International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC)

About the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC)

Building on the Montreux Document (2008), the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC) see of November 2010 sets out a body of principles derived from human rights and international humanitarian law to govern the operations of private security services providers in terms of their own management and as regards their responsibilities towards those who might be impacted by their activities.  It was developed in a multi stakeholder process to clarify the standards required of private security companies operating in complex environments as well as to improve oversight and accountability of these companies. Apart from human rights principles. The Code includes specific commitments on the management and governance of companies, including how they vet personnel and sub-contractors, manage weapons, procedures governing the use of force and grievance procedures. All SCEG members are required to read and agree to abide by the principles in the Code.

The ICOC also acts as a founding instrument for a broader initiative to create better governance, compliance and accountability. In particular, provision was made under Article 7a for the establishment of objective and measurable standards based on the Code with the objective of realising common and internationally recognised operational and business practice standards. This was given effect by the negotiation of the American national standard known as PSC1 “Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations-Requirements with Guidance” finalised in 2012 (see

The International Code of Conduct For Private Security Providers (ICOC) Association

The establishment of the International Code of Conduct Association in September 2013 laid the foundations for the second requirement of the Code. SCEG members played a constructive and influential role in the development of the Articles of Association and SCEG holds observer status within the Association. The Association is the governance and accountability for the Code and aims not only to oversee its implementation but also to promote the responsible provision of security services and raise industry standards across the globe.  As a multi-stakeholder initiative the Association is governed jointly by its three main stakeholder groups: governments, private security companies and civil society organisations, each of whom has equal representation on a 12-member Board of Directors.

The core functions of the Association are threefold: certification, monitoring and handling complaints. Under certification member companies will need to demonstrate that systems and policies meet the Code’s principles and the standards derived from the Code. Through established human rights methodologies the Association will monitor member companies operations to ensure that these comply with the Code. Member companies will be expected to manage an accessible, fair and effective complaints process whereby persons who claim to be aggrieved by alleged violations of the Code can seek redress.

SCEG has been very supportive of the Association and 2 out of the 4 industry board members are SCEG members. SCEG will continue to remain fully engaged with the Association to encourage others to develop coherent transparent affordable standards and oversight mechanisms.

The ICOC Association is establishing its procedures and firm requirements for membership and may well approve its first members who have achieved approved accredited certification to include, for example,  PSC1/ISO 18788 and ISO PAS 28007/ISO 28007 during the course of 2015