This article is one attempt to analyze situation with critical infrastructure protection in
Serbia and the role of private security, stating that critical infrastructure protection is quite
new notion in security-related vocabulary in Serbia, since those assets, networks or
organization were known as national companies, or public enterprises. Explaining main
characteristics in a short history of development of private security in Serbia in last two
decades, the authors try to analyze situation in Serbian critical infrastructure after
introducing readers with a European approach to critical infrastructure protection.
Adopting CoESS` definition of critical infrastructure, the authors displayed outcomes of
CoESS` White Paper on public-private partnerships in critical infrastructure protection.
Concluding this article the authors tried to define main conditions for more intensive and
more efficient public-private partnerships in the field of critical infrastructure protection
Key words: Critical infrastructure, private security, critical infrastructure protection,
European Critical Infrastructure Directive
In the security-related vocabulary in Serbia, terms private security and critical
infrastructures are relatively new. The latter one in particular. It doesn’t even exist in the
official documents of security strategies/security policies, but has been used as of recently
in private security professional circles in Serbia, especially in the ones concerned with
projects and activities of CoESS on the territory of Serbia and West Balkans.
The term national critical infrastructures should encompass all “state-run
companies”, which relates to all those companies in Serbia which, are still owned by the
state (the energy sector, telecommunications, transport, post office etc.) In the mid 50s,
these companies were protected by inhouse security, with a help of the police, sometime
army security services, and intelligence. From the second half of 70s, critical
infrastructures and all other state or public property, were protected by the network of
huge and very detailed System of Social Self-protection. Beside in-house security services,
that system had two additional circles of company property protection; inner financial
control and workers committee control. Beside the fact that there were three rings of
protection/controls, froads and other losses were present at that time. In comparison with
today’s figures, those losses were naive, so to speak.
On the other hand, private security is also a new phenomenon in the Serbian
security systems. In 20 years of experience, the private security sector in Serbia has had
more than 30.000 employees (almost the same number as police officers), in less than 200
private security companies, with a yearly turnover of cca. €140 million.
The Serbian private security industry is trying to be fully incorporated in the
European private security model, promoted by CoESS in the social dialogue with UNI
Europa and EC. This means that private security in Serbia tend; (1) to harmonize its
legislation with common European legislation in this sector; (2) to adopt all relevant
European standards in private security, and; (3) to be an active participant in regional
projects and policies in this sector, as a part of the European one.
Since the beginning of the development of the private security sector, however, there has
been a chronic absence of legal regulation. Despite the fact that several pieces of legislation
indirectly regulate the framework and the character of the private security field, a separate
law on private security would largely prevent the serious problems that this sector faces. In
the context of this work, these problems represent its main challenges.
In an analytical sense, the general problem which the private security sector of Serbia is
facing is the ability to shape it, build it and harmonise it with the European model of private
policing. Putting the problem in such a broad perspective requires the identification of
specific problems which affect, with varying intensity, the challenges faced:
1. The absence of an appropriate and contemporary categorical apparatus in the field
of internal security, which results from the fact that in Serbia there is no clearly
formulated national security concept based primarily on prevention (rather than
repression). The course of historical change suggests that the social corpus is
increasingly becoming characterised in terms of the private.
2. A connected issue is that this absence of a conceptual apparatus negates the
possibility of an analytic framework from which to engage with critical opinion,
conceptualisation and strategic planning.
3. There is a lack of legislation with which to regulate the number of negative, or at
least undefined, issues that occur in the private security sector. For example, with
regard to private investigators/detectives, private surveillance systems and their
abuse by private security, the lack of regulation of tendering private security
services, the lack of systematic training and education of employees, the licensing of
companies and employees in the sector, the protection of employees’ rights and
illegal competition in the security services market.
There is a lack of partnership between the private and state security sectors, which is a
key precondition for ensuring the security and safety of citizens, the local community and
society in general. This is important in two main respects; (1) the governing model of
internal security in Serbia is one of state-centralisation, and, in relation to this; (2) there is
evidence of a persistent stereotype that holds the police as the only provider of security in
society (Kesetovic Z., Davidovic D. 2009).