Companies may be “obliged” to work with public security, including inside their sites, without knowing in advance the numbers and operational capabilities, as well as the rules and restrictions governing public security forces assigned to their area of operations.
Discuss security arrangements with the management of public security forces at the national, regional and/or local level.
- Raise international standards on the conduct of public security forces in discussions with national authorities. Especially for companies operating in the extractive sector, include the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Emphasise that the type and number of public security forces deployed should be proportional to the threat. If national authorities decide, in compliance with national law, to deploy military forces to areas of extractive operations, highlight the need for adequate training and equipment.
- Identify and set out in formal terms the different roles assigned to public and private security. Determine the rules for their deployment around the company’s facilities; in particular, try to determine mechanisms and procedures for scaling up or down depending on the changing environment. Agree on these arrangements with the chain of command for public security forces.
- Only request the permanent deployment of public security forces if there is a high level of lawlessness or if the site is so remote that the response time for public security forces to arrive is too long.
- Consider requesting that women make up a certain percentage of public security forces deployed to the project site. The presence of women provides for a diversity of observations, facilitates interactions with women and children and may help prevent risks of gender-based violence.1
1. Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights: Performance Indicators, p.15 (International Alert 2008
- Assess whether the security benefits of working with public security forces (e.g. for convoy protection) outweigh the risks that lethal force may be used.
Maintain close contact with representatives of public security forces at different levels.
- Seek home government support to access high-level public security officials.
- Maintain close contact with representatives of police and military forces, with connections at different levels of the chain of command. Build positive relationships with local police forces and/or public security (as relevant) in order to stay well-informed and have a direct point of contact on site (see Implementation of an agreement on public security: ensuring local commitment to national level agreements within Memorandum of Understanding – Working with Public Security Forces).
- Raise concerns to authorities at the appropriate level whenever use of force by public security is excessive.
- Establish formal and consistent reporting and communications mechanisms with public security forces and other stakeholders in order to ascertain ongoing threat levels.
- Always document decision points in meetings with public security forces and distribute them among participants.
- Ensure the company approach to security arrangements (e.g. roles and responsibilities, chain of command, use of force) is mainstreamed through all security personnel on site. Clearly communicate rules and expectations to all relevant parties.
- Sponsor visits by senior public security officials to the company’s operational site in order to strengthen the relationship between the company and public security providers . As explained by the World Bank and Anvil Mining, ‘The effect on [public security] chain of command is normally very positive and enhances the position of the company with local commanders. These steps strengthen the company management’s access in difficult times. The company representative can pick up a phone and ask for help at a senior level to resolve problems with local commanders.
Establish an agreement or memorandum of understanding with public security forces assigned to operational sites
- With representatives of public security forces, develop a joint risk assessment process to agree on security risks and the nature and level of support required from public security forces. Consider also including local stakeholders (e.g. local authorities, representatives of local communities, local civil society organisations, local business associations) in the risk assessment process.
- Use any in-kind support the company provides as an incentive to agree on and enforce clear rules on deployment and conduct of public security forces. These rules should comply with the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, especially for companies operating in the extractive sector.
- Encourage the host government to make records of security arrangements publicly accessible, subject to any overriding safety and security concerns.
- Whenever preparing an agreement or memorandum of understanding, draw inspiration from existing agreements or memoranda of understanding. Also consider drawing inspiration from examples, such as the Voluntary Principles’ model clauses for agreements between government security forces and companies (including for companies that do not operate in the extractive sector).
Support efforts to provide human rights and international humanitarian law training for public security forces
Presence of public security forces assigned to areas of corporate operations: preventing increased incidents and escalation of tensions
Analyse the operational context as part of human rights risk assessment, impact assessment and enhanced due diligence Update risks and impacts regularly.
(see Unidentified root causes, unaddressed impacts of the operation or unfulfilled commitments: addressing persistent tensions within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities) and human rights due diligence factsheet.
