GCC construction firms shouldn’t take site security for granted

Despite the comparatively low rates of theft in GCC countries, regional construction companies cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to project-site security

COMMENT, Business

Within an international context, the GCC boasts impressively low rates of crime – particularly when it comes to theft. As demonstrated by the latest available statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), instances of theft – defined as “depriving a person or organisation of property without force with the intent to keep it” – tend to be far less common in the Gulf than in regions such as North America, Europe, and Australasia.

With a rate of just 23.1 instances per 100,000 people in 2014, the UAE has the lowest rate of theft in the GCC. What’s more, the latest rates per 100,000 people in other Gulf countries are similarly low: 105.5 in Qatar (2006), 207.9 in Oman (2008), 282.1 in Kuwait (2009), and 681.0 in Bahrain (2008). No figures were available for Saudi Arabia.

These statistics compare favourably to countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom (England), and Australia which, in 2014, witnessed theft rates per 100,000 people of 1,833.9, 2,029.0, and 2,054.1, respectively. Nevertheless, whether on an individual or a corporate level, it’s important not to mistake low rates for an absence of theft. We may be less likely to be deprived of our property in the GCC, but that’s not to say that it will not happen.

This may seem like an obvious point to make, but – according to the security experts quoted in this week’s special report – it’s a pertinent one. Several interviewees point out that the issue of security is rarely a priority for regional construction and real estate firms. Those that fail to implement adequate protective measures, they add, are putting their bottom lines at risk.

In the special report’s Market Overview, security professionals from Transguard, Thomas & Adamson, and S&B Fencing Fixing assess the GCC security market’s future, and outline the potential perils of ignoring project-site protection (page 20).

In this week’s Technology Focus, experts from Pro-Vigil, Johnson Controls, and ACorps Security Services, explain why it is not enough to employ the latest devices in isolation. Security companies must continue to consider the big picture, ensuring that these tools are collectively integrated in an effective manner (page 24).

And in The Last Word, Said Kiwan, CEO of MVP Tech, says that a converged approach to security can benefit safety and operations in equal measure (page 26).

What strikes me is that GCC construction and real estate firms don’t really have to make a choice when it comes to security. After all, there is significant overlap between the fields of security, health and safety, and building operations. Since the latter two segments already represent significant focusses within the Gulf, the former should be achievable without a great deal of additional investment.

Moreover, the latest security systems actively encourage operational efficiency and project safety, in addition to curtailing criminal activity. As security-related techniques and technologies continue to advance, the lines between such fields are likely to become increasingly blurred as converged models and integrated facilities management (IFM) become the new norm.

Put simply, GCC construction firms are statistically less likely to become victims of theft than their counterparts in other regions. However, the only way to ensure that this situation is maintained in the long term is for companies to invest in the latest security systems.

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