Security Research Initiative

The Security Research Initiative (SRI) is a rolling three-year programme of research, with each year producing a separate study. With the support of our industry sponsors, Perpetuity undertakes research into the security sector with the aim of evaluating topics that are important to the security world. This research develops insights into the industry and provides practical recommendations. The SRI is supported by the British Security Industry Association, The Security Institute, and ASIS International (UK Chapter).

We have designed two toolkits (available to download) developed as part of the Security Research Initiative. Please note that with each, is an accompanying example pack, containing templates and examples referenced in the toolkits. You will need to download these in addition to the toolkit document, to be able to refer to them.

You can freely access Security Research Initiative publications here and Perpetuity’s other security and risk reports here.

Becoming a member is an ideal way to support industry good practice and developments in the security field click here to read about SRI membership.

Current Research Project: Buyer-Supplier Relationships in the Security Sector

Buyer-supplier relationships can be complex. In other sectors there is research which suggests that different types of relationships can have a dramatic impact on the success of the contract and the overall impact on client performance. Until now this has remained largely unexamined in the security sector. Yet, a whole host of factors are influencing buyers and suppliers beyond economic factors, such as convergence of physical and information security, FM contracts, the role of technology, supply chain consolidation.

The objectives of the research are to: identify the different types of buyer-supplier relationships in the security sector; examine the factors necessary to sustain a mutually beneficial relationship; explore the challenges involved in developing and sustaining an effective buyer-supplier relationship; assess the impact of different types of buyer-supplier relationships on performance.

Previous SRI projects are outlined below:

Previous Projects

Year 12: Towards a Strategy for Change for the Security Sector

There is a whole range of strategies that guide thinking on a variety of activities, in defence, on policing, in tackling terrorism, fraud and organised come to name but a few. The aim of this SRI project is to consider what the future directions of security might be. The context includes a police service facing challenging resource constraints, an economic outlook which is breeding concern about crime and disorder issues, a recognition that the protection of key parts of the national infrastructure rests in private sector hands – and therefore involves private security – but a lack of clarity about how this can best be harnessed and plenty of discussions about police/private partnerships but fewer shining samples of good practices. Also, then we have the threats posed by cyber crime, the increasing costs of labour, the opportunities posed by technology to name but a few. So where does this leave private security? 

We consider the approaches needed to position the security sector (corporates and suppliers) as partners of choice, processes for increasing trust in what security does, and identifying the unique capabilities of the security sector. We also consider in depth, the current police views of private security. 

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 11: Tackling Cyber Crime – the role of private security

As cyber crime is quickly growing and evolving, the threat posed to businesses is irrefutable. Yet the role of private security (both corporate security and security suppliers) in tackling cyber crime remains unclear. In this project we are seeking to identify the difficulties, and crucially the opportunities that the cyber crime threat presents to private security, and to better understand the relationship with the police and also IT security in terms of the role they play addressing these offences.

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 10: The Broader Benefits of Security

In both corporate security departments and amongst security suppliers, there has been a very narrow focus on the benefits from services provided; in fact most often that focus has been on security benefits. But there is evidence that a host of other (non-security) benefits are derived from having good security. For the first time ever we will be able to discuss the true value of security from an entirely new evidence base. For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 9: Aspiring to Excellence

What are the most important characteristics of an excellent corporate security department? What makes an excellent security supplier? This Security Research Initiative report explores the characteristics needed to achieve outstanding performance as rated by both corporate security personnel and security suppliers. Views were also garnered on whether in practice excellence in security is actually being achieved. While overall the two groups shared similar views, there were some striking differences. For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 8: Bundled versus Single Service Security: discussion 

This study is based on interviews with suppliers and procurers of security services and looks at the benefits and drawbacks of providing security as a ‘single service’ or as part of a ‘bundle’ alongside other facilities management services. The report identifies a range of drivers that determines success or failure in outsourcing arrangements. For more information and a copy of the report please click here.

Year 7: The Security Sector in Perspective

This study identifies how individuals from the security sector view the current state of the sector and examines their perspectives on economic and regulatory changes. The key feature of this study was to design and administer an online survey of the security sector, completed anonymously and by three main groups: directors and managers of companies supplying security, procurers of security services (security managers, facilities managers and procurement specialists), and security officers/supervisors of security officers.For more information and a copy of the report please click here.

Year 6: Procuring Security Toolkit

This is the second of two toolkits produced by Perpetuity for the SRI and provides guidance and recommendations on how best to manage the process of procuring security. More detailed information on our toolkits is available on the SRI toolkit page.

Year 5: Partnership working between the police and private security

This research looks at how the police and private security industry work together and how the police and corporate security work in partnership, in order to identify the barriers preventing effective partnership initiatives and to establish what opportunities exist. Cuts to public spending make this research extremely timely and the findings provided valuable insights. For more information and a copy of the report please click here.

Year 4: Security Strategy Toolkit

This is the first of two toolkits we produced for the SRI and aims to help companies to improve and develop their security strategy. More detailed information on our toolkits is available on the SRI toolkit page.

Year 3: Organisational perspectives on the value of security

This study was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the view of the security function from those in senior management positions within organisations but not those specialising in security. Not only was security commonly considered as an important function within an organisation, it was felt to make an exceptional contribution to the success of an organisation. For more information and a copy of the report please click here.

Year 2: Demonstrating the value of security

Following the work undertaken in the first year of phase one procurers noted that one of the problems for the security sector was that it did not show how it added value and therefore tended to be viewed as an unwelcome cost. This research focussed on the extent to which security could and does add value. It highlights the various methodologies that can be used to show value, specifically in economic advantages, and gives security professionals’ own views on their contributions to the company. For more information and a copy of the report please click here.

Year 1: Introduction to purchasing security

This report provides a briefing on purchasing from the security sector and is intended to inform both procurement and security professionals of the common aspects of good practice in buying security services. The objective of this piece of research was to address the gulf between the views of security and procurement professionals. This report was co-written with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. For more information and a copy of the report please click here.