Press release

UK commits to help raise standards of private security industry

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK joins new international oversight mechanism for private security companies to help raise standards of conduct across the industry.

A new international oversight body for the private security industry has been launched in Geneva today. The UK joined the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers Association (ICoCA) as a founding member, as did a significant number of UK Private Security Companies (PSCs).

Foreign Office Minister for Conflict Issues, Mark Simmonds, welcomed the launch. He said:

Helping make this new association a success is an important part of the UK’s Business and Human Rights Action Plan. I am pleased the UK has been able to support this important collaboration between governments, private security companies and civil society. Raising standards of conduct by private security firms across the world is particularly critical, given the complex environments many of them operate in.

The ICoCA will be the first international body to oversee the activities of PSCs, and to provide independent monitoring and oversight to ensure members adhere to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. This code sets out principles based on international human rights law and international humanitarian law for PSCs working in complex environments overseas.

Joining the ICoCA underlines the UK’s commitment to raising PSC standards worldwide, and to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as set out in the UK’s Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

The ICoCA will complement at an international level work the UK is undertaking on developing a system for PSCs to be certified to national standards. These standards set out measurable indicators, including on human rights, which will be audited by independent, professional auditors.

The UK is supporting these professional standards and the ICoCA as part of our overall efforts to raise PSC standards. We have committed £300,000 to the launch of the ICoCA, and are carrying out successful advocacy efforts to encourage more PSCs, civil society organisations and governments to join the ICoCA, and to encourage clients of PSCs to recognise the national standards and the ICoCA in their contracting practices.

Further information

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