How to achieve security in contemporary times

Security is the management of resistance to or protection from harm, damage and or destruction. Providing security requires a specification of both a referent object and a threat. In such instance, a referent object is understood as valued asset that can be harmed, destroyed or damaged which needs to be protected or preserved. For instance, humans including individual persons or life. Referent object also mean fixed assets such as properties including houses, roads, or movable items or anything that support life systems in the world. It can also mean a whole community, a state or the international society.

These objects can be exposed to damage or destruction by a threat. Threat is however, anything that can exploit a vulnerability either intentionally or accidentally leading to damage or destroy a particular referent object. For instance, when there is an outbreak of a pandemic leading to deaths and destruction to the economic fabric of a society, such a pandemic becomes a threat to the society.

Other forms of threat often times identified within the society are: terrorism, climate change, road accident, weapons of mass destruction, piracy, ethnic conflict, election related conflict, armed robbery, human trafficking, transnational organized crime, money laundering, cybercrime, etc. These categories of threats exploit the vulnerabilities of referent objects in different ways.

Vulnerability in this context is the weakness that exist within a referent object that can be exploited by the threat. It renders a referent object exposed to so much risk towards damage or destruction,

It should be understood that, the objective of security within this context is first, to provide protection which involves measures adopted to preserve an asset or a referent object that can be destroyed by the threat. The second objective of security is to empower the referent object which include employing measures that will create resilience within the asset or the referent object to the threats that comes to it.

Providing security for the nation and its citizens is the responsibility of government and this is achieved through the core security service providers such as the police, the military, immigration service, prisons service, the investigative bodies working in collaboration with the justice providers.

It must be accepted that national security is cross-cutting and pre-emptive that focuses on all issues that could affect the stability of the state and also deprive persons living within the state. That, state must focus on policies that leads to empowering citizens so they develop resilience against emerging threats within the country.

As categorized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there is an International Classification of Crime for Statistics Purposes (ICCS) which classify various categories of crime based on internationally accepted concepts, definitions and principles so as to aid in enhancing national and international analytical capabilities and drive policy in the security sector. This crime categorization can help the state to understand the mechanisms required at any given time to ensure individuals and the state is protected and preserved. Knowledge of this categorization provides direction and guidance in reviewing security strategies within the context of changing threats.

Greater security would be achieved if the criminal justice process (police, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment) is enhanced at all levels. Again, reliable crime statistics are critical for measuring changes in crime levels, monitoring state responses to crime, evaluating policies and understanding the various facets of crime in different contexts. Often times, raw data from different stages of the criminal justice process can be found, but the purposeful collection and organization of these data into statistical form do not exist preventing the production of valuable information for use in decision-making.

In conclusion, achieving security should begin from government assuming total responsibility by accepting that security is a public good that must be provided by the state. Government msut implement programmes to increase the resilience of citizens and minimize the threat levels. Secondly, security and justice providers must act in accordance with accepted standards in their operations in prevention of the threats from harming the referent objects.

Finally, data on crime must be compiled  and processed to produce valuable information for use in decision making.

By: Emmanuel F. Mantey (Executive Director)

Security & Conflict Management Bureau (SECOM-Bureau)


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