Posted By Optimum Security
NEWS 1130 (VANCOUVER) — With growing calls for a defunding of police forces around the world, and with Vancouver politicians wrestling over a 1 per cent cut in the annual policing budget, is there room for private security to fill the void?
One firm in Vancouver says it’s already starting to see a growing need for its services in the city and beyond.
“We’re in contact with the authorities right now, and it looks like things are not looking too well on their behalf,” said Moe Hadayat, Operations Manager with Vancouver-based Optimum Security, one of the larger private security firms in Metro Vancouver. “Until there’s a clear picture is out there on how things are going to restart, our business looks to be pretty steady for the foreseeable future,” he adds.
Private security is often used in major urban areas to supplement police patrols. In Vancouver, the downtown core is where most of Optimum Security’s resources are allocated.
“Where we are seeing an increase in business is where we are required to provided services to homeless shelters, convenience stores and crowd management at liquor stores and other areas where they are requiring to manage the capacity of people,” said Hadayat.
Private security is contracted to guard specific locations and businesses and is financed by those groups or companies. However, there have been numerous questions raised about the training and level of enforcement that private security guards have.
There are also questions about the effectiveness of private security versus the use of sworn police officers. This includes analysis completed for the Canadian government in 2015.
“Initiatives to develop tiered policing may result in outsourcing of police tasks and a reduction in the number of sworn officers must be mindful of research studies that have established a clear relationship between the numbers of police officers in a jurisdiction and the impact on crime and on the costs of the criminal justice system. Studies in the U.S. have found that, all else being equal, a 10-percent reduction in the size of a typical police service has been found to lead to a 6-percent increase in robberies, a 3-percent increase in serious assaults, and a 4-percent increase in vehicle theft … Investing in street-level policing can reduce prison populations and curb the increasing costs of corrections,” a section of the report suggests.
There have also been a number of violent incidents connected to private security officers.
Last year, North Vancouver RCMP were called in to investigate after a confrontation was caught on video at a Lynn Valley McDonalds involving a private security officer and a 15-year-old girl. Buy DNP Online Canada
RELATED: Mounties investigating apparent assault by security guard at North Vancouver McDonald’s
Despite the debate, Optimum Security says there are growing requests for their services beyond the core of Vancouver.
“The other areas are Surrey, Maple Ridge, Langley… these are the cities that are definitely hot spots for security needs at this moment,” said Hadayat.
“One Ontario union says that it has been struggling to fill the demand and that 1500 jobs need to be filled immediately,” writes Optimum Security on its blog.
“It’s such a fluid situation right now,” writes Ashley Cooper, CEO of Paladin Security in Vancouver on the same blog post. “Sector by sector, we’re having significant changes. There are certain sectors that are beginning to slow down and reduce their hours while others are drastically picking up.”