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Crystal clear?

by Brian Sims
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Traditionally, the advent of a New Year realises a plethora of predictions for the nation, its economy and business prospects and – somewhat closer to home for the readers of Risk UK – developments across the security and risk landscape. Why would 2015 be any different to the norm? Except for this year’s potential to prove more pivotal than most, that is.

Politically speaking, we find ourselves on the cusp of the next General Election. The latest opinion polls suggest neither of the two main political parties is commanding enough public confidence to lead a majority Government come May, in turn rendering the possibility of another hung Parliament very real.

As the BSIA’s CEO James Kelly rightly states, effective regulation of the private security sector is fundamental to the ability of solutions providers across the country to offer support for local police services, with the checks and balances provided by the licensing regime helping to establish trust between the public and private sectors.

On that note, it will be extremely interesting to map progress of the Police and Security Group Initiative devised for the capital which launched in December, not to mention ongoing debates around the introduction of business licensing.

In the wider commercial sphere, detailed predictions for the year ahead have been evinced by several prominent organisations, among them the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), KPMG and Control Risks.

From the IRM’s perspective, a broad range of oil and gas, political, healthcare, regulatory and insurance risks comprise the potential ‘flashpoints’. “We need to watch how the dialogue between the UK and the EU develops,” opines José Morago, chairman at the IRM. “The potential risk of a UK exit from the EU could bring about even bigger strategic, operational and legal risk challenges to international companies than those raised by Scottish independence.”

New regulation is likely to pose risks for both companies and their directors in 2015. By way of example, taken together the 2014 UK Corporate Governance Code and Financial Reporting Council’s Guidance on Risk Management could significantly upgrade the ‘weaponry’ of shareholder activism.

In the online arena, cyber criminals are predicted to become “more selective” in terms of how they target victims. KPMG partner Stephen Bonner states: “Consumers’ desire to be seen online has overtaken their desire to be secure. We can expect organised crime to find new ways in which to make money in our increasingly digitised society.”

The end result? A business world in which cyber protection matures and where Governments come together to improve ways in which confidential data is secured.

Meantime, Control Risks’ comprehensive RiskMap 2015 points towards the increasing threat of transnational terrorism and technology ‘changing the face’ of both kidnapping and extortion.

Will 2015 witness deflating optimism, continued conflict and the expanding failure of global governance to address the issues ‘in play’? Security professionals have much on which to ponder.

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK

January 2015

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