The third element
By Kenneth Mitchell
At the November meeting of CANASA’s Southwest Ontario Chapter, the guest speaker knew little about security systems integration. He couldn’t talk about IP transmission and its impact on low speed modems. It didn’t matter that Guy Parent, the CEO of London, Ont.-based Corporate Investigation Services, isn’t an expert on electronic security because Parent relies on electronic security professionals. That, in a nutshell, was the essence of his address: the private security industry is interdependent.
By Kenneth Mitchell
Corporate Investigation Services offers clients a range of services. In
any of those services Parent may rely upon electronic security
specialists to assist him in the collection of evidence. “Why then,”
asked Parent, “do electronic security specialists not give more thought
to how they can make use of private investigators and other security
According to Parent, there are three distinct private security
sub-sectors that service and support private business. The technical
security sub-sector includes alarm and CCTV installers, monitoring
stations, access control technicians, locksmiths, and increasingly,
systems integrators; security specialists providing prophylactic and
deterrent-based security systems. Security guards and patrol services,
in addition to public police services, respond to breaches of technical
security systems, providing the muscle to the system-based deterrent.
Private investigators become involved when it is beyond the mandate of
police to investigate the technical breach.
He provided a colourful example:
Joe Smith of Joe’s Distributing thinks his operation is well-protected
with a hard-wired security alarm system featuring security cameras
backed up with off-site recorders. At 1:32 a.m. an intrusion alarm is
received at the central station. Following Enhanced Call Verification
protocols, police are alerted at 1:35 a.m., arriving on site at 1:56
a.m. Joe arrives at 1:57 a.m. to learn that his system server and four
notebook computers were stolen.
Joe knows that the extent of further police investigation will be to
pressure apprehended B&E artists for a confession and to monitor
pawn shops but Joe knows the customer lists and trade secrets on those
computers will never surface in a pawn shop. Joe calls Bob from
Security Systems International, his security alarm dealer. “Why have I
spent thousands on security systems and monitoring if this is the
If he wants to further anger Joe, and perhaps lose him as a customer,
Bob can respond defensively, point out that the system worked as
promised, and suggest slow police response as the culprit.
Bob refers Joe to Dan, a private investigator, experienced in the
investigation of commercial and industrial thefts. The investigator
arrives at 3:30 a.m. and notes the broken glass from the side window
flares outward onto the sidewalk — signaling a staged ‘break-out’ to
give the appearance of a forced entry. Joe was the victim of an inside
job. Dan seizes the CCTV videotapes, and finds a usable image and sends
the tape to a lab that specializes in video image enhancement. Joe
recognizes a former employee, now working for one of Joe’s competitors.
Joe’s vital business information is recovered thanks to Bob’s network
of security professionals. Bob may receive a referral fee from Dan; the
PI will certainly be referring future business to Bob.
Ken Mitchell is Executive Director of CANASA.