as reducing the rate of re-offending) were outsourced to Sodexo, Interserve and GEOAmey and other smaller suppliers in consortia, which are due to commence in April 2015.
Technology has also played a vital role across the market with measures such as CCTV and remote monitoring continuing to be deployed extensively both as a complement to, and in some cases, as a replacement for human guards.
The report does however warn that the security market is “not without risk”. Advising that changes in the retail sector such as the decline of large supermarkets and the possibility for a change in the government’s policy on the outsourcing of its prisons and probation services, could result in the overall requirement for security being lower.