Background/ Concept Note: Basic Social and Human Safety and Security Intelligence Skills & Reporting Training Course

Abstract: Understanding the nuances that social and human environments can constitute is an important consideration that can promote the safety and general wellbeing of people. 


It is generally held that weakness in security creates increased risk, which in turn creates a decrease in safety, so safety and security are directly proportional, but are both inversely proportional to risk and should be properly understood.

Merriam-Webster’s primary definition of safety is “the condition of being free from harm or risk,” which is essentially the same as the primary definition of security, which is “the quality or state of being free from danger.” However, there is another definition for security; that is, “measures taken to guard against espionage or sabotage, crime, attack or escape,” and this is generally the definition we are using when we refer to industrial security. Using these definitions, we can better understand the relationship between safety and security (

There are many views on intelligence as well. However, in its simplest sense, it involves the ability to adapt to one’s environment and the capacity to learn from experience. Charles Spearman concluded that there was a common function across intellectual activities about this, including what he called “g” or general intelligence.

In the United States, a basic (if incomplete) definition of national security intelligence is the “knowledge and foreknowledge of the world around us—the prelude to Presidential decision and action” (Central Intelligence Agency 1991, 13). This definition points to intelligence as a matter of “situational awareness,” that is, understanding events and conditions throughout the world faced by policymakers, diplomats, and military commanders. In this vein, when people speak of “intelligence” they are usually referring to information—tangible data about personalities and events around the globe. This information is communicated by intelligence officers to policymakers in the form of oral briefings, memoranda, and more formal reports, either short or long, all focused on bringing a leader up-to-date on current events or investing the policymaker with a more in-depth comprehension of a topic based on exhaustive research.


Human security is a human right; it refers to the security of people and communities, as opposed to the security of states. Human security recognizes that there are several dimensions related to feeling safe, such as freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom from indignity.

Human security is a paradigm for understanding global vulnerabilities whose proponents challenge the traditional notion of national security through military security by arguing that the proper referent for security should be at the human rather than national level. Human security reveals a people-centered and multi-disciplinary understanding of security which involves a number of research fields, including development studiesinternational relations, strategic studies, and human rights. The United Nations Development Programme‘s 1994 Human Development Report is considered a milestone publication in the field of human security, with its argument that insuring “freedom from want” and “freedom from fear” for all persons is the best path to tackle the problem of global insecurity (

In the UNDP’s 1994 Human Development Report, Mahbub ul Haq first drew global attention to the concept of human security and sought to influence the UN’s 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen. The UNDP’s 1994 Human Development Report‘s definition of human security argues that the scope of global security should be expanded to include threats in seven areas:

Economic security – Economic security requires an assured basic income for individuals, usually from productive and remunerative work or, as a last resort, from a publicly financed safety net. In this sense, only about a quarter of the world’s people are presently economically secure. While the economic security problem may be more serious in developing countries, concern also arises in developed countries as well. Unemployment problems constitute an important factor underlying political tensions and ethnic violence.

Food security – Food security requires that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to basic food. According to the United Nations, the overall availability of food is not a problem, rather the problem often is the poor distribution of food and a lack of purchasing power. In the past, food security problems have been dealt with at both national and global levels. However, their impacts are limited. According to the UN, the key is to tackle the problems relating to access to assets, work, and assured income (related to economic security).

Health security – Health security aims to guarantee minimum protection from diseases and unhealthy lifestyles. In developing countries, the major causes of death traditionally were infectious and parasitic diseases, whereas in industrialized countries, the major killers were diseases of the circulatory system. Today, lifestyle-related chronic diseases are leading killers worldwide, with 80 percent of deaths from chronic diseases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.[8] According to the United Nations, in both developing and industrial countries, threats to health security are usually greater for poor people in rural areas, particularly children. This is due to malnutrition and insufficient access to health services, clean water, and other basic necessities.

Environmental security – Environmental security aims to protect people from the short- and long-term ravages of nature, man-made threats in nature, and deterioration of the natural environment. In developing countries, lack of access to clean water resources is one of the greatest environmental threats. In industrial countries, one of the major threats is air pollutionGlobal warming, caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, is another environmental security issue.

Personal security – Personal security aims to protect people from physical violence, whether from the state or external states, from violent individuals and sub-state actors, from domestic abuse, or from predatory adults. For many people, the greatest source of anxiety is a crime, particularly violent crime.

Community security – Community security aims to protect people from the loss of traditional relationships and values and from sectarian and ethnic violence. Traditional communities, particularly minority ethnic groups are often threatened. About half of the world’s states have experienced some inter-ethnic strife. The United Nations declared 1993 the Year of Indigenous People to highlight the continuing vulnerability of the 300 million aboriginal people in 70 countries as they face a widening spiral of violence.

