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OPINION

Public/Private Sector Cooperation on Security

Public/Private Sector Cooperation on Security

The biggest challenges faced by private security companies today, especially in relation to tourism and transport, concern the quality of service provided, the need to maintain high standards, and customer service.

For Cyprus, a country with a hugely significant tourism industry, the security of its tourism-related infrastructure is vital for the economy. The negative impact on tourism of terrorist attacks in Egypt, Turkey and many European countries has been considerable. Also, the tourism sector is fully internationalized and Cyprus is in direct competition with other Mediterranean countries trying to gain market share. This means that the quality of service at Cypriot airports and ports must be equal to the best in the global industry, without jeopardizing security protocols. An enormous step towards a more competitive and quality product was taken with the privatisation of the country’s ports and airports.

Ports and airports are the two main areas in which the cooperative security model between the public and private sectors operates. International experience shows that private/public cooperation is essential. The private sector must raise the necessary funds and provide the required know-how as it bears the financial risk of investing. On the other hand, the State must establish strict operating rules and closely monitor implementation. The results of such cooperation are impressive, leading to the development of the economy and improved competitiveness, and citizens can enjoy top quality service. An excellent example of the model working in Europe is Greece, where 14 airports are managed by a private company. The same benefits have also been experienced in Cyprus, through the concession agreements of the island’s airports and ports with the private sector. There are still many more ports, marinas and other critical projects that can be utilized in the right way to bring benefits to the country.

Modern security challenges require that ports and airports follow best practices. Among these are the following:

Ports
Continuous communication with Port Authorities and local communities for the development of a ‘roadmap’ for the development of the cruise sector. 
Drawing up appropriate port security programmes based on the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code. 
Appropriate ISPS training and staffing according to the ISPS Code.
 

Airports

The standard of aviation security in Europe is very high and strictly regulated, while maintaining a passenger-friendly approach by the security system. The current aviation security system has reached its limits, however, as the number of passengers is forecast to double over the next ten years. New security screening technologies and know-how, closer cooperation between Prevention and Anti-Terrorism Authorities and the Civil Aviation Authorities, aligned with the latest airport trends, will improve security and ensure better service for passengers in the future. In short, more regulation is not needed at present but more effective cooperation and implementation of current regulation is essential. This can only be done by serious, expert international organisations with the know-how and advanced quality control systems to guarantee compliance.  

 

How can the private security services sector be further developed?

In order to further develop the private security services sector, we must consider two key factors:

1. The client and the criteria it sets. The importance lies in the security of facilities for the smooth operation of the company and the safety of the people working there. Another important criterion is the budget available to improve the level of security. Also, most significant is the added value that is given to the company/client from a satisfactory level of security.
2. The State needs to implement fair play for all security service companies. There needs to be a continuous, in-depth dialogue and constant improvement, and the avoidance of useless and ‘threatening’ bureaucracy.

The security sector is a demanding and technologically innovative sector that creates jobs, adds value to companies/clients and contributes to the development of the tourism product!

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