Observations and Recommendations on the COVID-19 Situation from the Private Security Sector

CoESS and its members express their solidarity with all those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, and express their support and recognition to those who show exceptional commitment to tackle this crisis and to uphold essential services. In the past week, CoESS has gathered immediate observations from its members on the implication of the COVID-19 crisis on private security businesses and workers across Europe. As a result, this statement makes suggestions on how to tackle this crisis together. An important finding is that in a number of countries, private security is considered as delivering an essential service – and this is just fair in view of the hard work and commitment shown by private security companies and guards! 

In the last weeks, Europe has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. An increasing number of Member States has opted for measures that bring public life to a standstill, while health systems and supply chains for goods, including their workers, are struggling with the consequences of a pandemic that is unprecedented in recent history. COVID-19 has, and will in the upcoming months continue to have, a strong impact on the economy, workers, businesses, and every aspect of European citizens’ lives.

During the past week, CoESS has assembled immediate observations from its members in a statement, which makes suggestions for how to tackle this crisis together.

A key outcome of this exercise is that the continuous functioning of essential services has to be ensured. To do this safely and securely, it is important for the private security industry that workers be provided with sufficient personal protection and adequate social support structures, which is not satisfactorily guaranteed by many Member States at present. Meanwhile, the police may face labour shortages due to (suspected) infections and increased numbers of locations to be secured. Private security can support public forces, under oversight of the police and under consideration of sector-specific regulation. Cooperation and exchange of information are crucial, and CoESS’ national associations stand ready for an enhanced public-private partnership in these challenging times and to discuss a common way forward with competent authorities in the Member States.

The longer-term impact and learnings will be addressed when the time is right, and the crisis is over. Some of the recommendations may seem “out of the box”, but under the circumstances, all the efforts need to be focused in only one direction: protecting our society. Private Security Services are, and have always been, there to help. 

CoESS and its members express their solidarity with all those affected by the virus outbreak, and those who show exceptional commitment, often under substantial personal sacrifices, to tackling this crisis and to upholding essential services. CoESS’ primary concern is to protect the health and safety of private security workers and to offer support to Member States where needed.

You can find the full statement here.