Criminology: could there be a relationship between criminologists and security managers?2013-08-28T17:12:15-04:00

Ralph van Os RSE
MARCH 2003

In The Netherlands Security management is growing as a profession i.e. specialism at bachelor and academic level. The policy in The Netherlands is to aim and to follow countries like the United Kingdom and the USA. In these countries security management has already been accepted as a true profession and it is also part of scientific studies. The British see security management as a part of the social science. Criminology is, seen from this angle a social science because security management is mentioned as part of criminology, according to The Scarman Centre at Leicester University.

Could this be an option for the Dutch security related branch?

The practitioners
In The Netherlands the practitioners of criminology have an accepted and respected role. Governmental parties do contact criminologists or criminological research centres when they have a security or security related problem. As showed in an recent example:
The minister of Justice was questioned by the Parliament about the relationships and more specific: about co-operation, between private security organisations and governmental organisations like the police force etc. It seems to be a logical thought that the minister contacted some interest groups from the branch along with other security experts and specialists. Unfortunately the minister decided only to ask the WODC to do a scientific research. Almost every member of the research staff, had a criminological or criminology related background i.e. degree. None of the researchers had a security-related background or degree.
Other familiar examples are:

  • The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee to investigate the research methods of the police, better known as 'The Van Traa Committee', used for their investigation for instance Dr. M. den Boer who is a female criminologist.
  • The inquiry committee also asked four of the leading professors in criminology, Prof. Dr. F. Bovenkerk, Prof. Dr. C. Fijnaut, Prof. Dr. G. Bruinsma and Prof. Dr. H. van de Bunt, in The Netherlands to investigate the size and nature of organised crime in The Netherlands.
  • The Dutch Foundation for Society, Safety and Police, known in The Netherlands as SMVP for their (scientific) investigation and investigation reports about: (private) security, government and safety make use of criminologists for investigation and research. As shows in their latest report about public-private fraud prevention: Publiek-private fraudebestrijding (Dordrecht, januari 2000 Dr. C.D. van der Vijver ).

It should be a logical and likely thought that members of staff, who take care of the security policy within organisations, will be consulted by other parties, like governmental organisations, because of their professional skills and expertise. When we look at countries like for instance Belgium we see that the government make use of the knowledge of Prof. Dr. Marc Cools . Unfortunately this is never done before in The Netherlands. They rather ask scientists for advice instead of experts like full-time practitioners at the highest level. That this is very strange is further pointed out when we look at what an authoritative professor like Prof. dr. L.W.J.C. Huberts (p. 5,6 ) thinks and says about this. It is his opinion, after many years of research, that the police complex, which encompass private investigation and security companies, in relation to security i.e. security related studies, has to be studied as a "Multidisciplinary scientific study of Police and Security together with their results i.e. advice". Further on he pointed out that: "To this profession belongs fundamental scientific research, applied research and advice based on available knowledge (which require any relation between available knowledge and the mentioned advice)". The remaining question that relies, with the available and
given information as earlier mentioned, is why there is so less bearing surface to recognise that a security manager is a professional expert and to pay a security manager a ditto, equivalent salary. Something simply as this is already recognised in countries like for instance The United Kingdom.

Maybe that this has to do something with the professional standard of Security Management in those countries. I believe that security managers in the Netherlands often will have some implicit theories about human behaviour. Security people who have a limited, individualistic view of human nature and offending, will draw on the theories that will fit best in their own views e.g. rational choice, reducing opportunities, or formal sanctions. The value of the use of criminology for the security related branch should be that they, before giving advice or taking any preventive measures, are capable to explain the deviant behaviour in different circumstances. Moreover, criminology gives good guidelines for the studying of human behaviour and values. In the end it will be possible to put in place preventive measures, neatly fitting into the circumstances at hand, based upon such studies The security manager will be able to provide proactive tailored measures in advice and implementation of security policies.
There are many signs handed out and given by the media, the society and the politics that a lot of things has to change. Government, scientists and society have to see and respect security i.e. security management as a scientific professional expertise. When we take a look at the problems that lies in the past of The United Kingdom, we see that they had, almost, the same problems. According to dr. Martin Gill:

It is interesting to note that the literature on security management
(which consists more of 'guides' and 'manuals' than 'studies')
includes relatively few evaluations of management approaches.
Indeed, the security world had often found solutions before
defining the problems and there is a need for more and better
evaluations. In health-care it is accepted that an aspirin will
cure a headache and a plaster will help to heal a cut finger.
But in the field of crime all too often a plaster is being used to
cure a headache and it is assumed that an aspirin will stop a
cut finger from bleeding.

(Gill, 1996: 14)

The managed in The United Kingdom to deal with these problems, they solved it and look at them nowadays. Security management is accepted and respected as a scientific social science, part of criminology.

Existence training's
There is in The Netherlands a growing interest and realisation of the need to get a professional and scientific form of security management. Momentary, while writing this article, there is only one professional full-time bachelor training related to the area of security. This is the training for: Integral Security Care, which starts every semester at The Hogeschool, kind of University, of Utrecht. A remarkable fact of this training is that criminology is a part of this course. The reason for this decision lies probably in the nature of this course. This course is aiming to be a pre-stage for students who want to become a police officer. Before you can be a Dutch police officer you have to join the NPA and graduate there. By the start of their course in Utrecht, students get the opportunity to sign a contract with a regional, local, police force that they want to join. They don't have to make this choice there is also the possibility to study other parts of governmental security (related) parts. The fact that this course aims to much, only, on governmental and police related (security) problems and questions instead of the several specific private security related topics makes is not really useful as a broad training course for security managers.

