Property and plant security is the largest market segment for private security services, accounting for 60 percent of sales. In the last 20 years, numerous new tasks have been added in public areas, such as retail, local public transport, as city patrols in municipalities or for event and order services. But there is also an increasing need for security staff in hospitals, public buildings and job centers. The Corona pandemic has created additional tasks for the security industry through entrance or distance checks at public facilities, fever measurement and the protection of order services in vaccination centers. Revenue in Corona years 2020 and 2021 increased by 6.8 and about 9 percent, respectively. Overall, the security industry is expected to generate more than 10 billion euros in revenue for the first time this year.
The Security Industry Is Growing
The number of employees has risen from 80,000 in 1990 to around 260,000. Of these, around 25,000 work in aviation security and 10,000 in cash and valuables services. In addition, there are 4,000 detectives and 9,000 employees in companies of surveillance and alarm systems; this market segment is becoming increasingly important. Against the background of these differentiations, around 212,000 security personnel are employed in the “classic security services”, 130,000 of whom are employed in the 1,000 member companies of the Federal Association of the Security Industry (BDSW). The BDSW is the only employers’ association in the industry that concludes collective agreements with the trade unions.
I assume that the importance of the security industry will continue to grow in the future. The need for protection on the part of citizens, business, the state and government institutions will continue to grow. Self-provision will also become increasingly important in security matters. Security personnel are increasingly deployed to protect their fellow citizens in “conflict-prone” activities and are thus often themselves exposed to an increased risk of occupational accidents. The propensity for violence in society is on the rise. Figures from the German Statutory Accident Insurance Fund show that more and more employees in the sector are becoming victims of “confrontational accidents”. To prevent these, there are some measures that have been put in place and are part of the accident prevention regulations. The body cam could also be part of this package of measures in the future.
What Does The Accident Prevention Regulation For Guard And Security Services Contain?
In Germany, the statutory accident insurance (DGUC) plays a major role in occupational health and safety. It is financed exclusively by employer contributions. In order to protect the safety and health of employees and prevent accidents at work, the DGUV issues accident prevention regulations that specify preventive measures and employer obligations. They thus also indirectly influence the way in which services are provided.
The security industry is governed by DGUV regulation 24 for guard and security services. In addition to the elimination and adequate protection of hazardous areas, employees in the security industry are also required to monitor their activities if they are exposed to particular hazards. In addition, the objects to be secured must be regularly checked for hazards. Specific hazards must be taken into account during the briefing on these objects. In addition, equipment used by security personnel must be in proper working order.
Occupational accidents can have a variety of causes, but the increase in confrontational accidents, which will be discussed below, is striking.
Confrontations As A Frequent Cause Of Occupational Accidents
Employees of private security services are — as already mentioned — increasingly engaged in “conflict-prone” activities, which also leads to an increase in occupational accidents. In the public sector, 5% and in the commercial sector, 1.8% of occupational accidents can be assigned to the category “violence, attack, threat”. If we take the VBG Security Report 2018, which analyzes accident occurrences in the “security services” industry, we see that confrontations have increased significantly as a cause of accidents (1988: 6.8% of accident causes, 2018: 34.95%). This refers to all physical attacks on security personnel by third parties. Particularly many confrontation accidents are felt by department store detectives (25%), public transport employees (22%) and security personnel in residential homes or initial reception facilities for refugees (18%).
A total of 15,000 people are employed as department store detectives or store guards. Their main task is to apprehend offenders (mainly thefts) and record their personal details. Often the offenders try to escape or become assaultive towards the detectives, who may use irritant gas in their defense. In addition to falling and tripping accidents while pursuing fleeing thieves, 76% of all workplace accidents fall into the “confrontation” category.
The public transport sector employs 8,000 people who, among other things, work as ticket inspectors, escort buses, subways, commuter trains and trains, or check stations and stops. In all these activities, confrontations can occur in which personnel are injured. 74% of all accidents in public transport fall under the heading of “confrontations”. Staff are particularly at risk when coming into contact with intoxicated passengers; enforcing house rules also involves an increased risk of confrontations with groups.
The VBG Premium Procedure
To prevent occupational accidents, the VBG employers’ liability insurance association has for many years rewarded its member companies that, in addition to legal obligations, undertake special accident-prevention and health-maintenance measures. The maximum amount of this premium is 10,000 euros plus 1/1,000 of the reported wage and salary total, up to a maximum of 50,000 euros. Medical or investment costs of 40% are reimbursed. The premium procedure provides for the following measures, among others: special driver safety training for precinct and patrol drivers. For security forces in conflict-prone activities, de-escalation training to reduce stress and keep a cool head in an emergency. VBG also provides financial support for personal protective equipment, including stab and impact vests and ankle-high safety shoes. But a hepatitis A and B vaccination for security employees is also eligible for funding. An additional part of the premium process includes personal emergency signal systems, accident data loggers, and collision warning systems. The author has already pointed out in several places of the VBG that, in a revision of the premium procedure, body cams should definitely also be financially supported due to their preventive effect if the prerequisites are met.
What Does The DSK Guidance For Data Protection Supervisory Authorities Say About The Use Of Body Cams By Private Security Companies?
On February 22nd, 2019, the Data Protection Conference (DSK) published guidance on the use of body cams by private security companies. It states that the recording of images and sound with the aid of a body cam must correspond to a legitimate interest. Before using the body camera, it is therefore necessary to check which purpose is to be pursued with the body cam recording. The guidance mentions the following legitimate interests: “The protection of one’s own personnel against assaults, the subsequent identification of a crime suspect and the securing of evidence for the prosecution of civil claims.” In contrast, law enforcement assistance does not constitute a separate legitimate interest in the deployment of body cams. However, the use of body cams is possible in situations where persons behave aggressively or a situation threatens to escalate immediately.
In its guidance, the DSK states that it must be possible to objectively justify that body cams are suitable for achieving the above-mentioned purposes. It is questioned whether body cams can effectively prevent a crime through a subjectively possible deterrent effect. In addition, a conceivable provocative effect on potential offenders should also be taken into account.
The guidance advises that interests such as personal rights should be weighed up carefully and that body cams should only be used if their use is suitable and necessary. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of transparency: the persons being recorded should, for example, be made aware of the start-up of the body cam before recording begins.
What Needs To Change For Body Cams To Play A Greater Role In Occupational Safety And Health?
Body cams must be given greater importance in occupational health and safety, as they are an effective means of protecting employees. It is therefore urgent that they be included as a measure in accident prevention regulations. In addition, more discussions need to take place with data protection authorities in order to jointly change the view of body cams for the more positive. There are already numerous examples of body cameras being used in a privacy-compliant manner, and many security officers and their employers report a significant decrease in attacks since they started wearing the body cam. Every security guard should be able to draw on these positive experiences to prevent even more confrontational accidents in the future.
About The Person:
Dr. Harald Olschok-Tautenhahn was Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Association of the Security Industry (BDSW) and the Federal Association of German Money and Value Services (BDGW) from December 1992 to March 2022. Since 2018, he has also been an executive member of the BDSW’s executive committee. After his retirement, he has been working as a freelancer for HOT-Consulting — hot-consulting.de — since April 1st, 2022. In the summer of 2022, he gave a presentation on “Body cam as a central element of occupational health and safety” at NetCo’s first Body Cam Conference in Cologne.