- Conduct a conflict analysis to understand the root causes, the dynamics, the actors and nature of local conflicts and thus be able to operate in a conflict-sensitive manner. The conflict analysis should also assess the level of adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law standards by the different parties.
- In situations of armed conflict, additional legal obligations stemming from international humanitarian law apply.
- In situations of armed conflict or high-risk situations, a heightened form of human rights due diligence will be required (see complex environments).
- Identify security risks for the company (e.g. risks for company personnel and families, facilities and assets), as well as risks for local communities.
- Engage in community consultations regarding security measures as a crucial source of security risk information.
- Ensure all vulnerable groups are adequately represented in these consultation (see Unidentified root causes, unaddressed impacts of the operation or unfulfilled commitments: addressing persistent tensions within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities).
- Keep in mind that security risk assessments form part of wider human rights due diligence.
Minimise the presence of public security forces at company sites.
- In conflict environments, try to avoid public security forces becoming involved in operations at company sites if private security can legally and practically respond to needs. Although the government also remains responsible for the conduct of public security forces, once the company has a public security force detachment on its facilities, it needs to accept responsibility for its conduct at the site.
- Request public forces only when there is an urgent need at a specific location and then clearly define their mandate, as well as the time limits for their expected withdrawal.
- Consider safety and gender-specific concerns with regard to areas that women use or cross over, and be aware that the presence of public security forces may impact safety in a positive or negative way. Both actual and perceived impacts should be considered, with particular consideration to the opinions of the affected women.
Promote respect for international standards and good practices by public security forces deployed on site.
- In discussions with representatives of public security forces, underline that deployed forces should be competent and the type, number and means engaged should be appropriate and proportional to the threat. Ensure that this requirement is made explicit in a memorandum of understanding or agreement with the host State (see Memorandum of Understanding – Working with Public Security).
- If national authorities decide, in compliance with national law, to deploy military forces to areas of company operations, highlight the need for adequate training and equipment. Ensure that the forces’ chain of command is clearly defined and that the company correctly understands how management can interact with the chain of command (e.g. which protocols to follow).
- Ensure the respective roles and responsibilities of public and private security are clearly defined and communicated to both company management and public security forces’ chain of command.
Closely monitor the public security forces assigned to the protection of the company’s staff, assets and operations. Ensure they do not take part in activities related to conflict or armed violence.
Publish a policy commitment on human rights
(see Sensitive discussions on security and human rights: addressing issues constructively within Human rights concerns – Working with Host Governments) and human rights due diligence factsheet.
- Companies should openly communicate the circumstances in which public security forces are likely to be associated with their operations, as well as how they address the risk of human rights violations by public security forces in these situations. This could help the public differentiate between the company and the security forces that are guarding them. It may also reduce the risk of being too closely associated with public security operations.
Public security forces with insufficient human resources, low salaries, inadequate training and poor equipment: preventing criminal activity and human rights violations
Conduct and regularly update risk assessment.
- As part of the risk assessment, evaluate the resources needed by public security forces.
- Assess potential conflict risks that could arise as a result of imbalances within public security forces, particularly due to additional resources provided to units dedicated to company security.
Consider alternatives to the provision of financial and material support
(see Managing responses to social conflicts: preventing excessive use of force by public security forces through ensuring appropriate equipment that will allow for a differentiated use of force within Equipment – Working with Public Security Forces).
Engage with the appropriate government agencies and emphasise the need for the host government to provide adequate resources.
- Include a provision in the agreement or memorandum of understanding with the host government that part of the taxes paid by companies be used to provide resources to public security forces. Account for risks when considering such a provision.
Support efforts by governments, civil society and multilateral organisations to strengthen State institutions.
- Identify synergies with security sector reform programmes. Programmes to strengthen the management and oversight roles of security institutions, as well as training for public security forces, are in place in many countries. The company could engage with these programmes to extend some police reform activities to the area of the company’s operations.
