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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

Navigating Security Management Challenges in Economic Downturns

In times of economic downturn, the challenges faced by security management intensify significantly. Reduced budgets, increased economic crimes, and heightened legal risks create a complex environment in which security professionals must operate efficiently and effectively.

During economic contractions, there is a notable increase in economic crimes such as theft, fraud, and embezzlement. Financial desperation pushes individuals to justify unethical actions that they might not consider under normal circumstances. For instance, during the 2008 financial crisis, organisations reported a spike in internal frauds, as employees faced personal financial pressures. Similarly, retail sectors in Australia observed higher instances of shoplifting and petty theft during periods of recession.

Economic downturns lead to a rise in insurance premiums, with companies often forced to accept higher deductibles. Insurers become more circumspect in settling claims, leading to prolonged disputes. Concurrently, litigation risks surge as legal firms more aggressively pursue claims on a contingency basis, targeting corporations perceived to have "deep pockets." An example is seen in Australia where during the economic downturn,there was a marked increase in litigation against companies, driven in part by employment disputes and contractual disagreements.

With corporate budgets tightening, security departments are frequently asked to do more with fewer resources. This involves cutting back on non-essential services and finding cost-effective methods to maintain safety and security. For instance, several multinational corporations had to revise their security operations, focusing on core activities while reducing expenditure on peripheral services during the economic slowdown.

Despite these challenges, economic downturns necessitate the implementation of stringent security measures:

Background Checks: There is an increasing trend towards conducting thorough background checks on potential employees. This is crucial not only to prevent fraud but also to ensure that the hiring process is secure and reliable. Companies in the Northern Territory of Australia, for instance, have intensified their screening processes to mitigate risks associated with hiring during economic downturns.


Employee Training: Training programs aimed at educating both security and non-security staff are crucial. These programs focus on avoiding legal pitfalls such as false arrests and malicious prosecution, as well as ensuring compliance with security protocols to avoid claims of inadequate security.

Workplace Violence Protection: Programs to protect employees from workplace violence are more critical than ever. Companies are implementing more comprehensive measures to ensure employee safety, reflecting lessons learned from past incidents where economic stress contributed to heightened aggression in the workplace.

Environmental and Regulatory Compliance: Investigations into compliance with environmental legislation become more frequent as companies seek to avoid hefty fines and sanctions that can exacerbate financial strain.

Drug Testing and Whistleblower Follow-Ups: Drug testing remains a critical component of maintaining workplace integrity and safety, particularly in industries where impaired ability can lead to significant risks. Additionally, following up on whistleblower claims is essential to maintaining legal compliance and corporate governance standards.

The multifaceted role of security management in economically challenging times underscores the need for strategic planning and operational agility. Companies navigate economic downturns more successfully by integrating strong security measures with larger corporate strategies. This protects both assets and personnel from the increased risks posed by these times. As economic conditions evolve, so too must the strategies employed by security departments to safeguard organisational integrity and maintain public trust.

From the author.

The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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