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The security implications of the cost-of-living crisis: A convergence of catastrophes

Updated: Apr 19

Millions falling behind on bill payments as cost of living crisis mounts
Credit: The Independent

To quote Ed Stark, 'Winter is coming'. This quote from the hugely popular Game of Thrones series, both foretells the passage of seasons and signifies the coming of a much more ominous event. In Season 1 Episode 3 "Lord Snow", Ed tells his daughter Arya Stark that he believes winter is coming for Westeros. He warns her that things are going to get worse before they get better. Fortunately, we don't have to contend with the threat of screaming Dothraki, White Walkers or the army of the dead, however, the dark clouds on the horizon are harbingers of a different type of doom.

The cost-of-living crisis following in the wake of the COVID pandemic has resulted in a convergence of catastrophes, the ultimate impact of which is hard to determine. Unremitting media reporting would suggest that a perfect storm is nearly upon us.

The Cost of Living Crisis

In this age of information saturation, it is often difficult to determine what is real and what is the creation of imaginative overzealous reporting. I can't help feeling a certain numbness when faced with the emergence of yet another crisis. My sense of invincibility strengthened by the fact I have lived (or living) through, the obesity crisis, demographic crisis, environmental crisis, policing crisis, trucking crisis, fuel crisis, Brexit crisis, the list goes on.

"When we are alarmed with imaginary dangers in respect of the public, till the cry grows quite stale and threadbare, how can it be expected we should know when to guard ourselves against real ones?". Samuel Croxall 1690 – 1752 (Translator Aesop's Fables).

This crisis feels different. There is a feeling of both resigned acceptances tempered with a bubbling undercurrent of anger. Recent protests against the rapidly rising cost of fuel and food have ignited across the globe, Sri Lanka, Holland, Ecuador, Argentina, street protests in Tel Aviv and Beersheba.

There is a tendency in the UK to believe we are insulated against the worst extremes of mob rule and therefore exempt from the civil unrest characteristic of less 'civilised' countries. To believe such is to delude oneself. I remember the Poll tax riots of 1990. I was there in 2011 during the London riots when the Sony distribution centre was set on fire , (although I must hastily add I wasn’t one of the looters - my office was opposite)! Desperation pushes those on the periphery of society to extremes.

Impact on the Security Industry

The convergence of multiple societal pressures will have a direct impact on the security industry and wider society over the next few years, as low paid operatives struggle, and companies face greater difficulties in attracting staff. Industry challenges are just one end of the spectrum, the other being the increase in anti-social behaviour, criminality and civil disobedience. Attacks on property often represent the first salvo by anarchist groups or legitimate protestors venting anger and frustration. Vandalism, theft and property occupation increase in frequency.

In light of recent events across the world it is important for organisations to identify potential risks and develop robust mitigation strategies, particularly if their operations or personnel could be adversely impacted. Identifying risk and formulating effective mitigating controls are often the result of collaboration between an organisation's risk management team, operational staff and external professionals.

Effective mitigation strategies include:

  • Establishing clear risk priorities and identifying the most likely threats to your property assets

  • Analysing the operational capabilities of potential adversaries

  • Developing incident response plans that includes key personnel, communication channels and coordination mechanisms

  • Implementing security measures such as perimeter protection, CCTV surveillance and access control

  • Initiating site hardening measures (especially for void property assets)


The approaching storm may in the end be nothing more than a passing squall, however prevention through careful preparation is always the most cost-efficient strategy.

At Propertysec we understand the increasing importance of an intelligence-based approach to asset protection. Our focus has always been on the protection of property, from prestigious landmark buildings to abandoned sites.

We are fortunate to have some of the most experienced security professionals in the industry within our ranks, specialists in their fields, from risk management, manpower to technology. It is this depth of knowledge that enables us to create a safe harbour for our clients, equipping them with the tools to shelter from the worst to come.

Propertysec are specialists in the protection of property. For more information on our range of services or to find out how we can help you please email us at or call to our helpline 0330 043 6409


About the Author: Justin Quigley, is a recognised security expert in the protection of property through the introduction and deployment of technical and non-technical security measures, including CCTV towers, video verification systems, fencing, perimeter protection technology, hostile vehicle barriers, alarms and analytical camera systems. He is a prolific writer on the subject of crime prevention, security technology and void property security.

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