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A Primer in Private Security.

Authors: Mahesh Nalla, PhD, and Graeme Newman Publisher: Harrow and Heston, Publisher, PO Box 3934 Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY 12203; 1990, 174 pages, softback: $15.50 Reviewer: C. Gordon Jenkins, CPP, Security Services Support Operations Manager for EG&G Florida, Kennedy Space Center, FL

This work purports to be a "primer in private security." This is not precisely true. A Primer in Private Security is an exposition on guard force security operations as seen by law enforcement.

In the foreword, authors Nalla and Newman make their perspective clear when they state that the objective is to discuss "private policing" and the "law enforcement model." While there may be a need for publications to help the police understand security operations and vice versa, the authors fail to acknowledge that each group has its own unique mission, methods of operation, problems, and solutions.

The book's table of contents reveals its narrow scope. The origins of law enforcement in private police forces, management styles and issues, liability, and loss prevention are the focuses of discussion.

The concept of a systems approach to providing security is definitely missing. Physical security concepts are almost completely ignored, and the discussion on electronic security is limited to local or central alarm systems, with a passing reference to CCTV. Someone outside the security profession reading this book would believe there is little to security outside of guard services.

The introductory chapter, "The Scope of Private Security," lists five varieties of private security: security guard services, security professionals, alarm services, armed courier services, and private investigative services. Clearly there is more to private security than these five facets.

In chapter two, the authors discuss the social history of private policing. This chapter highlights the common origins of law enforcement and private security; however, if the reader didn't know the book's objective was to discuss security, he or she would think it was an introduction to a law enforcement text.

The authors' perspective and insistence on the "private police" concept fails to recognize that, though law enforcement and private security are interdependent, each has a unique role in serving society.

A significant portion of the historical review deals with questionable practices, such as strikebreaking. The reader finishes this chapter thinking, "It's a good thing police departments were formed and private security was curtailed."

Much of the book ostensibly discusses loss prevention, liability, and management styles, yet the authors do not provide the student of private security with any substance.

The book's editing does not help the authors' credibility either. Besides some grammatical errors, the American Society for Industrial Security is referred to as the American Association of Industrial Security and the American Society of Industrial Security. These mistakes lead the reader to wonder what other inaccuracies are present.

The perspective and scope of this book are on the fringes of the security profession. The authors do a disservice in perpetuating the myth that law enforcement and security services are interchangeable.

If you are looking for an in-depth and accurate image of the private security industry, I suggest you look elsewhere.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Jenkins, C. Gordon
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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