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Seeing Private Security Like a State

NCJ Number
Criminology and Criminal Justice: An International Journal Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 203-226
Daniel O'Connor; Randy Lippert; Dale Spencer; Lisa Smylie
Date Published
May 2008
24 pages
This article constructs a modal typology of state regulation of contract private security in Canada and the United States.
Findings suggested that state regulation of contract private security has been neglected despite the fact that it has grown across North American jurisdictions in the past two decades. Factor analysis of legislation databases confirmed the presence of five regulatory dimensions: governing-at-a-distance, governing character, governing identity, governing training, and governing information. How these dimensions relate to management protocols at the security agency level are then examined by combining these results with an analysis of an international survey of contract security managers within these jurisdictions. Each dimension was found to relate to security agency management protocols. Contract private security in Canada and the United States showed a range of state interventions that defied reduction to any singular logic of risk, discipline, or morality. At the same time, increases in state regulation were unexpected given the significant increases in self-regulation of security agencies in recent decades. Data were collected from two sources: a comprehensive examination of private security legislation in Canada and the United States, and an original survey of the managers of security agencies in Canada and the United States conducted in 2003-2004. Data on the state regulation of private security were collected from State and provincial private security legislation in 58 North American jurisdictions (10 Canadian and 48 U.S.). Tables, notes, references