Based on a systematic and detailed statutory analysis of 58 jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, this article constructs a modal typology of state regulation of contract private security. State regulation of private security has been neglected despite the fact it has grown across North American jurisdictions in the past two decades. Moving beyond rudimentary regulatory models and focusing on the contract security sector exclusively, five key dimensions of state regulation of private security are identified: governing-at-a-distance, character, identity, training, and information. Whether and how these dimensions relate to management protocols at the security agency level are then examined by combining these results with an analysis of an international survey of contract security managers within these jurisdictions. In turn, each dimension is found to relate to security agency management protocols. Implications for understanding state regulation and future research on private security governance are elaborated.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Governance, Legislation, Neo-liberalism, Private security, Regulation
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/1748895808088995
Journal Criminology and Criminal Justice
Citation
O'Connor, D. (Daniel), Lippert, R. (Randy), Spencer, D, & Smylie, L. (Lisa). (2008). Seeing private security like a state. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 8(2), 203–226. doi:10.1177/1748895808088995