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New management system standard on private security operations

ISO has published a new management system system standard that provides a framework for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving the management of security operations. This International Standard is specifically aimed at any organization operating in circumstances where governance may be weak and the rule of law undermined due to human or naturally caused events.

The use of private security has burgeoned over the past years to create a multi-billion dollar industry. A quiet transformation of the industry has taken place over the past decade with the introduction of international agreements as well as national and international standards providing governance structures to the industry.

ISO 18788 allows organizations that conduct or contract security operations to demonstrate conformance with three seminal documents regulating the industry:

  • Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict (09/2008)
  • International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) (11/2010)
  • Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; Implementing the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework (2011)

When developing the standard, ISO/TC 292 had the objective  to establish a voluntary, independently audited and internationally recognized standard that is practicable, effective, and affordable.

Dr. Marc Siegel, the project leader responsable for the developement of ISO 18788, explains: Marc

"Much of the onus for success falls on clients to incorporate conformance to the ISO18788 standard in their contracting processes. Vigilance is necessary to ensure the credibility of attestation and certification to the standards. One key driver for acceptance is that the ISO18788 was written from the perspective of enhanced risk and the security management for operations of security providers. By using the standard, security providers will become better managed businesses. Respect for human rights is not just a moral imperative, it is now a business imperative as well." 

Dr. Stefan Tangen, Convenor of the Communication Group of the ISO technical committee that developed the new standard, states:

“ISO 18788 is the first standard produced by ISO/TC 292 in the area of private security. We will continue to work with standards development in this area through our newly established Working Group 6."

ISO 18788:2015, Management system for private security operations - Requirements with guidance for use, is available from ISO national member institutes. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 198 Swiss francs respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.