Introducing the first CIP standard for private security

Critical Infrastructure Protection is an increasingly complex challenge, and the threats have intensified with Covid19 and the war in Ukraine, increasing both the cyber and physical threats from insiders, criminal organisations and hostile Nation States. This is all the more reason to only employ private security companies that meet the quality criteria that will reassure you that your Infrastructure is well protected.

National legislation generally covers guarding and surveillance activities but it doesn’t (or insufficiently) address the quality criteria that companies should meet in order to perform services in CI. The new standard EN 17483-1:2021 seeks to close this gap. It is a certifiable standard that specifies service requirements for quality in organisation, processes, personnel and management.

It provides recommendations on all important aspects when delivering services in CI, such as:

−      Criteria that the provider must meet, for example regarding management structure, HR, Health and Safety, Operational and financial capacity, corporate governance and IT security;

−      Requirements regarding contracts, including liabilities, cooperation with other parties, subcontractors, and leased workers;

−      Requirements for staff, for example terms and conditions of employment, security screening, recruitment and selection, training;

−      Service delivery aspects, and service level agreements.

EN 17483-1 is the foundation for a complete standard system for CIP, on which several “vertical” standards will be built. At present several sector-specific standards are being prepared to build on the general requirements standard, namely for the security of airports and aviation, port and maritime, and the production and transmission of energy.

EN 17483-1 can be used for any type of CI and it guides public and private buyers through different key quality criteria to consider when selecting a quality provider of civilian private security services. It also enables contracting parties to issue clear and detailed specifications of their requirements to prospective tenderers, thus generating a higher quality response.

Organisations in charge of security within CI can benefit of the use of the standard, as follows:

—    Operators of Critical Infrastructure when selecting private security services to protect their organisation: it helps them select companies that are trustworthy and professional;

—    Private Security Companies: being certified to EN 17483-1 (and in the future to the sectoral standards) is a clear demonstration that they are committed to meeting high quality criteria;

—    Any interested parties who are directly or indirectly involved in or affected by a procurement process within CI.

The standard was developed by an international cross-sector expert technical committee within the official European Standards Body, CEN, including a representation of Trade Unions (ETUC). It therefore takes into consideration the Trade Union’s requests for a safe, just and motivating working environment, which is key in a labour-intensive industry such as security services.

For any further information about the standard, please contact your National Standards body, where you will be able to purchase it. You may also contact Catherine Piana, the Chairperson of TC439 and Director General of CoESS –