Private security estimates
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Notes on the data
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This spreadsheet contains estimates of the number of private security workers and police officers in 81 countries.
Details and links to sources are included in the tab named "sources"

It is important to note that these figures are estimates and some of the underlying data is more / less up to date.

For 20 countries, the primary source of data is 2011 research by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

For countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, a 2012 report published by the Organisation for American States provided additional estimates.

For countries in Europe, figures on private security come from Confederation of European Security Services research for 2013-15. Numbers of police officers come from Eurostat.

For a small number of countries, including the UK and US, some estimates come directly from national-level agencies.

In a small number of cases, we've included ranges for estimates of private security workers or police officers, where sources differed notably.

Population figures used are UN estimates for 2015.
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Overall the data suggest police officers are outnumbered by private security workers in 44-46 of the 81 countries for which estimates were available.

These countries are home to more than half of the world's total 7.5 billion people.

True figures are likely higher, as there are dozens of countries not currenlty in this dataset, and underlying data on private security may not be comprehensive (eg it may not always cover unregistered guards).

There are few if any estimates of informal or "black market" private security, despite research to suggest this is also a vast industry in some places.
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Notes
Where do private security outnumber police?
Sources