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 ADS, ASIS International (UK Chapter), the British Security Industry Association, IFPO UK, IPSA, The SASIG, and The Security Institute.

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: Police and Private Security Partnerships; Harnessing the potential of the private security sector

Despite the common lament by government representatives and police leaders about the lack of resources available to tackle crime, still there is a lack of commitment, and certainly the absence of a strategy, to harness services available in the corporate and private security sectors. Yet the number of security officers dwarfs the police and there is a range of security suppliers operating across the country working in different aspects of protection all in addition to corporate services. There is a big and largely untapped resources available. This project aims to understand: what are the services offered by private agencies to support police work (at not cost at the point of use to the police); what aspects/issues do the police feel that private security could help them with and would be most beneficial; and what are the current barriers to working with and supporting the police?

Take part in our 10 minute online anonymous survey on the topic.

The findings will be available here in Autumn 2024

Previous SRI projects are outlined below:

Previous Projects

Year 18: The Importance of Security Culture in Facilitating Security Excellence

A security culture – which can be summarised as a unified set of security values across an organisation – is arguably the cornerstone of effective security, crucial for engaging all staff to achieve specified objectives. At the best of times, this is something that can be difficult to build and maintain, but there are currently many issues dictating change within organisations such as increasing use of technology, convergence between physical, technical and cyber, greater dispersion of staff (working remotely), challenges in recruiting and retaining staff, greater focus on recognising the protected characteristics of staff and customers, and financial pressures such as inflation. What are the challenges to building a strong security culture in today’s world and how is the security profession responding?

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 17: The role of security managers and influencing the budget

Traditionally, security was about the protection of assets, the role of the security manager then was well – albeit narrowly – defined, it was ultimately about protection. More recently though there has been a revision in thinking, security is being seen as an enabler, to help organisations fulfil their objectives via the effective management of risks. This study aims to consider what it takes to be a supplier security manager on the one hand, and a corporate security manager on the other, and to assess how each approaches the sometimes thorny issue of influencing the budget.

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 16: COVID-19 and the implications for security: has anything changed, and why?

This project explored the security response to Covid-19, not just at the height of the crisis but in its aftermath, to identify what the lessons are for good security. This included looking at why security succeeded and failed; what has and will have to change in how security is provided; and what this pandemic has demonstrated about the value of security. This included consideration of contract security, corporate security teams, and other security stakeholders and supporters such as security associations and security press. The aim was to provide insights that would help the sector reflect and understand how to develop a stronger response to future crises.

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 15: Understanding influences on security as a career choice: tackling jaundiced views of security

Although much good progress has been made on presenting a better image of security we know that it is a struggle. Previous SRI reports, for example, have noted the mixed views of other business professionals; the somewhat jaundiced view of rank and file police officers and varied view of senior police officers; while those who have focussed on presenting security as a career choice sometimes lament the preference of potential recruits to pursue other forms of public service or uniformed work.

This study aims to better understand what makes different areas of security attractive to recruits and workers and why; and how security can improve its image and present itself as a valued contribution to working life. The research will determine the views of key stakeholders in security, with particular focus on young security professionals and those who enter security as a second career.

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 14: Offender views on the evolution of physical security measures

Advances in technology and the Internet of Things have changed the way we live and work, so too they are changing the way security operates – ‘traditional’ security measures are evolving and becoming more advanced and in some cases interconnected (e.g. ‘smart’: self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology; and advanced data tracking and collection methods). This can create conveniences and efficiencies for users but what is the impact on offenders?

The research sought to understanding of how offenders react to security, what puts them off, and how security is managed by them. It also considers the views of security professionals on the impact of using advanced technology in physical security.

For a copy of the findings click here.

Year 13: 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 research sought to identify what buyers and supplier want from their relationship and what makes it work well, as well as uncover the barriers to the relationship that can prevent a win win situation and undermine the delivery of the contract.

For a copy of the findings click here.

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.