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The Difference between Security and Law Enforcement

What is the difference between law enforcement and security? Many look at security as a way to make people feel safe by placing someone or something to deter crime or what can be called window dressing. As for law enforcement, they are looked at as those that show up during or after a crime and are supposed to solve said crime and arrest those responsible. Both are partially correct but at the same time, they are wrong. Let us explore the two and the reasons and the actual definitions.


Starting with Security the definition is the protection from, or resilience against, potential harm or other unwanted coercion caused by others but more simply put the state of being free from danger or threats. This is done by providing the planning and response for the mitigation of a threat through an equal and appropriate response. This is done through risk and threat assessment to set a mitigation/response plan and by testing and revising the plan at least annually. The main goal of security is to provide protection to an asset meaning an individual or group, property, or anything of value.


Law enforcement by definition describes the agencies and employees responsible for enforcing laws, maintaining public order, and managing public safety or simply put making sure that people obey the law by enforcing the laws when they are broken or preventing crime through patrolling areas where crime might happen or responding to crimes that are in process. Law enforcement is also responsible for investigating and solving the crime after the incident has happened.

Both can be proactive when it comes to mitigating a threat but when looking at the two security has a more proactive approach to risk and threat assessment and asset protection. Law enforcement has the focus as it was put to enforce the law and make sure people obey the law. Yes, law enforcement responds to threats, but it is a real security company that understands the risk and threat assessment process and can provide a mitigation/response plan that is meant to protect the asset through prevention. This does not mean one is better than the other, but each has its own role and the parts they play. So, the question is do you need security or law enforcement to provide the service you need? Simply put, are you looking for a service to assess risks and threats to mitigate them to protect an asset or do you need someone to enforce the law? These are two distinct and different goals, and both have their place, overlap, and need to work together to actually meet the overall goal of protecting and serving to keep life and property safe.

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