HART Security Limited: An International Approach to Private Security

Joined ICoCA in September 2013

ICoCA Certified Member since September 2017


Minimising Risk in Complex Environments

HART Security Limited (Hart) joined ICoCA in 2013, having served as one of the International Code of Conduct’s (the Code) founders and original signatories. With over 300 employees, Hart delivers a variety of services to clients spanning five continents, including risk management consultation, technical security design, specialist training, and physical, maritime, and aviation security. Hart is the founding member of the Chelsea Group, a partnership of ten companies operating in complex environments around the world. Founded in 2006, the Chelsea Group is dedicated to integrated solutions and servicing a broad range of clients with risk management consultancy, crisis response, aviation security, specialist human resources, remote site infrastructure, water purification, leadership development training, and more.

Operational in 69 countries, the Group extends Hart’s reach globally in terms of network and breadth of service offerings,” explains James Houghton, COO of HART Security Limited. “The Group’s experience and competencies in complex environments set it apart, offering clients robust and sustainable solutions in an increasingly volatile global landscape.

Hart believes that its contributions to the Code underscore the company’s commitment to responsible management and due diligence. According to Mr. Houghton, Hart’s responsible delivery is “based upon integrity, transparency, and respect for human life and dignity, whilst ensuring that good governance and best practise underpin Hart’s business activities.

Joining ICoCA after its formation in 2013 was therefore “logical and in line with our consistent commitment to good governance.


Adapting to Changes Within the Private Security Sector

There have been considerable changes within the private security industry since the signing of the Code ten years ago. Mr. Houghton claims that the consolidation of the market has led to increased competition between private security providers, making mergers between companies more common. Another notable development is the rise of local security companies, namely in Iraq, which have contributed to intrastate development.

Diversity is also now an essential deliverable, and this is a positive area of growth in companies, including our own,” Mr. Houghton says. Mounting social pressure has pushed the industry towards improvements in sustainability, gender diversity, and environmental consciousness, especially following the introduction of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.

Additionally, the integration of technology, “especially in terms of surveillance and observation,” has transformed the private security frontier on an international scale. “However, alongside the technology, the need for a properly certified, trained, physical security presence remains,” Mr. Houghton explains, indicating that this new dimension of private security has only broadened – not simplified – the industry.


Industry Challenges and the Future of ICoCA

But despite these developments, the private security industry faces many evolving obstacles that may preclude due diligence. Mr. Houghton points to climate change, natural disasters, polarisation, and political volatility as severely complicating environments with high demand for private security. Furthermore, “corruption and unethical business are a reality in most of our areas of operation,” Mr. Houghton explains. Another challenge Hart faces is adequately ensuring that management systems are delivered on the ground, which can be a time-intensive process. It’s a large cost to the company, but it means that we can deliver our services confidently and to the appropriate standards for our clients and stakeholders.”

Although it may be tempting to cut corners and minimise costs, Hart believes that “it’s essential for companies operating in these environments to take a zero-tolerance approach and to commit to the local laws, regulations, and ethical behaviour at all times.

With regard to the future of ICoCA, Mr. Houghton predicts that “the challenges will be financial, as well as remaining relevant.” But ICoCA is committed to adapting its approach to the changing private security frontier, improving international human rights standards regardless of these difficulties.

Hart acknowledges how ICoCA certification has positively contributed to the company’s capabilities and human rights protocol. According to Mr. Houghton, “there have been several tenders where being an ICoCA member was a requirement, without which we would not have been able to participate.” Ultimately, Mr. Houghton believes that requiring ICoCA certification “makes the pool of candidates about quality, not quantity, and illustrates that our potential clients embrace high standards commensurate with our own.”

After ten years of service, ICoCA plans to continue improving human rights compliance by encouraging companies to hold themselves accountable. Mr. Houghton concludes that at HART Security Limited, “we welcome being assessed annually by an objective and independent body such as ICoCA. We seek continuous improvement, and this is one of the means by which we endeavour to achieve it.”


Learn more about HART Security Limited by visiting their website.

Read about the Chelsea Group by visiting their website.