« A success story »
Securitas AG was founded in Berne in 1907. Since then this company has become an extensive family with many subsidiaries. The sustainable corporate strategy has proved itself, after all, only successful undertakings reach such an impressive age. Today, Securitas is Switzerland’s largest security service enterprise. The name Securitas is today a byword in Switzerland for private security. All over the country, thousands of employees are on duty, performing security assignments at crossroads, factory premises or sporting events on behalf of private individuals, companies and public authorities.
The name «Securitas» actually has its roots in Latin. Securitas was a Roman deity who personified the security of the Roman people. She was portrayed on coins from the Roman Empire, typically with the attributes of a rod, lance, cornucopia and palm branch. On the coins she was depicted either as a seated or standing figure, surrounded by the inscription «Securitas Imperium» on account of the fact that the Romans were convinced that the goddess would guarantee the safe continued existence of the empire. And, as we know today, she succeeded over a long period of time, bringing the almighty Roman Empire expansion on a previously unseen scale. With the decline of Roman mythology at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, the name slipped into obscurity, only reappearing in Switzerland at the beginning of the previous century, when the history of our company that continues successfully to the present day began.
Around 1900, the world was undergoing remarkable transformations in many areas. On the one hand, the industrial revolution had gradually left its mark everywhere and private businesses were beginning to furnish their industrial and retail facilities in ever more elaborate ways. As a consequence, there was a demand for capable private security organisations to complement the state and internal company security personnel. Moreover, global political uncertainty evoked a disturbing sense of tension, leading to social unrest. The decision for Securitas to commence operations was reached in Bern on 22 May 1907. Securitas arose from a company set up in Zurich two years earlier that had never really prospered and was close to liquidation. Jakob Spreng, the owner of a law office in Bern, created the essential conditions to give the restructured Swiss Guarding Company a fresh start and, as enthusiastic Chairman of the Board, helped it establish a sound foundation. It was on 1 August 1907 at Laupenstrasse 5 in Bern that the present Securitas AG commenced operations. In line with the times, the first employees wore uniforms closely resembling those of the military or the police. The service uniforms were already blue at that time, with a decorative whistle lanyard prominently displayed on the chest. On the belt, worn over the uniform jacket, a bayonet hung on the left side; the branch director even carried a sabre. Some 70 guards started work at that time; their pay was four francs and they were entitled to two nights off per month.
The first few years for Securitas were characterised by an enormous increase in employees. Securitas branches were opened all over Switzerland and employee numbers grew steadily. It soon succeeded in winning positions of trust. An important milestone was when Securitas was entrusted with the task of nightly guard duties by the SBB regional offices. In 1914, the company won its first major public event assignment in the form of services at the National Exhibition in Bern. The task was performed so well, that Securitas became established all over the country after just seven years. In the decades that followed, there was no holding the company back, and Securitas constantly expanded its range of services. The first trials to see whether the guarding services could be supported by means of automated alarm systems took place as long ago as 1924. These endeavours were continually intensified and, in 1948, the subsidiary Securiton was founded, specialising in alarm systems. In 1975, it was complemented by the acquisition of the fire protection company Contrafeu. Securitas was not slow to take advantage of motorised means of transport. Initially, employees were to be seen on mopeds, later on small motorcycles and finally and in 1959 in the first patrol car. Other technical aids were also finding their way into day-to-day work at Securitas. 1968 saw the opening of the first alarm centres, 1970 the introduction of the first radios and 1989 the first use of an electronic time monitoring device.
In the 1990s, the pressure on the security branch as a whole was also felt at Securitas. Many smaller companies sprouted up only to disappear again. Although the idea of running their own security company may have seemed an attractive proposition to many people, the pressure of turning it into a commercial success proved too much. In those days as today, unfortunately, their numbers have regularly included black sheep who have brought the industry into disrepute. As the market leader, Securitas responded by introducing professional training. In 2000, this led to the federal approval of the company training programme with certificate. In other areas too, Securitas could not afford to simply rest on its laurels. In order to maintain its leading financial position, a number of competitors have been taken over and new subsidiaries established since the 1990s.
Swiss Securitas Group
Today Securitas is an extensive family. The parent company has been joined by numerous subsidiaries, and the undertaking has also already taken root in adjoining countries. That is why we speak of the Swiss Securitas Group. Over 10'000 employees offer customers professional services and state-of-the-art security technology. Security from one hand, under this motto the Group is looking into a secure future.