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.