Canadian Security Magazine

Security and the P3

By Yves Duguay   

Features Opinion The Big Picture

Value creation is at the heart of everything we do, whether we’re self-employed or working for a private company or public agency. Corporate objectives, as a general rule, seek to continuously improve that value creation potential.

Delivery of security solutions will continue to be shaped by our fiscal reality and be dependent upon using technological improvements to act as the catalyst to accelerate change.

According to a paper published in 2011 by non-profit research group the Rand Corp., the future of policing will require governments and police forces to use innovative technologies to bridge jurisdictional and communication issues, to leverage the potential of big data, and to better assess current and future threats.

Public and private security sectors must work together and experiment with alternative means to deliver security services, primarily through adapting existing innovative practices. An example that illustrates the success of this approach is the public/private partnership that CATSA (the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) has developed with private security firms (G4S, Securitas, Garda) to deliver aviation security screening in 89 airports in Canada.

CATSA screening officers are employed by these firms who in turn are responsible for recruiting, training (in a joint program, managed by CATSA) and supervising this workforce in accordance with CATSA contractual requirements. The role of these officers to deliver important and sensitive security services, including the detection of explosives and weapons of all sorts, is critical to the delivery of the national strategy to protect civil aviation.


This model exemplifies a true collaborative relationship that binds the parties together in contracts that are outcome-based and performance driven. It’s a relationship that draws upon the complementary strengths of each partner.

This public-private partnership approach would also lend itself well to the public security sector. Non-core police functions could be delivered by private security firms, under contractual arrangements, with adequate controls and oversight, as done with the CATSA contracts. A number of administrative services, some crime prevention initiatives, background checks, the management and reporting of minor infractions, crowd control for commercial events and other functions that do not require the extensive skill set of our police officers could be conducted by the private sector. The resulting public/private partnership would allow our governments and police services to maximize the full potential of their expert police forces to better allocate limited resources to the most urgent security priorities.

Financial performance indicators and ratios relevant to the world of policing could be developed by consultative or board committees, based upon best practices already in existence and applying it to the world of policing in Canada. These could include indicators pertaining to effectiveness, efficiency, quality of service and cost ratios.

These same committees could be the focal point for assisting governments and police departments in identifying innovative community security solutions.

By measuring security, promoting innovation, and applying alternative delivery means, our community of security partners will be able to achieve and demonstrate the value that security brings to the Canadian public and the governments it serves.  

Yves Duguay is the former SVP, operations and customer experience at CATSA, and currently the president of security consulting firm HCiWorld (

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