What is a Profession?

A profession is defined by the distinct nature of the services it provides. The ACSP accepts the Australian Council of Professionals definition of a profession as:

a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to high ethical standards and uphold themselves to, and are accepted by, the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised, organised body of learning derived from education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to exercise this knowledge and these skills in the interest of others.

Applying this definition the Security Profession consists of professionals in government, the private sector, academia and the NGO community who provide the services that are needed by society – government, business and the community at large – to be and to feel free from danger or threat. This covers the range of services in relation to developing, implementing, practicing or advising on security policy, management and design. This Profession is recognised as a distinct managerial and technical discipline with its own body of knowledge, research and application of expertise. It is also recognised that the Profession should be held to same standards as other managerial advisors with specific reference to management, governance, planning and application of security as a managerial discipline.

‘Professionalising’ the Security Profession

A central defining concept for any profession is service to the community or the public interest. The Security Profession clearly acts at the heart of public interest, security being the state of being free from danger or threat, or the totality of the management, design and operational measures implemented to provide such freedom. A key additional element of any definition of security is perception – security as the state of feeling safe, or feeling free from danger or threat.

Besides this, all professions have several high-level elements, or processes of ‘professionalization’, in common. For the ACSP and the SPR-A ‘professionalization’ of the profession consists of several elements:

* Entry processes for practitioners

* Education through application of a competency framework

* Ethics and discipline through application of a code of conduct and application of a ‘fit and proper’ test at entry

* Professional development

* A college of peers by which properly informed definition of the profession and its professional needs are possible.