Matthew Varley | Palladium - Mar 10 2020
Governments and Business Have Three Things in Common When it Comes to Our Security

Source: ABC News

Read through the news feed on your smartphone on any day and you’ll be bombarded with troubling headlines of global or local safety risks. Whether it’s the current coronavirus crisis, the latest cyber-attack, or a robbery at your favourite local store, the world seems full of bad news.

We rely on our governments and critical public institutions (such as law enforcement and security agencies) to keep us safe, and these institutions increasingly have their work cut out for them. The digital revolution, shifting geo-strategic interests, and changing economic tides are all examples of increasingly complex influences on our evolving concept of public security. Across the Asia Pacific region, governments are shifting their resources and priorities as they grapple with contested intersections of politics, economics, trade and regional security.

Our governments and security institutions will always be primary in keeping us safe, but it’s unrealistic to expect them to go it alone.

Common Interest

Over a long career in law enforcement and national security, I have learned that there are three constants – and three areas of common interest – where governments and business have a shared role in our local, national and international security.

1. We all want safety. Fundamentally, we all want to feel safe in our homes, our community, and our workplaces. We all want to protect our loved ones, our friends, and our way of life. Governments owe a duty to keep their citizens safe, and businesses generally can’t operate well in unstable or hazardous environments.

2. We all want justice. Our society is founded on the principle that we all seek to live in a world that is just and fair. Justice is the cornerstone of the trust we place in others, our governments, and our businesses. The degradation or absence of justice risks breeding contempt, uncertainty, or even conflict.

3. We all want prosperity. We all strive for a brighter, more prosperous, and inclusive future, be it for ourselves, our children, our workplaces, or our nation. And prosperity goes hand in hand with safety and justice. Without all three, economies falter and communities divide.

"At the heart is the shared question of how we build stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient organisations and communities."

The Role of the Private Sector

Business has a role and a responsibility, working in partnership with government and our security institutions, to protect and develop these three aspirations. This means more than simply complying with the latest regulation or ensuring that company policies ‘toe the line’. At the heart is the shared question of how we build stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient organisations and communities.

There is a world of opportunity for the private sector to be innovative, agile, and lend specialist capabilities in a united effort with government to build safety and security for everybody, and in turn, improve our lives and livelihoods.

Governments and police around the world know it, too; increasingly sophisticated partnerships are aligning the efforts of police, security agencies, businesses, and communities to tackle some of the world’s most complicated criminal, financial, and social risks.

As former Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, I know firsthand that coalitions with the private sector have been integral to our efforts to build sustainable, resilient, and safer communities, especially in a nation recovering from significant civil conflict.

We see examples in our responses to natural or man-made disasters, such as the 2019 shipwreck and oil spill on a fragile, World Heritage listed reef in the remote island of Rennell; or our efforts to secure and protect communities during the most recent National General Elections; or even small social enterprise projects supporting unemployed youth. Private sector businesses have been critical and indispensable allies in delivering meaningful solutions to pressing problems.

With the bad news on our smartphones seemingly ever increasing, agile and creative partnerships between governments, businesses and communities are the smart way to bring leading-edge tools to the security challenges we share together.

Matthew Varley is Senior Advisor, Security & Justice at Palladium. Contact to learn more.