Concerns about the ways organisations are preventing and dealing with security failures, incidents and breaches have been the subject of scrutiny from the public, academics and security community for decades. Victims, business owners, security professionals and decision makers have persistently sought a full and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding security failures and into the ways such incidences could be better prevented and dealt with.

There have been numerous investigations, both public and private, into the events surrounding some of these security failures, for example those following the terrorist attacks of the 9/11 in 2001, the failure by G4S to provide enough private security guards during the London Olympics in 2012, the hack of Target Corp. in 2013, or the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015. In 2008, after reviewing the existing academic and research material related to the topic of security failures, Mark Button, Professor at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, concluded that ‘security failures are under-researched […] and the first area that requires greater consideration is security failure.’

For the victims of security failures and other interested parties, there remain unanswered important questions about the nature and extent of security failures, the reasons for their occurrence and persistence and the best approaches they should follow in order to reduce such incidences.

In light of this, Matthieu Petrigh has decided to establish the Centre for Security Failures Studies and a panel of experts to review and examine the existing documentary evidence and research findings concerning the problem of security failures and conduct further investigations worldwide and across industry sectors.

Terms of Reference

The Centre for Security Failures Studies is committed to maximum possible public disclosure of all relevant data and information about the nature and extent of security failures, from all possible sources.

The remit of the independent panel of experts will be to:

1 – Consult with the victims of security failures, incidents and breaches and with the security personnel having been involved in these problems to ensure that the views of those affected are taken into consideration and their needs understood;

2 – Obtain, examine and analyse documentation, research findings and data related to security failures from all relevant organisations and individuals (governmental and non-governmental) to include:

2.1 – Undertaking the review of historic facts and records to establish the extent of the current body of knowledge related to security failure;

2.2 – Examining the various theories and concepts which are related to the understanding of security failures. This will include, without being limited to, theories from the fields of psychology, criminology, crime science, cybernetics, chaos, systems, sociology, organisational resilience, engineering, policing, security, risk and business.

2.3 – Examining the roles and functions of the various entities involved in security failures, their relations, interactions and influences. This will include human and technological elements;

2.4 – Reviewing all major investigations related to security and safety failures since 1950, irrespective of the country of origin and industry sector;

2.5 – Reviewing the relationships between the different investigations and their respective relationship with the victims of security failures;

3 – Develop new scientific methods for security failures analysis and conceptual models and theories for security failures prevention.

The Centre for Security Failures Studies will:

1 – Collate and organise the widest possible range of information, research, publications and data about the nature and extent of security failures, incidents and breaches and assess the effectiveness of the solutions which have been and are being applied to deal with these problems;

2 – Establish an on-line archive of specialist documentation, including a catalogue of all relevant information and a commentary on any information withheld for the benefit of the victims of security failures or on legal or other grounds;

3 – Make these findings available to decision makers and security professionals and oversee the maximum possible public disclosure of all relevant information relating to security failures, incidents and breaches;

4 – Offer bespoke research and consultancy services where better quality information is essential;

5 – Promote research excellence and evidence-based security within the security community;

6 – Further the development of ethical practice, good governance, human rights, equal opportunities, integrity and fair treatment within the security community;

7 – Produce capacity-enabling and fact-finding research reports, guidelines and books which will provide an overview of the information reviewed by the panel of experts and will illustrate how the information disclosed adds to the understanding of these events, their aftermath and the ways organisations should better protect themselves;

8 – Work for the common good, pursue peace, build capacity and care for the less secure.