QMS Global, a leading provider of certification services, has become the 10th certification body (CB) to be recognised by ICoCA, in this case for certification to ISO 28007. This represents a doubling in the number of accepted CBs over the last five years. Growing the number of accepted CBs both increases the number of markets and the number of options in these markets for those looking to get private security services ICoCA certified. QMS, for example, has the capacity to certify private security service providers operating from North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The company is also looking to expand its offerings in Asia.

We asked Eduardo Diaz, Vice President of QMS, why it was important for QMS to become an ICoCA Accepted Certification Body. According to Eduardo, there is insufficient awareness by private security companies to develop and maintain effective policies and procedures in accordance with the International Code of Conduct (the Code) and recognised international standards. Having more certification bodies accepted by ICoCA will make the standard more accessible, ultimately reducing risk and improving due diligence in the security supply chain.

So why should a private security company or their client seek ICoCA certification? According to Eduardo, “obtaining ICoCA certification ensures that the company verifies and complies with all the appropriate requirements and standards, providing them a distinction and competitive advantage that focuses on the safety of their personnel, client staff and their operations. When evaluating a private security service provider, customers seek to ensure security operators comply with the Code. ICoCA is at the forefront of multiple recognised international standards and was developed to reduce risk for companies.

As a certifier it is our responsibility to monitor that companies certified to ISO 28007 and other emerging standards in this category effectively and efficiently comply with the principles in the Code and that they develop their operational guidelines to provide their products or services in a responsible manner, respecting human rights and national and international legislation”.

Eduardo believes ICoCA should be working on multiple fronts to increase uptake of the standard. “ICoCA should continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and affiliated bodies to achieve broad adherence to its Code, creating contractual conditions that allow them to continue to exert influence over private security providers as a distinctive and leading association that highlights human rights issues.

ICoCA must continue to create awareness through seminars, webinars and regional meetings. The Association should develop educational and marketing programs to both reach more clients and to keep approved certification bodies up to date with short and longer-term plans.”

ICoCA’s Quality Control on Accepted CBs

Unfortunately, there are many reported instances of CBs selling certifications without conducting rigorous checks, sometimes no audit at all and often without in-house expertise on the standards to which they supposedly certify. To address this problem, ICoCA only accepts certification from CBs who meet ICoCA competency requirements. This includes that they are either:

  • specifically accredited to the currently recognised standards (ISO 18788, ISO 28007 or PSC.1.) by International Accreditation Federation (IAF)/ Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) Members
  • or from Certification bodies accredited to ISO 17021 by IAF/MLA Members.

The compliance team at ICoCA conducts additional checks and assessment before recommending to the board whether a CB should be accepted. According to Tom Mather, Compliance Manager at ICoCA, “for ICoCA, it’s incredibly important that we maintain the highest levels of quality assurance. The IAF/MLA affiliation goes a long way towards this. In addition, we conduct our own due diligence to assess the competence of CBs to certify to the recognised standard(s)”.

CBs are highly encouraged to reach out to ICoCA if they wish to be recognised.

What ICoCA Certification Means

Being ICoCA Certified provides assurance that the company’s procedures and practices comply with the Code. As part of their due diligence, more and more clients across all sectors are now requiring ICoCA Certification in the selection of their private security providers. ICoCA Certified companies are subjected to the highest level of due diligence. This includes:

  • external certification to an ICoCA-recognised standard issued by an independent accredited CB accepted by ICoCA, such as QMS, plus additional scrutiny of company policies and procedures conducted by ICoCA to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Code.
  • internal verification to human rights and international humanitarian law principles by ICoCA through regular self-assessment and reporting to the Association and ongoing monitoring.
  • continual improvement through guidance and training on the Code.

Currently Recognised Standards

The Board determines which national or international standards and processes are considered consistent with the Code. Companies may approach ICoCA for consideration of standards and processes not currently recognised.

ICoCA currently recognises three standards:

  • PSC.1 – U.S. standard for companies providing security services on land.
  • ISO 18788 – International standard for companies providing security services on land.
  • ISO 28007 – International standard for companies providing maritime security services.


Check out this page for more information about ICoCA’s certification programme, including the full listing of currently accepted CBs. For any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to secretariat@icoca.ch.