Political security – Political security is concerned with whether people live in a society that honors their basic human rights. According to a survey conducted by Amnesty Internationalpolitical repression, systematic torture, ill-treatment or disappearance was still practiced in 110 countries. Human rights violations are most frequent during periods of political unrest. Along with repressing individuals and groups, governments may try to exercise control over ideas and information.

Meeting the conditions above guarantees safety at all levels.

According to COURSERA also, security and safety challenges rank among the most pressing issues of modern times. Challenges such as cyber-crime, terrorism, and environmental disasters impact the lives of millions across the globe. These issues also rank high on the agenda of politicians, international organizations, and businesses. They also feature prominently in the public conscience and in governmental policies. In the current, interconnected world, security challenges are becoming increasingly complex. Facilitated by developments as globalization and the spread of networked and hyper-connected technologies, new safety and security challenges arise and impact individuals in local, national, regional, and international levels, which dramatically increases their complexity and scale. As such, solutions to contemporary security challenges require a wide array of actors operating on multiple levels of governance (

Together we will search for answers to important questions: what are security and safety? How can we understand complex modern-day security and safety challenges? And how do we deal with such challenges? This course combines scholarly inquiry from multiple disciplines with real-life cases to explore and understand complex modern-day safety and security challenges. Collecting intelligence to build up a detailed knowledge of threats to the individual, community, and country is at the heart of intelligence and safety debates.


The training workshop is premised on the understanding of:

(1) The contribution of private citizens to security and safety (Nigeria Police Force, (Amendment, Act 2020)).

(2) Legal provisions in additional sources (e.g., Penal and Criminal Codes; and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria)

(3) Government overtures and pronouncements in the face of current safety concerns and security challenges facing communities, schools, and places of worship targeted at individuals and property

(4) Global concerns on the safety of lives, especially of girls, children, and the vulnerable all over the world today

(5) The novelty in the introduction/emergence of disciplines focusing on security, safety, and emergency management

(6) The increasing need for citizen involvement is public safety, emergency assistance, and ecological/environmental disaster control

These are the ‘raw materials for the practical sessions during the training. According to the Catholic University of America, the three basic rules for personal safety are:

  1. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Give the impression that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.
  3. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t look or feel right, it might not be.


Theories are important building blocks for the understanding of social and physical objects/phenomena. The following are presented for their relevance in understanding safety, security, and intelligence.

  1. Self-Preservation Theory

Self-preservation is essentially the process of an organism preventing itself from being harmed or killed and is considered a basic instinct in most organisms. Most call it a “survival instinct”. Self-preservation is also thought by some to be the basis of rational and logical thought and behavior.

(i) From Social Psychology- Self-preservation instinct: According to APA Dictionary of Psychology:


The fundamental tendency of humans and nonhuman animals to behave so as to avoid injury and maximize chances of survival (e.g., by fleeing from dangerous situations or predators). In his early formulations of classic psychoanalytic theory, Sigmund Freud proposed that self-preservation was one of two instincts that motivated human behavior, the other being the sexual instinct. In his later formulations, he combined both instincts into the concept of Eros, or the life instinct, and opposed them to Thanatos, the death instinct. Also called self-preservative instinct; survival instinct.

(ii) From Sociology- Self-preservation and Sociology’s modern moral personality: Dual structure in Durkheim’s Suicide by Feiyu Sun

According to Durkheim, suicide means a conscious choice of death. The only opposite of death is being, and there is no middle ground in between. Therefore, when Durkheim discusses suicide, he certainly touches on the issue of living, or a choice of self-preservation, in a cryptical way, as well. This veiled discussion has been unacknowledged by Chinese mainland sociology because the widely adopted Chinese version of Durkheim’s Suicide loses most of the textual evidence of this clue in its translation. This paper offers a textual analysis of Durkheim’s Suicide based on that textual evidence. Durkheim treats different types of suicide as extreme forms of different types of morals, and, in many places, he asks under what kind of moral condition one can achieve self-preservation. This paper argues that there is an inner connection between Durkheim’s definitions of three types of suicide and his definition of sociology. As a social scientist who studies morality, he sees sociology as the expression of a particular modern morality, the same kind of moral condition that he calls for in his book. This paper shows that for Durkheim, this moral entity signifies for self-preservation both for the modern individual and for sociology.

  1. Rational Choice Theory

The rational choice theory explains social phenomena as outcomes of individual choices that can—in some way—be construed as rational. … Beliefs refer to perceived cause-effect relations, including the perceived likelihood with which an individual’s actions will result in different possible outcomes.

