Design and Violence



The business of security

G4S is the world’s largest private security company and provider of privatised security officers and security systems. Headquartered in England, they have operations in 125 countries and are one of the largest employers in the world. Their corporate identity is easy to spot in many global cities, with their logo used as a patch on uniforms, signage on buildings, and printed onto vehicles. Although most of their employees are not police or military, their uniforms, equipment and activities are intended to connote force and security. In the UK in 2012, the first police ‘hybrid uniform’ was produced, with the G4S logo appearing on the epaulettes of the Lincolnshire Police Force as the private firm took on operational duties within the ranks of public servants. While the proliferation of large-scale private enterprise may promise increased efficiency, critics raise concerns around the possible distorting effects of profit on public institutions such as police, border control or prisons.

Image courtesy of G4S (own work) via Wikimedia Commons