The Future of the Private Security Industry in Germany: Man or Machine?

The Future of the Pri­va­te Secu­ri­ty Indus­try in Ger­ma­ny: Man or Machine?

The pri­va­te secu­ri­ty indus­try is an important eco­no­mic sec­tor in Ger­ma­ny and employs many peo­p­le. In 2022, the­re were a total of just under 260,000 employees in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor in Ger­ma­ny, working in around 5,700 guard and secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies. The­se are con­sidera­ble figu­res. Pri­va­te secu­ri­ty is incre­asing­ly taking over form­er­ly purely sove­reign tasks in cer­tain are­as and has thus beco­me an important play­er — part­ly also in the area of public safe­ty and order.

But how will pri­va­te secu­ri­ty deve­lop in the future? Will human secu­ri­ty guards incre­asing­ly be repla­ced by machi­nes? Or will humans con­ti­nue to play an important role in the secu­ri­ty indus­try in the future? In this artic­le we take a look at the future of the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty indus­try in Germany.

The role of peo­p­le in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty industry

Human secu­ri­ty per­son­nel have many advan­ta­ges over machi­nes. They can assign human actions more uner­rin­gly and react ade­qua­te­ly. They can bet­ter assess dan­ge­rous situa­tions and act appro­pria­te­ly. They have the abili­ty to react to unfo­re­seen events and act fle­xi­bly. Espe­ci­al­ly in situa­tions whe­re empa­thy, under­stan­ding and inter­per­so­nal com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on are important, human secu­ri­ty per­son­nel are irreplaceable.

Fur­ther­mo­re, the­re are cer­tain acti­vi­ties in the secu­ri­ty indus­try that are dif­fi­cult to auto­ma­te. For exam­p­le, moni­to­ring peo­p­le and che­cking iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on docu­ments requi­res a high level of exper­ti­se, expe­ri­ence and empa­thy. The­se acti­vi­ties also requi­re cogni­ti­ve skills such as cri­ti­cal thin­king, pro­blem sol­ving and decis­i­on making, which curr­ent­ly can­not be ful­ly taken over by machines.

The role of machi­nes in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty industry

Howe­ver, the­re are also acti­vi­ties in the secu­ri­ty sec­tor that can be sup­port­ed by machi­nes. For exam­p­le, came­ras and other tech­ni­cal devices can be used to moni­tor buil­dings and public places. The recor­dings can be ana­ly­sed by human secu­ri­ty guards in order to reco­g­ni­se and react to dan­ge­rous situa­tions. Howe­ver, sys­tems that eva­lua­te the recor­ded image mate­ri­al direct­ly with the help of a com­pu­ter and sound the alarm if neces­sa­ry are fas­ter and more relia­ble in the masses.
The first auto­ma­ted sys­tems, for exam­p­le in the area of access con­trol, alre­a­dy exis­ted many years ago. Guard robots that are equip­ped with detec­tors and, for exam­p­le, pat­rol warehou­ses ful­ly auto­ma­ti­cal­ly have also been used for some time. Dro­ne tech­no­lo­gy is also beco­ming incre­asing­ly popu­lar for appli­ca­ti­ons in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor — for exam­p­le, when it comes to alarm track­ing or veri­fi­ca­ti­on. Here, howe­ver, the legal hurd­les are still quite high and often pre­vent its use in practice.

In addi­ti­on, tech­no­lo­gies such as AI and machi­ne lear­ning can be used to detect pat­terns and anoma­lies in lar­ge amounts of data. In this way, secu­ri­ty forces can be aler­ted to poten­ti­al thre­ats at an ear­ly stage and react accordingly.

The future of the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty industry

It is unli­kely that machi­nes will com­ple­te­ly replace human secu­ri­ty guards. Humans will con­ti­nue to play an important role in the secu­ri­ty indus­try. Howe­ver, machi­nes will play an incre­asing­ly important role and sup­port human secu­ri­ty guards in cer­tain acti­vi­ties. Pri­va­te secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies must adapt to the­se chan­ges and train and deve­lop their staff accor­din­gly to meet the demands of the future.


The future of the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty indus­try in Ger­ma­ny will be shaped by a com­bi­na­ti­on of human labour and the capa­bi­li­ties of machi­nes. Humans will not be repla­ced, but will deve­lop fur­ther and take on other acti­vi­ties. This means that the­re will be a shift in tasks. While per­cep­ti­on tasks can lar­ge­ly be taken over by machi­nes, pri­va­te secu­ri­ty forces will incre­asing­ly take on other, more deman­ding tasks.

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