A reflective study of how security conceptualises the international standardisation of security

  • Mohamed Juma Al Darmaki

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The benefits of international cooperation in security are well understood. However, they have proven difficult to achieve as has any unanimously agreed standard or protocol. The purpose of this research is to establish how standardisation in security could be implemented internationally. Special attention has been paid to the operational level of the security apparatus and staff to conceptualise the challenges of implementation in multi-disciplined
policing and security. This thesis also takes a wide-ranging view of the social interaction and interrelationship between the security apparatus and society; how the changes in the security environment have focused attention on the need for international standardisation and the challenges which led to the establishment of some international cooperation and systems, none of which has received universal acceptance.

The important contribution of this research is in identifying and explaining the challenges involved in the establishment of an international security standard, and in providing some solutions and insights based upon the objective experiential reflection of people and organisations facing the challenges posed by a variety of security risks. The aim of this work is achieved by addressing two overarching concepts; the first of which addresses the difficulties involved in establishing an international standard for security acceptable to the international community such that they would cooperate given their many sovereign interests.
The second of which defines the possibility of such a proposition involving the practicalities of implementing such a system at an operational level given the inevitable differences between countries.

This study is based upon a complex body of data and information the gathering of which has been complicated by the inherent confidentiality in the sector. Infrastructural Information gathered by desk research and a wide literature review have been enriched by Operational information from which three key hypotheses going to the root of the problem statement have been developed. 30 key issues/areas of focus were derived from these hypotheses and expanded into a questionnaire of 49 questions. The questionnaire targets objective information by the reflection of the participants on a wide range of issues, which also provides the basis of the interview regime. The data and information are analysed within a by-question discussion protocol and used to test the three key hypotheses from which conclusions are defined and recommendations identified.

It was found that limited access to information within the culture of secrecy in the security sector hinders progress towards standardisation. Whilst there was a low level of resistance from the police and the security establishment to cooperation, many countries would need legislation to enable participation, which many would be provisionally willing to enact to enable cooperation. This in turn would require the sharing and exchange of information which would be a benefit of coordination and cooperation. The majority of countries would support working to a standard and would value cooperation. A need for support is indicated in the areas of management, benchmarking, commonality and improvement of processes. This is because few countries manage their security to a standard; and the majority want improvements and common standards to work to. It is clear that success depends upon commonality and coordination and there is a willingness to coordinate and cooperate by the majority of countries.

It is recommended that standardisation come under the auspices of a supranational body like the United Nations because of the development work required in bringing countries together. A coordinated cooperation within a structured standardised organisation sensitive to various country needs would appeal to the majority and would most likely succeed.
Date of AwardMay 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Charles Jones (Supervisor), Phil Clements (Supervisor), Chris Lewis (Supervisor), Philip Henry Percy Clements (Supervisor), Christopher Gray Lewis (Supervisor) & Barry William Loveday (Supervisor)

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