10 - 12 November 2020 | SARIT CENTRE, NAIROBI, KENYA

The impact of the COVID-19 virus on security

POSTED: 15th Apr

The social and personal implications of the COVID-19 Corona virus has already had a devastating impact on countries, social institutions, communities, businesses and a whole range of social and psychological events and interactions for people. It is likely to get even worse over the next few months and affect countries or areas that have been out of the mainstream of infection.

Even a few weeks ago in mid-February, I was travelling through London on crowded trains and tubes with people going to work with not a mask in sight. Contrast that with Wuhan at its worst, deserted streets in Rome, and a chapel in Italy being used for the storage of bodies. While government strategies to reduce contact through stopping of travel, advising against gatherings, and social distancing recommendations are important, concrete steps to address potential issues such as the shortage of hand sanitiser and respirators and disinfectant spraying are essential to avoid potential for the worst experiences.

For security, there a need to engage in a range of ways in order to control, facilitate and ease the transactions which are used to protect people and infrastructure from COVID-19. At the same time, the threats posed by COVID-19 have also reduced the need for security positions with cancellations of a whole range of industry activities particularly in travel and entertainment, and other events across a whole spectrum of industry and sports activity. The virus has had an impact on the fundamentals of society and security is both becoming critically important and disposable at the same time.

Security, by nature, has a function of protection. In the context of COVID-19, it has a special focus for people in a disrupted environment. Security is there to protect infrastructure, property, but also, as much as possible, the well-being and way of life of people. In this threatening environment, people need to have a sense of security, protection, and sense that they are being looked after. Security is going to have to align with these priorities to reassure people, and assist with some kind of social support, and if necessary, social control. This may be in ensuring the flow in day-to-day environments or in more threatening conditions.

If your security practices are seen to be contrary to this need for support, and people believe they could be infected by these security practices, you become part of the problem rather than the solution.

COVID-19 affects the risk profile and threats as countries, societies and individuals at all levels come under pressure and living and business strategies change. For example, gold becomes even more valuable as investors look for a safe haven, with the increased risk of even more crime targeting of gold operations. Toilet paper panic buying creates scenes of conflict in supermarkets while sanitiser becomes a sought after item and more appealing to shoplifters than razor blades and Duracell batteries.

Some places become deserted under isolation, while others need to be controlled and managed more effectively. In others, normality needs to be protected as much as possible. This may mean engaging to support and influence new norms, acceptable behaviours, well-being, access to resources and facilities, while another side may be protecting people and infrastructure in a situation of changed crime dynamics and a turbulent environment.

Read the full article via Hi-tech Security Solutions here.  

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