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Web Alert: Oceans Beyond Piracy publish Handbook on the Use of Force for Private Security Companies

07 October 2016

Oceans Beyond Piracy have recently published a Handbook on the Use of Force for Private Security Companies (‘the Handbook'), written by Phillip Drew and Rob McLaughlin.

The Handbook is modelled on the SanRemo Handbook on the Rules of Engagement, of which the principal authors are also co-authors, and was developed through cooperation with experts from governments, international organisations, NGOs, the private security industry and academia.

The Handbook is not a legal document and so does not provide legal advice, but has been developed to ‘assist the private security industry in creating realistic and useable policies for the use of force across the spectrum of operations that a Private Security Company might expect to encounter in the provision of services to clients, be they Governments, International Organisations, NGOs, private corporations or individuals.’ As such, it ‘aims to provide a model set of rules that can provide clear and concise guidance on the circumstances and degree of force that may be used to protect persons and property.’

The Handbook covers: 

  • Creating a Use of Force Policy;
  • Guidance for Use of Force Policies for Contracted Tasks;
  • General principles of the Use of Force;
  • General principles of self-defence;
  • Use of Force for tasks that do not fall within the bounds of individual self-defence and the defence of others;
  • Private security companies operations in the land environment;
  • The reporting and recording of incidents; and
  • Private security companies protecting commercial maritime vessels and their crews.

From a maritime perspective, the chapter that focuses on private security in the maritime domain looks at:

  • The legal jurisdiction in the maritime zones recognised under international law;
  • The command and control of a vessel;
  • Apprehending persons at sea; and
  • Restraining people for removal from a vessel.


For more information, please contact the authors of this article or your usual Club contact.