Rational choice theory refers to a set of guidelines that help understand economic and social behavior.[1] The theory originated in the eighteenth century and can be traced back to political economist and philosopher, Adam Smith. The theory postulates that an individual will perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether an option is right for them.[3] It also suggests that an individual’s self-driven rational actions will help better the overall economy. The rational choice theory looks at three concepts: rational actors, self-interest, and the invisible hand.

The basic premise of rational choice theory is that the decisions made by individual actors will collectively produce aggregate social behavior. The theory also assumes that individuals have preferences out of available choice alternatives. These preferences are assumed to be complete and transitive. Completeness refers to the individual being able to say which of the options they prefer (i.e., individual prefers A over B, B over A or are indifferent to both). Alternatively, transitivity is where the individual weakly prefers option A over B and weakly prefers option B over C, leading to the conclusion that the individual weakly prefers A over C. The rational agent will then perform their own cost-benefit analysis using a variety of criteria to perform their self-determined best choice of action.

Its Formal statement

The available alternatives are often expressed as a set of objects, for example, a set of j exhaustive and exclusive actions:

{\displaystyle A=\{a_{1},\ldots ,a_{i},\ldots ,a_{j}\}}For example, if a person can choose to vote for either Roger or Sara or to abstain, their set of possible alternatives is:

{\displaystyle A=\{{\text{Vote for Roger, Vote for Sara, Abstain}}\}}The theory makes two technical assumptions about individuals’ preferences over alternatives:

  • Completeness– for any two alternatives ai and aj in the set, either ai is preferred to aj, or aj is preferred to ai, or the individual is indifferent between ai and aj. In other words, all pairs of alternatives can be compared with each other.
  • Transitivity– if alternative a1 is preferred to a2, and alternative a2 is preferred to a3, then a1 is preferred to a3.

Together these two assumptions imply that given a set of exhaustive and exclusive actions to choose from, an individual can rank the elements of this set in terms of his preferences in an internally consistent way (the ranking constitutes a partial ordering), and the set has at least one maximal element.

The preference between two alternatives can be:

  • Strict preference occurs when an individual prefers a1 to a2 and does not view them as equally preferred.
  • Weak preference implies that an individual either strictly prefers a1 over a2 or is indifferent between them.
  • Indifferenceoccurs when an individual neither prefers a1 to a2, nor a2 to a1. Since (by completeness) the individual does not refuse a comparison, they must therefore be indifferent in this case.

Research that took off in the 1980s sought to develop models that drop these assumptions and argue that such behavior could still be rational, Anand (1993). This work, often conducted by economic theorists and analytical philosophers, suggests ultimately that the assumptions or axioms above are not completely general and might at best be regarded as approximations.


(a) Individuals. The training is a golden opportunity for persons seeking to:

  • Get employment/jobs in the safety and security industry
  • Improve their skills on their jobs
  • Be better citizens by analyzing safety and security threats observed
  • Document and report measures to improve the overall safety/security of the social environment

(b) Government/Corporate Organisations. The training course is important for:

  • Staff development and/or capacity building
  • Improved organizational, environmental security, and safety
  • Improved organizational productivity and profit value-addition
  • Better public image, confidence, and trust
  • Recruitment of new cadres of employees



Boudon, Raymond (August 2003). “Beyond Rational Choice Theory”. Annual Review of Sociology. 29 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100213ISSN 0360-0572.

Gary Browning, Abigail Halcli, Frank Webster (2000). Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present, London: SAGE Publications.

Levin, J. and Milgrom, P., 2004. Introduction to choice theory. Available from the internet: http://web. stanford. edu/~ jdlevin/Econ, 20202

Feiyu Sun, 2020. Self-preservation and sociology’s modern moral personality: Dual structure in Durkheim’s Suicide by Feiyu Sun First Published July 30, 2020

Excerpt from the Criminal Code Act.  Read more here

Embry-Riddle University Security, Intelligence and Safety:  Fields of Study 

Olujuwon, O. B (2018). Intelligence gathering: Strategy for the security of lives and property.

Unini (2019). Prohibited Weapons In Public Meetings And Assemblies In Nigeria. November 16, 2019.

Shivit, B (with Huma Haider) (2016). Safety, security, and justice, Topic Guide July 2016. Available at: University of Birmingham, UK

In defense of Masari’s call for self-defense By Jide Oluwajuyitan on September 2, 2021:

Fadipe (2018). Lawyers react as Nigeria police classify pepper spray as an offensive weapon. April 21, 2018 PREMIUM TIMES

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