n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Private security officers as victims of trauma and stress : the South African experience and initiatives to manage it

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Worldwide the private security industry is showing exceptional growth. As perceptions of levels of crime worsen, people and organisations are making increasing use of private forms of security to protect themselves and their possessions. The strategic importance of the private security industry from a safety and security perspective is self-evident. Considerable trust is placed by clients in an industry which has more resources available than the public police service, and South Africa is by no means exempted from this.

Notwithstanding this phenomenal growth globally, the private security industry in South Africa is now faced with new challenges as levels of crime increase and criminal activity becomes more sophisticated. Criminals are acting with impunity and more private security officers are becoming the victims and targets of such wanton violence.
This paper seeks to elucidate the view that the private security officers, especially those involved in armed guarding and the movement of cash, are subjected to enormous amounts of stress in the line of their daily working conditions.
Consequently this manifests itself in the high levels of stress experienced as a result of the fact that these officers are increasingly becoming victims of cash-in-transit heists, armed robbery and violent shoot-outs.
From the research that was undertaken the authors will :
  1. share real-life case studies on the nature and incidence of attacks on armed guards,
  2. elaborate on some of the factors which contribute to the victim's stress, and
  3. look at some initiatives undertaken from a practitioner level, to manage victims of stress in the private security industry.

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