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Private Security Companies …

Author Oldrich Bureš

ISBN No 978-1-137-47752-1

Review date 26/06/2019

No of pages 176

Publisher Palgrave

Publisher URL http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137477514

Year of publication 22/08/2016

Brief

Private Security Companies; Transforming Politics and Security in the Czech Republic Author Bureš, Oldrich

Our Review

price

£ 58

As this book sets out concisely at the very start of Private Security Companies; Transforming Politics and Security in the Czech Republic, the biggest Czech private security company (PSC) Agentura bílého lva (ABL) in 2008 came up with a plan for market dominance by 2014; which involved setting up its own political power base. A political party called Public Affairs (on an anti-corruption platform) duly took part in the 2010 election and took roughly a tenth of the vote and members of parliament; and duly took some powerful posts in government, such as at the ministry of the interior, which was due to draft a ‘long overdue law for regulating the activities of PSCs in the Czech Republic’. The plan was succeeding well ahead of target, you might think; except that the press got to hear of it, and the founder of ABL found himself sentenced in court, and his political party split, and its popularity with the public was ‘close to zero’.

As of late 2014, the Czech Republic was the only EU member state where the provision of private security services was not regulated by a special legal act; in other words, it was like any other type of business, no different from an ‘ice cream stand’.

This illuminating book, then, tells us as much about the post-Cold War history of an eastern European country, and governance, as it does about contract private security and its opportunities and limits in developed, neo-liberal economies.

As the author points out, since the 2008 financial crisis (and more to the point its impact on the budgets of public security forces), the public standard of security available to all citizens has, at least in some regions of the Czech Republic, decreased. Privatised security, or security done by private firms, are services that according to the author ‘merely represent an extra standard of security on top of that ought to be provided by the state to everyone’.