What you need to know

The manned security market recorded a third year of consecutive growth in 2019, holding steady despite strong pressures on profitability. The increasing importance of leisure activities has been instrumental to this, providing demand that has helped to counter Brexit-related headwinds.

The custodial services segment led in growth, and is expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future as the government commits to expanding the number of prison places. The sector’s growth will also become more dependent on improving operational efficiency as labour costs will continue to restrict profitability.

This will also be addressed by incorporating technological solutions to manned guarding activities, in addition to a shift in business model that offers security services as one part of a comprehensive facilities management package which a wider range of clients can pick from according to their needs.

The cash-in-transit sector is also moving in a similar direction, with the largest players focused on improving efficiency of cash management through digital means in response to the falling relevancy of cash.

An economically positive conclusion to Brexit would provide a reprieve for the sector. Additionally, the move to a new trading regime may give the sector a chance to negotiate collectively with the government. Intense competition has led to underbidding that generates mismanagement. The sector must ensure the value of contracts it enters are sustainable in the long term, and do not encourage conditions that create outcomes that affect the sector’s reputation.

Covered in this Report

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Manned guarding includes uniformed guards and guard patrols, with or without dogs, and either permanently or periodically on site. Also included are guards and plain-clothes detectives in retail premises, keyholders, and personnel monitoring and responding to alarms. The manned guarding market also includes personnel involved in air traffic security, such as airport guarding, and baggage, cargo and mail screening. Diplomatic and anti-terrorist security, involving vehicle escort services, anti-bug sweeping and the detection of explosives, are also included in the sector.

  • Cash-in-transit involves the transportation of cash and valuables. The sector includes the counting and processing of money, and the restocking of bank and building society cash dispensers.

  • Custodial services include the design, construction, management and financing of private prisons, together with prisoner escorting and curfew enforcement via electronic monitoring.

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