Understanding Public Safety

Understanding Public Safety

Public safety is a vital component of everyday life, and although many people do not necessarily equate public safety with everyday living needs, these are the jobs that society depends on to keep functioning and operating, both in a time of crisis as well as on a normal basis. The recent pandemic highlighted that many people don’t really understand public safety and that it was the requirement of street level safety marshals and policing the pandemic that many of us became aware of the public safety personnel that perform such essential tasks in our society.

Public safety is changing, and the standards and requirements have improved dramatically. Cyber-crime and climate change are now included, and it is a field that should mirror the current state and needs of society. This article will highlight some of these changes to public safety thinking and practice and then detail the jobs and opportunities that are now becoming available in the sector.

What is Public Safety

Public safety is about protecting people from crimes, disasters, dangers, and threats. There is no definite way to precisely determine when or how a disaster will occur and what the resultant damage will be, and as such, the aim of public safety is to be as prepared as possible and to then deal with the resultant fall-out and any ill-effects on communities and society at large.

In the USA, this work and response to emergencies and threatening situations is the sole preserve of specific national departments, while in Canada, one specific department (Public Safety Canada) was founded in 2003 to deal with the entire basket of public safety issues. From being able to investigate murders and crime mysteries to protecting the public and supporting them after disasters to managing national borders and security. More recently, it has been further widened to include economic threats.  It is a wide range of responsibilities and requires the integration, communication, and closely networked systems to be forged between a host of actors and functionaries. It is also a multi-country responsibility as shared border crossings, and immigration require a shared understanding of the requirements for entry.

How Public safety can be improved and maintained

The first thing to be done to improve public safety is to have a clear understanding of all the aspects of public life and current day society that is regarded as public safety and essential for appropriate human development. Furthermore, communication is key to improved public safety, both from the public (reporting incidents and events) and to the public, in the form of warnings and advice from the relevant agencies.

There has also been the professionalization and civilianization of the sector, and the former is carried out by improving the required qualifications and headhunting the best qualified to work in the sector.

A great example being the innovative master of public safety that can now be done online at mainstream institutions. The latter is done by involving normal citizen volunteers in the implementation and monitoring of public safety.

It is a sector that has been given prominence in Canada, and as such, there is current growth and opportunity for employment as well as start-ups related to the improvement and widening of public safety as a concept.

The jobs that are essential in the sector

Computer security

Computer security has only recently been seen as a public safety issue. This is primarily based on the fact that computer usage has peaked and is now used by a great number of people for many things. From shopping to payments and banking as well as entire jobs being done and conducted on the internet, the internet is a hub of sensitive activity. This widespread use has led to the increase in cybercrime, and as such, Public Safety Canada now leads on the policy and implementation thereof for cyber security in the country. The center for cyber security or cyber center provides advice and support around cyber security for government, businesses, the private sector, and individuals across the country.  This has resulted in a plethora of jobs and opportunities in the cyber security field. Many of these are currently with the two aforementioned national bodies, and the demand for service increases, but there are also privacy concerns that have blossomed and are growing to meet this demand.


Working in community corrections or with the prison service are critical public safety jobs and go a long way to improving society as a whole. These jobs in public safety have increased dramatically as a preferred means of changing behavior at the community level rather than incarceration and punishment. The need for youth workers, administrators, and activity leaders for this sector have increased, and although not seen as the mainstream of public safety, it is a niche often overlooked yet intrinsic to a holistic public safety initiative.

Customs and border control

Protecting our borders and ensuring that customs regulations are taken seriously is one of the main public safety concerns that have come to the fore in recent times. The movement of people and freedom to travel is maintained whilst ensuring public safety by restricting access to those who are a threat. These are jobs that, although regarded as being in law enforcement, are somewhat off the front line and provide for a long-term opportunity with growth and development chances.

Law enforcement

Police officers, security, and detectives are absolutely essential for the provision of a safe and secure environment for society. The type and range of jobs are wide and varied and have begun to see a resurgence on the level of wages as increased importance is given to public safety at this level.

First responders

Whether it is fire, floods, or first aid, those who work as first responders are essential to the public safety environment. These jobs are currently in demand, and young people are encouraged to enter this sector as a profession. They are jobs for life and will provide the greatest sense of fulfillment from work in terms of those mentioned in this article.


These are jobs that have not necessarily been at the top of the list in the past. However, with the importance being placed on public safety and how Canada has prioritized such safety, the jobs mentioned herein have begun to trend and are expected to continue to do so. Canada has been at the forefront of public safety, and there is now a specific sector and term; public sector personnel (PSP) which shows the level to which this sector is growing and forms an intrinsic component of Canadian society.