- The United Nations Security Sector Reform Inter-Agency Task Force explains that support for public security forces should promote ‘fair, objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and merit-based policies and practices on recruitment, salaries, performance evaluation, promotion and professional development’. Place particular emphasis on programmes that focus on gender-inclusiveness and inclusion of women in security forces.
- Provide resources to support programmes that strengthen accountability at the local level.
Engage with other concerned companies to encourage home governments or multilateral institutions to help provide the material and support needed.
- If feasible, consider contributing to a consolidated, joint programme of equipment and training that will benefit all companies in the area.
If the company feels compelled to provide financial and material support to public security forces, assess all potential risks and establish safeguards
(see Provision of logistical, financial and/or in-kind support to public security forces: managing the associated risks within Equipment – Working with Public Security Forces).
- Assess the security benefits of providing resources to public security forces against the risks of human rights violations. If the benefits outweigh the costs and risks, establish and disseminate clear criteria for providing material support.
- Analyse any past cases of material support as the basis for the provision of such material.
Develop clear procedures for the provision of financial and material support to public security forces assigned to the project site.
- Develop a protocol for the provision of equipment, goods and services to public security forces.
- Condition equipment transfers on the government’s commitment to respect human rights. Raise the appropriate standards and codes for the protection of individuals and the use of force; these are relevant both in the context of law enforcement operations (where human rights law applies) and in the conduct of hostilities (where international humanitarian law applies).
- List anything provided to governments, including public forces, in a record of transfer register, which should include details on exactly what the company provided, when and for what purpose. The recipient’s signature should be required for all items provided.
- Ensure full transparency of payments made and/or equipment transferred via reporting and public disclosure.
Ensure that financial and material support provided to public security reaches personnel on the ground.
- Endeavour to split the payments intended to contribute to public security forces between the relevant authorities at national and local levels.
- Where public security forces are entitled to payments in the form of a per diem or supplement to enable travel to company sites, ensure these are delivered directly to individuals.
- Ensure that any equipment to be used for the protection of the project site is secured at the site and released only according to agreed procedures.
Payments (cash and/or in-kind) to public security forces: ensuring transparency and managing suspicions of corruption
Ensure transparency of contractual agreements and payments made to host governments.
- International Alert emphasises that companies should make ‘a clear and unequivocal commitment to transparency of all revenue flows to governments’.
- Make all payments to governments available in company financial reviews and/or the company website, making sure figures are presented in a clear format. Guidance on related good practices can be found on the Publish What You Pay website.
Work with host government authorities to increase transparency in the management of payments made by companies.
- Assist in the development of a national financial reporting framework. Reporting frameworks need to be comprehensive and consistent for companies, at the country level or operational level. They should also allow for proper analysis by civil society organisations and other observers.
- Work with other companies to promote common minimum standards for financial reporting.
- Cooperate with other companies to advocate for transparency of payments at the national level and/or with the host government.
Support programmes by governments, civil society and multilateral institutions to increase transparency in security sector financing.
- Engage in multi-stakeholder processes such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative at both the national and international levels. According to International Alert, ‘This includes working collaboratively with home and host governments, international financial institutions, investors, civil society organisations, industry representative associations and other companies, including state-owned enterprises, toward ensuring that such initiatives evolve into meaningful and accountable standards of practice.’
- Seek ways to support security sector reform programmes that promote effective and accountable management of security budgets.
Inform communities about the company’s arrangements with public security
(see Navigating different stakeholders: avoiding inadvertently favouring or excluding sub-groups within communities within Stakeholder engagement strategy – Working with Communities) and human rights due diligence factsheet.
- Use booklets, video and audio that explain the companies’ agreements with public security, companies’ operational processes and payments in simple language.
- Establish a public information office in an easily accessible location near the project site where anyone can make inquiries about the operations. Hire a community liaison officer.