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08 Mar 2010

Security as a commodity: The ethical dilemmas of private security services

Jelle van Buuren

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Private security services are gaining importance in the general provision of security. This Policy Brief argues that what we are seeing is not simply the transfer of security functions or responsibilities from the public sector to the private sector, but an overall expansion in both private and public security. Against this background, the paper examines the provision of security as a commodity, which can give rise to different ethical dilemmas related to accountability, transparency and other issues of ‘good governance’.