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17.4.2021 : 21:37 : +0200

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  • Private Security Companies’ Firearms Stockpiles, March 2011. Research Note No. 4, Armed Actors.

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Research Notes

Research Notes on Private Security Companies:

Private Security Companies (PSCs)

Around the globe, individuals, communities, local businesses, government agencies, large corporations, and powerful militaries are increasingly outsourcing aspects of their security to private entities.  Private security companies (PSCs) refer to legally registered business entities that provide, on a contractual basis, security and/or military services, regardless of whether they operate in situations of conflict. Information on PSC arms holdings and controls over them is scarce, reflecting a broader lack of transparency in the sector. Some PSCs have been involved in illegal acquisition and possession of firearms, have lost weapons through theft, and have used their small arms against civilians. Available information remains anecdotal, however, and makes it challenging to measure PSC performance over time or compare it to that of state security forces.

PSC firearms warrant close scrutiny as the sector is growing rapidly, which could increase the risk of arms diversion and misuse should regulation not keep pace with industry growth. The Small Arms Survey studies the private security sector with a view to expanding the knowledge base on PSC firearm holdings and the effectiveness of controls over them. Two chapters published in the 2011 Small Arms Survey Yearbook provide a first global overview of PSC firearm holdings and associated control mechanisms, and an analysis of the issues arising from the use of PSCs by multinational corporations. A chapter in the Small Arms Survey 2012 is dedicated to issues related to the management and use of firearms by maritime PSCs.

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