Besides this full-time course at a bachelor training level there are in The Netherlands several post-bachelor training course:
· Security Management
· IT & Security
· Risk Management.
The Haagse (Hague), kind of University, Hogeschool, arranges these courses. There is also the possibility to follow these specific courses in company or at two other Hogescholen in The Netherlands. This courses apply (coming) security managers with the use of security related methods like for instance: 'De Haagse Methodiek' (DHM®), besides this methods is also gives new angles. The The Hague method (DHM®) is in The Netherlands the most used method in security related studies at the post-bachelor level. The Ministry of Economic Affairs envelops this method. Two public servants, mister Ackx and mister Duindam, developed this course further into what is nowadays known as The The Hague Method. This method is very useful and interesting for security related topics but unfortunately it misses something. This course would be more complete when criminology was part of it. The meaning of the founders of the several post-bachelor courses at The Hague University was the creation of a master-degree construction. All security related post-bachelor diplomas together should be enough for a sort of academic, master, degree in security. Unfortunately this idea is not yet realised. Maybe that with new courses like Criminology & Security in the course program, together with the coming changes in the Dutch Law on Education, this will become reality in the near future.

Beside these bachelor and Post-bachelor training programs There are many other security-related courses to follow. Because of the limited scope of this article, the level of education, which is mostly beyond the bachelor level, and by the fact that only a few are recognised by the government i.e. governmental law like WEB and ECABO , I don't go in on detail or use them further in this article. It is remarkable that the government only for that few, the so called elementarily standard training programs, uses their authority. By several exams, which are arranged under the auspices of the SVPB , like:
· ABM, Basic security guard
· Particulier Onderzoeker, private investigator
· het Vakdiploma Beveiliging, professional security guard
· het Kaderdiploma Beveiliging, middle security manager is a delegation from the Ministry of Justice present.
There is also a legal framework, The Dutch Law on (private) Security Organisations and (private) Investigation Departments, which set the requirements of the above mentioned training programs. When we go along into the security workfield focusing at the management level and the ranking above it, we'll see that the government doesn't have any requirements or legal control set on the shape and elementary of the courses i.e. training programs.
When we compare the higher training programs at post-bachelor and bachelor level like:
· Post-HBO diploma Security Management
· Post-HBO diploma Information Security nowadays known as IT & Security
· HBO training Integral Security Care
We see that legal requirement set or ask by governmental institutions like the Ministry of Justice, about any kind of demands and regulations etc. is missing. When we go back in time, to the historical beginning part of security in The Netherlands we see that his is never been a topic in the governmental and politics agenda and policy. Besides the missing part of supervision by governmental and branch, they also forgot the need for criminology to be part of the training courses, from the basis training to managerial courses. Perhaps that this shows the doubtful development of the public police force that wants to create a professional status against the private security/police part. When we look for instance to the basic training for the first stage of becoming a police countable, we see that, in limited way, that parts of criminology are involved. When we look at the managerial level, police inspector et cetera, we see that criminology is a subject and a important part of the training at police institutions as the NPA.

Yet, after the first publication of this article there is a reasonable possibility for a change. The Holland, Dutch, University, Hogeschool is aiming for a specific full time bachelor course in security. They are willing to integrate criminology into this course. This meaning of this new course is to fill the gap between the Cadre diploma security and training courses like the post-bachelor course at the Hague University. The latest news is that the Dutch Society of Criminologists started a workgroup, workgroup van Os, who will investigate several possible co-operations between other related societies, like for instance the Dutch Society of Security Managers. And last but not least the Hague University asked the author if he would consider to write a new post-bachelor course, Criminology and Security, and be the course director of it.

Private sector
There are, besides the post-bachelor en bachelor courses, also post-graduated courses in The Netherlands. Because of the limited scope of this article and because of the relevancy I will focus to the most relevance course: Master of Public Security Management (MPSM). This training course is started at the end of the nineties by the Graduate School Twente together with several other, international, universities. This course is a very good and interesting initiative with a sufficient criminological background. Unfortunately there is one imperfection. This study is too much based on governmental and related functions in stead of aiming to the (private) security branch. A small investigation showed that this was a missing change. Therefore they decide to develop a total new course which will start coming November 2000. This new course Strategic(al) (Security) Management is specific aiming to the private security sector.

Complete route
All earlier, above, mentioned training courses, which are frequently expand through the commerce, are aiming on the several parts of the occupational segments. Institutions and (their) trainers, lectures and experts are fighting against each other in stead of connecting knowledge. Maybe that in this new millennium, with the lessons that can be learned, the branch will plan, created and develop a total new security course, from secondary to university level. Including the knowledge of criminology. Our security guards on the street could be profited by the use of this new knowledge. They will, with their extra i.e. better-armed and trained skills, create a higher and better level of security. Scientist do recognise that there is a need for this kind of combined knowledge. The Dutch Society of Criminologists (NVK) recognise for instance that there is much more to invest and to do then the disputed co-operations with the government. The total field of private security, private investigator et cetera lie waste.

Momentarily the branch together with the scientists are aiming for a small and not insignificant part of the branch, such as information security, as shown in a meeting that take place Friday the 11th of February 2000, organised by SISWO and the periodical theme edition for Criminologists (Informationing from society and criminality). The blend mix impulses to (further) and new co-operation. Co-operation between professional groups of security practitioners and scientists like criminologists. When we look back, five months after this meeting, what are the results yet? The concrete co-operation between criminologists, NVK and security managers, VBN will be further invested by the new created workgroup Van Os. There is one thing about which everybody agrees on, it is better to work together then working against each other! We're now waiting and working on a actual implementation i.e. realisation of this via nova.


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