A new strategic approach to security exports

The UK security and resilience sector is mostly composed of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) but this certainly hasn’t hindered it from exporting across the globe. With nearly 40% of turnover due to exports, the sector has a naturally international mindset and the UK is now the world’s fourth largest exporter in this area, reaching £5.2bn of exports in 2018. However, to maintain this success government and the security sector must work in partnership to present the UK’s world-leading solutions to the right overseas markets.

In support of this objective, ADS and the wider UK Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers’ Community (RISC) have worked closely with the Department for International Trade’s Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO) on the development and implementation of the 2019 Security Export Strategy, which was released last week. Providing a new framework for the support that government provides to exporters, the strategy will help to ensure that the security and resilience sector continues its year-on-year growth of security exports.

Building on the government’s wider 2018 Export Strategy, the strategy sets out how the government will encourage companies to export; provide information on selling overseas; connect firms with potential buyers; and ensure that sufficient finance is available where necessary. Industry will particularly welcome the government’s focus on developing concrete campaigns and offers to attract foreign buyers, including the creation of bespoke capability packages for large international projects. The renewed commitment to a whole-of-government approach, embedding security exports across UK policy development and leveraging cross-departmental expertise for identifying export potential, will also be warmly received by industry.

Alongside this the strategy heralds new investment in developing the government’s commercial sector knowledge and priority markets analysis, to be supported in due course by capability specialists from the private sector (for further information on this opportunity please contact RISC). The global security market is projected to reach £150bn by 2022 and shows no signs of slowing down, so the better informed the government and security sector are about the available opportunities the greater the chance this sector can build on and beat its 95% growth in exports between 2012 and 2018.

From perimeter fencing to data intelligence to baggage screening, the UK security and resilience sector makes a major contribution to protecting citizens at home, online and abroad. The 2019 Security Export Strategy is an important step forwards in setting out how government can support the sector to reach a global audience, share British expertise on handling complex threats and saving lives, and contribute to national prosperity.

ADS’s press release on the 2019 Security Export Strategy can be found here.