Updated: Jun 18, 2018
Military interventions and the subsequent investment by international leaders including the United States and the United Kingdom into development programmes aspiring to encourage the growth of stable and predictable nations, has encouraged the growth of the private security sector. While the role of such commercial enterprises in foreign conflict zones is akin to that of the conventional military units from which they draw their pool of employees, the reduced funding for public sector services within domestic environments caused by the present financial climate, has increased the reliance upon the private security industry by Law Enforcement and Security services within the UK. The ever-growing threat to UK national security from Organised Criminal Groups and Terrorists requires for specialists from within both the private and public sector to evaluate and to develop appropriate modus operandi in order to effectively counter these threats.
While elements of the security industry may argue that they offer the panacea to this concerning situation, the covert activities required to counter the identified threat groups raises a number of legislative and ethical challenges. This point is a particularly pertinent consideration for incumbent governments who remain eager to retain the support of a voting population, and the public services employed by when considering the use of private security professionals. Such organisations are aware of the widespread public mistrust of them, as emphasised by the reactions and media interest into controversial undercover law enforcement operations (Lewis & Evans,2013; Splaek & O’Rawe, 2014) such as that of officers Mark Kennedy and Bob , and the release of classified evidence by Edward Snowden illustrating the intercept of communications by foreign states (Greenwald, 2013; MacAskill et al., 2013). Although the aforementioned examples may have resulted in great criticism, the necessity to conduct covert operations in the interest of public safety remains.
Acknowledging the range of threats to public safety and security, the Strategic Security and Defense Review (2010c) outlines the existing operational parameters within which to achieve the aims of the National Security Strategy (2010a). Collaboratively these published documents provide a framework for evaluating strategic threats and adopting appropriate responses. In support of this political focus, the UK state is transforming its Counter Terrorism (CT) infrastructure, with changes to potentially the transfer of responsibility for CT from the Metropolitan Police to the National Crime Agency (NCA) (Home Office, 2014). The challenging and potentially high-risk nature of CT and operations against criminal groups (OCG's) requires the performance of covert actions; in addition to the Security and Intelligence Agencies (SIA’s), the NCA international experts in the planning and execution of human inte