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Conference: RUSI - BAPSC First Annual Conference Print

RUSI on 30 Oct - 31 Oct 2006

The last five years has seen a substantial increase in the use of private security companies by governments, corporations and even non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide security training, logistics support and armed security.  As the industry continues to develop there is an acknowledged and growing need to regulate those companies involved and their activities abroad.


To mark the formation and launch of the BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES (BAPSC), the Royal United Services Institute in association with the BAPSC, will host the First Annual Conference of the BAPSC. 

Launched in February 2006 the BAPSC is at the forefront of the private security sector in both thought leadership and ensuring a future for this thriving UK industry.  It has been formed in order to promote the interests and regulate the activities of UK based firms that provide armed defensive security services in countries outside the UK.  Recognising that their objectives would best be achieved through a framework including effective self-regulation in partnership with UK Government departments and International Organisations its aim is to raise the standards of operation of its members and the emergent private security industry.  Through this the BAPSC will be able to ensure compliance with the rules and principles of international law by establishing codes of practice and sanctions applicable to all of its members.

This conference aims to outline the mission of the BAPSC in this its inaugural year and introduce many of the themes and issues that it and the private security industry will have to address in the near future.  From defining the role of PSCs this conference will be able to establish the extent to which outsourcing of traditional military and government tasks has occurred and where this area will continue to grow thereby affecting how we may structure and train our armed forces in the future.  In this rapidly changing and unstable world the PSC has become a necessary partner to increasingly globalized trade and industry.  Therefore the extent to which world business now depends on the security provided by PSCs will also be explored. 

Private security companies have recently been at the heart of post-conflict reconstruction in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan but also have a longer history of involvement in the Balkans and many African states.  This conference will look at how dependant governments now are on PSC to provide security, support, and training in the immediate aftermath of conflict or indeed in failed or failing states. 

This event will also look at the complex but crucial area of legality and regulation of UK PSCs operating in foreign countries.  It will consider such issues of whose law they are to follow, what standards they are to uphold when operating in lawless states, and the existing body of international law and standards.  Issues such as transparency and accessibility will also be explored.  

In closing the First Annual Conference of the BAPSC this conference aims to deliver a clear outline of what it hopes to deliver in this the BAPSC’s inaugural year and lay the foundations for a future at the heart of the UK’s Private Security Industry.

Why attend? 

This is an important conference for all those interested in the direction and evolution of the Private Security Industry in the UK.  Marking the launch of the BAPSC this annual conference will set the themes and issues to be tackled in the following year as the industry sets out to ensure that its standards are of the highest order and that it has a clear role in future conflict and post-conflict reconstruction.

If you have any questions about this conference then please contact Mr Amyas Godfrey on 0207 747 2635 or at amyasg@rusi.org


Registration for this event has not yet begun however if you are interested in early booking then please be in contact with the event co-ordinator Ms Lisa Muxworthy. 

Further Information:

The conference themes will be organised into sessions as follows:

Session One – Keynote Session: The British Association of Private Security Companies

The conference will begin with an outline of the aim and mission of the BAPSC and expand from there to explore the crucial role that UK PSCs play in the world today and how this is likely to increase in the future from a senior government perspective. 

In its formation the BAPSC plans to represent the interests and activities of member companies in all matters concerning the ongoing debate on industry regulation in the UK, in terms of both proposed and actual legislation. In addition to working with the UK Government, BAPSC will also work with other governments, international organisations and other relevant stake-holders to help establish world-wide standards for the provision of armed security services.  The BAPSC is committed to working with all partners in appropriate markets to ensure that the services provided by its members maintain the maximum degree of integrity, transparency and respect for international law.

In this its inaugural year the BAPSC hopes to achieve:

  • The establishment of codes of practice for its members.
  • The promotion of transparent relations with UK government departments, international organisations and others.
  • The promotion of UK values and interests and compliance with the laws of countries in which its members operate.
  • The provision of guidance on the substance and requirements of international statutes.

Session Two - Panel:  The Role of the Private Security Company.

Private security companies around the world perform a wide range of functions, from major operations that command thousands of armed operatives, to small and limited missions that provide ‘hostile regions training’, 'risk management' and bodyguarding for companies and governments.  Beyond this there are still myriad tasks which are taken on by companies operating under the banner of PSC.  Despite this there are generally two main areas of employment for the PSCs: government contracts and as service providers to corporations.  

This session will help set a framework for how we define what a PSC is and its role in the modern world.  From this basis we will then be able to project into the future where the industry is going and what part the PSC will have in the conflicts, crisis areas and daily business of tomorrow.


Session Three:  Military and Government Outsourcing to Private Security Companies

The UK Foreign Office has, for many years, used the services of armed subcontractors to protect its personnel, property, interests and diplomatic posts.   Nevertheless the scope and extent of such use in Iraq since 2003 is clearly unprecedented, and the Department for International Development (DfID) has allocated over £278m from its Iraq reconstruction budget to pay for increased security.  Equally tasks usually attributed to the military are increasingly being taken on by PSCs thereby alleviating the burden of responsibility on troops in theatre. 

Is this situation unique to Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years or are we looking at a growing trend in the outsourcing of tasks from the military thereby in some way mitigating the risk involved in expeditionary operations?  This session will explore how these two bodies, the PSCs and the military, are learning to operate alongside each other and what more private companies can do.


Session Four:  Supporting Corporate Business in the Current World Climate

The provision of security services including risk assessment for corporate business has long been a core activity of British PSCs.  They provide services ranging from the protection of oil fields in Nigeria to personal and site security in high-risk environments.  Globalisation and the increase in intra-state low-level conflict suggests an increasing need for these services.  This involves reputational issues for both the providers and the users of these services.  Session four will focus on both growth areas in this sector and issues of corporate social responsibility for the PSCs themselves. 


Session Five – Opening Session (Day Two):  Private Security Companies and Post Conflict Reconstruction

British private security companies are acknowledged world leaders in the provision of armed security services, especially in post conflict environments and areas of diminished law and order such as Afghanistan and Iraq.  Developments in recent years have resulted in private security companies increasing the scale and scope of their work to include work such as security sector reform (SSR) and the provision of security services to stabilisation and nation building projects for clients from national governments, international organisations and multinational corporations. 


Session Six:  Independent Involvement in Post Conflict Reconstruction – The Future of Private Security Companies?

To date most PSC operations have been in support of ‘post conflict’ operations.  The experience that has been gained has however put the companies in the position of being actors in their own right in the field of direct development and governance work.  This session will consider whether this is likely to be an expanding area of activity and what the implications are for actors such as NGOs who already occupy this space.


Session Seven:  Legal Issues and the Regulation of Private Security Companies


Having explored the areas in which British PSCs are currently involved, it is essential to consider the legal and regulatory challenges both in the UK and on a world-wide scale.  The session will explore applicable international law and its implementation at the national level, existing regulatory initiatives and options for further regulation. 

Event co ordinator: Lisa Muxworthy
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