Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Dmitry Budanov – CEO at Elite Security Holding Company
Nabi Abdullaev – Partner at Control Risks, Russia & CIS
Sergey Martynov – Owner, CEO and Chairman of BoD

Key points

Dmitry starts by setting a context noting how crime patterns have changed since Covid-19, more thefts, fraud and organised crime, and an abundance of petty theft.  On top of this there has been an adverse economic climate which is impacting on the commercial sector generally and therefore the security sector too, not least smaller companies. Personnel are also migrating from the cities to see out Covid-19 in their homes and that is impacting on labour supply. The private security sector (which includes private detectives) is generally poorly regulated; there have been few changes since 1992 when regulation was first introduced. There is a general lack of transparency and compliance is problematic. There are restrictions on overseas companies. A major issue is that security regulation is operated by the police force, and it competes with private security in selling services to the market. The police and private security operate differently, the latter is generally characterised by better pay and by hiring private security companies can control matters more as it is paying for a service under contract. The relationship between police and private security is patchy, they work together because they have to. In some areas private security may hire armoury from the police, this is rare, but it can happen.

Nabi has spent most of his career outside security, and prefers to think of his work in terms of risk management rather than security. He confirms that Covid-19 has had a big impact on private security, and the issues relating to people working from home that have been heard in other countries apply to Russia too. Building on the theme of relations with the police, he makes the point that selling services is lucrative for them, so there is a conflict there. Although they operate in different ways. The key advantage of the private security sector has is that it operates to a contract and that can be attractive for companies and it offers a range of services such as business intelligence, tackling fraud, which it is specialist at. The sector is diverse, regulation does not legislate against low pay and that can mean some adverse perceptions at the local level, yet specialist departments in banks and utilities for example, can be extremely professional – and the Head of Security much respected – and so too can some of their suppliers.

Sergey starts by discussing the emerging risks that companies and the security sector are confronting, big data, the Internet of Things and intelligence. He too discusses the relationship between the police and private security and notes the close links that exist between them, not least because they are known to each other personally; some retired police officers then move into corporate security and sometimes at a high level. There is a privacy law but it is not so strictly enforced (as is the case in Europe for example) and in some contexts, for example in tackling fraud, exchanging information is key to tackling offences. The developments in technology are driving up the skill requirements of security personnel.

This fascinating webinar provided a focus on the working of the private security sector in Russia. Some of the problems seem the same: Covid-19 has posed new challenges; regulation is lacking; the relationship with the police can be problematic although the fact that the police also sell services complicates this further.

Martin Gill
26th January 2021