Playing safer

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Public spending on security and military operations has been raised significantly in the United States and, to a lesser extent, in other OECD countries, to combat terrorism since the events of 11 September 2001.

Total US public spending on defence and the police is expected to rise to 3.4% of GDP in 2002 from 3.1% in both 2000 and 2001. The increase is focused on defence, rising to 3.3% of GDP from 3.0%, with police spending stable at 0.1% of GDP. But some other countries have increased their police budgets, with Italian police spending set to rise to 1.6% of GDP in 2002 from 1.5% in 2001, while in Britain police spending rose to 0.9% of GDP for 2001 and 2002 from 0.8% in 2000. Some countries have not increased security-related spending as such, but have diverted resources from existing budgets to improve preparedness and finance counter-terrorism actions. Germany, for example, has approved an anti-terrorism package equivalent to 0.1% of GDP. French total defence and police spending however was set to fall slightly to 2.8% in 2002 from 2.9% in 2001, with police spending unchanged at 0.3% and defence spending falling to 2.5% from 2.6%. Private sector spending on security is also likely to be on the rise, to improve the security of premises, employees, and information. Limited data are available in this area, but one recent estimate put it at US$40 billion. Nearly half of the total goes on security guards and other protective service employees. But the medium-term impact of a sharp increase in private security spending on the economy is generally gauged to be small.

©OECD Observer No 231/232, May 2002




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