The UK outsourced security market is estimated to have reached a value of approximately £5 billion in size during 2012, having grown in recent years, despite the recession.
Security outsourcing refers to the delegation of non-core operations or jobs from internal production within a business to an external entity (such as a subcontractor) that specialises in that operation. Outsourcing is a business decision that is often made to lower costs or focus on competencies.
A few key areas, such as retail, airports and government contracts, have driven this growth. This follows from the increased emphasis on airport security in the post-9/11 world and outsourcing of contracts for public sector services such as operation of prisons and border control.
The increased spending on security has not been driven by actual levels of crime, which have fallen steadily over the last couple of decades.
However, public perception and fear of crime have not fallen. Demands for tougher sentences are widespread and prison populations have increased with the UK incarcerating a higher percentage of its population than most other European countries.
The market remains relatively fragmented. 17 of the largest UK security service providers account for 75% of the market.
Some leading providers, such as Securitas, Corps and Shield, continue to focus exclusively on security as a standalone service and evidence is that many of the companies offering a range of services tend to have separate security contracts - other than for the UK public sector where procurement approaches such as PFI have encouraged the trend towards bundling.
The remainder of the market is served by a long tail of smaller providers with the industry accreditation body, the SIA, having over 700 members.
The nature of growth, with the most attractive opportunities appearing to be in areas where there are large contracts, implies further market consolidation in the future.
For more information on the UK outsourced security market, see the latest research: UK Outsourced Security Market
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