Europe’s “union” of associations is progressive move
By Canadian SecurityFeatures Opinion
Recently I have been made aware of a security organization located in Europe called the Confederation of European Security Services, or CoESS. This organization was formed 21 years ago in 1989 and came about as a result of a joint initiative of several national associations of private security companies from various European countries. I
n their own words, “From its start, CoESS has therefore been a European umbrella organization for national private security associations. This form of affiliation remains CoESS’ major objective.” The organization has recently reorganized to increase its effectiveness and take a more active role in representing the various branches of the security industry such as airport security, uniformed guarding, monitoring stations and cash-in-transit functions.
The organization has three main objectives for its members. Firstly, “to carry out any professional, economic, commercial, legal, social or any other research concerning the activities of its members.” Secondly, “to gather and distribute to its members any information concerning their sectors of activity.‚” Its third objective is “to increase the quality of the entire industry, including through the standardization of regulations.” There are 23 active member states including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom. There are also five associated members including: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Norway and Serbia.
As I have no personal experience with this organization I am primarily going by what is posted on their website at www.coess.org. Having said that, they seem to be quite an impressive organization. They have provided a number of documents online at least indicating considerable involvement in the security industry. They have also released a security guard standard template for the European Union.They have also had meetings with security organizations from a number of other parts of the world including Asia, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Russia, South-Africa and United States.
You can imagine where I am going with this. Over the past several months, as you are very likely aware, there have been a number of columns written and letters published about the current state of the Canadian security industry. There is no doubt that at a grass roots level there are a number of very active individuals and a few organizations that see the need for consolidating the security industry in this country. Their actions speak volumes. Unfortunately, there are several organizations that talk about consolidation but that is where it stops. I recognize that creating a national security organization requires, more than anything else, two things. Firstly, it requires people who can translate discussion into action. Secondly, it requires money. I know there are enough people of action to do the work. What we need is the second item: cash. We need a financial commitment from the various organizations whose leaders talk about creating a national security organization.
When I look at the three objectives of CoESS — those being to represent its members’ needs, to provide information to its members and to increase the quality of the entire industry, including standardization of regulations — it makes perfect sense to me that these objectives are easily transferable to the Canadian market. I know that efforts to bring together the various security organizations continue. CANASA is holding its Security Canada Central conference and expo Oct. 20 and 21. During this time, discussions will be held with the intent and hope to bring together several Canadian security organizations to move forward collectively on industry matters.
When these various organizations meet, it would be great if more than just talk comes out of it. I encourage attendees to put aside their differences and in some cases their indifference, and recognize that in order to increase the effectiveness and professionalism of the industry, we need to work together and not in isolation or at odds.
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