G4S, the world’s leading international security solutions group, today became a founder signatory of the new International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers. Representatives from the world’s largest security solutions company were present in Geneva to sign the code, developed by the industry, civil society representatives and the Swiss, UK and US Governments.
The Code sets out principles for security operations in so-called “complex environments” – areas experiencing or recovering from disaster or unrest and where governments and the rule of law are weak. It covers recruitment, vetting and training of staff, the use of force by security company staff, including the handling of firearms, health and safety and reporting and complaints handling.
G4S CEO Nick Buckles said: “As the market leader, G4S recognises its responsibility to help embed the highest standards in the security industry. That is why we have previously supported many national initiatives to raise industry standards, and why today we are delighted to become one of the founding signatories to the International Code of Conduct.
“We take the obligations set out in the Code seriously, and will work determinedly with the rest of our industry, the Swiss and other governments and representatives of civil society to try to develop an effective mechanism to oversee the functioning of the Code and the operational standards we expect to see derived from its principles. We expect the oversight mechanism to be fair, appropriately transparent and cost-effective, and will work with our partners to try to establish this.
“We look forward to a day when certified compliance with the Code is used by governments and other major users of security services in complex environments as a critical factor in choosing a security partner. We believe this, more than anything else, will help drive up standards in this vitally important business sector.”
Companies signing the Code will now work with civil society and interested governments to develop operational standards and an oversight mechanism to assess companies’ compliance with the Code, which has been developed to address the need for accountability for private security providers operating in unstable areas where local institutions may be weak.
It covers protective security services delivered by staff whether armed or unarmed, and any other activities for which staff are required to carry a weapon (for instance mine-clearance in a potentially hostile environment). The Code commits signatory companies to operate in accordance with all relevant laws and to respect the human rights of all those their operations may affect, including local civilians.
G4S plc has signed the Code on behalf of all its business units operating in areas covered by the Code’s definition of “complex environments”.
The full text of the code is available at: http://www.dcaf.ch/privatisation-security/_index.cfm