Defining the science of private security through knowledge categorisation

Document Type

Journal Article


Monash University - South Africa


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Security Science




Brooks, D. J. (2008). Defining the science of private security through knowledge categorisation. Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology, 2008(Special Edition 1), 12-23. Available here


Private security is a multi-disciplined industry, requiring a diverse range of knowledge across many domains. Additionally and perhaps due to the diversity of private security, security has not been effectively defined. Security has many meanings dependant on applied context and concept definition. But security is developing into a discipline that does contain a rich knowledge structure, demonstrated to a degree through the increasing educational offerings of security at the tertiary level. Therefore, if security has not been appropriately defined can a security body of knowledge be presented? The study on which this article is based critiqued international tertiary security courses (n = 104) to consider what may define a security body of knowledge. Security experts selected international tertiary security courses (n = 7) to provide source data for content analysis. From these selected security courses a table of security concepts (n = 2001) was extracted, resulting in a final knowledge categorisation (n = 13) of private security. Security knowledge categories included the following : criminology; business continuity management; facility management; fire science; industrial security; information and computer security; investigations; physical security; security principles; risk management; security law; security management and security technology. Additionally, these security categories were integrated into previous work to propose a 'Science of Security Framework'. The development and presentation of the security knowledge categories and security framework will aid, in part, the consensual development of a security body of knowledge.