Securitas (Swiss security company)
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|Services||Security services (security guarding and mobile patrolling), monitoring, consulting and investigation|
Securitas AG is a Swiss family company providing security services with head office in Zollikofen, regional offices in Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Olten, St. Gallen, Thun and Zürich as well as 25 other branches all over Switzerland.
- Individual patrols
- Area patrols
- Building-site guarding
- Holiday guarding
- Event security
- Traffic services
- Intervention and control center services
- Law enforcement
- Object and valuables protection
- Prisoner transports
From Foundation to World War I
Based on the insolvent company of the same name, Bernese Advocate and Colonel Jakob Spreng founded Securitas AG in 1907. At first struggling with resistance on the part of the police fearing a potential threat to its sovereign territory, Securitas gains trust through good performance. First major customer are the Swiss Federal Railways with a considerable guarding contract for railway stations in major Swiss cities, followed by public occasions like the "Eidgenössisches Schützenfest", a Federal shooting match, in Bern in 1910, where Securitas forms a detachment with the local fire-brigade and police forces.
With the Schweizerische Landesausstellung, the Swiss National Exhibition in 1914 in Bern, the company awards its most considerable contract at the time: 200 guards guarantee for area surveillance and access control. Despite the outbreak of World War I with its respective loss of manpower due to general conscripion, Securitas AG is now established throughout Switzerland. In the years 1917 and 1919, contracts with the organisers of the Swiss trade fair in Basel and the Comptoir in Lausanne follow. These institutions count to the company’s regular customers until today. On. November 27, 1917, Jakob Spreng dies age 54, and his successor Alfred Geiser enters upon the office as General Manager.
It is at this time, when the authorities first notice the services of Securitas AG. In 1919 then, the company is assigned for security duty on Swiss food deliveries to war-damaged eastern states.
Even on the sector of social welfare, the company proves itself as a public-minded employer. In 1907 already, eleven years before the foundation of the Swiss public sector insurer Suva, an accident insurance is introduced. From 1918, health insurance as well as widow’s and orphan’s pension follow. 1925, a staff pension fund is established, and in 1934 all employees enter the unemployment insurance.
The "horrible Thirties"
After the untimely death of General Manager Alfred Geiser in 1928, Jakob Spreng junior takes over the leadership of the Securitas AG. The Great Depression, ignited by the Wall Street Crash in 1929 doesn’t leave Securitas AG unscathed. The company puts in great efforts not to lose private or corporate contracts due to austerity measures. It is in these times though, that Securitas gains reputation: The newly founded League of Nations employs Securitas AG as security service in its headquarters, the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where the guards protect delegates, show visitors around, monitor entrances and inspect journalists.
From World War II to the 1950s
In 1939, guarding contracts follow at the ice hockey world championships in Zürich and Basel as well as the National Exhibition in Zürich. The outbreak of World War II demanded flexibility: due to the rising counts of break-ins and thefts during the black-out, patrol areas see a rise in staff and patrol frequencies are heightened. To bypass staff shortages due to general conscription, the guards' wives took over their husbands' nightly rounds. During the so-called "Anbauschlacht" or "cultivation battle" to insure the nation's food supplies, the company was assigned a plot of land above Cademario in Ticino, where potatoes were cultivated.
In 1943, the first collective labour agreement was conceived between the trade-union VHTL and Securitas AG. That same year, an internal compensation fund was established, which pays child benefits until they are established by law.
In 1948, the affiliate Securiton AG was founded. The company produces alarm systems of the same name for windows, doors, safes and "specially prepared window and display case panes".
During the soccer World Championships in 1954, Securitas was present in large numbers along with military and police forces. Even at the so-called "Miracle of Bern", where Germany became world champion against its adversary Hungary, Securitas guards were on duty at the press center and other special access points.
On November 18, 1958, Jakob Spreng junior died at age 65 and his son Manuel Spreng became General Manager.
For service efficiency reasons in the constantly growing patrol areas, Securitas acquired appropriate means of transportation. In 1959, the first actual service car, a Citroen, was purchased. During the 1950s, the nationwide distribution of security systems demanded more and more on-site interventions.
From the "wild Sixties" to the new millennium
In 1963, Securitas Express AG was founded, which specialized in money and valuables transports. In 1964, the National Exhibition EXPO in Lausanne took place, where 300 male and as a milestone in company history also female employees provided security services in brand new uniforms. It is because of these new uniforms that the Securitas hostesses are called "Les anges bleus" – the "blue angels".
In the 1960s, Swiss Federal councillor Moritz Leuenberger temporarily worked as a Securitas guard.
In addition to a busy Bee Gees concert in February 1968, the Interessengemeinschaft Telekommunikation und Systeme TUS was founded; a project of Securitas and the Cerberus company with the business objective of realizing a reliable telecommunications system for alarm and status signals.
Based on the telecommunications system TUS35, Securitas established the first control center in Basel "as nerve center of the new alarm network" in 1969. This control center allows numerous signals to be received differentiated and to be forwarded to the appropriate stations.
Early in the 1970s, Securitas launched a nationwide poster campaign to call attention to itself. At the Rolling Stones concert in Bern in 1972, Securitas guards around the stage and at the emergency exits were wearing specially-made T-shirts, because the organisers wished no uniformed guards inside the concert hall. That same year, the business division money and valuables transports were sold to the internationally established MAT Transport AG. Although Securitas still offers escort duties, the company has ceased doing money and valuables transports.
For security and efficiency reasons, the management decided to create a private radio network in 1977. Two years later, Securitas owned the largest private radio network in Europe at the time.
The 1980s were characterized by official visits like the Queen Elizabeth II of Britain or the Pope John Paul II. Further, personal and object security specialists became responsible for all security measures concerning the Swiss embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut. In 1989, one of the guard’s main tools, the control watch, was replaced by an electronic reading device, which allowed for much easier data analysis.
During the 1990s, quality management and improvement faced important changes. Securitas AG was certified by quality management norm ISO 9001 and introduced an intern diploma in 1993, which acted as a model for the Federal diploma for security specialists.
In 1996, Samuel Spreng was appointed as General Manager by the board of directors and took over the operational leadership of the Securitas Group on January 1, 1997. His brother Manuel presided the board of directors until his demise on February 9, 1999.
The 21st century
At the 6th Swiss National Exhibition Expo.02 in 2002, Securitas not only took part by means of services, but as an official partner and sponsor. In that year the uniforms as well as the corporate identity of the company were refurbished and modernized.
In 2003, according to the Swiss television TSR1, Securitas sent an agent to spy on the activist organization ATTAC. It lasted more than one year and was probably done for one of the largest multinational in Switzerland, Nestlé.
In 2007, Securitas AG celebrated its centenary.