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Bill proposes tough rules to regulate security companies

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Training at Senaca Security Services. The cost of running security companies is set to go up if a new Bill is adopted and implemented. File

Training at Senaca Security Services. The cost of running security companies is set to go up if a new Bill is adopted and implemented. File 

By STEVE MBOGO

Posted  Tuesday, August 16  2011 at  00:00

The cost of running security companies is set to go up if a new Bill is adopted and implemented.

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Besides requiring security firms to improve the welfare of their employees, new proposed regulations also require the companies to pay an annual fee to a common industry fund, a move that could push unprofessional practitioners out of business.

The annual levy, to be decided by the regulatory authority once it is set up, will be paid into a common fund that will be used as insurance to compensate persons who incur losses as a result of misconduct by a private security services provider.

The fund is also to be used to co-ordinate and promote professionalism among the firms, like funding joint training seminars and exercises.

“The cost of running a security company will increase as compliance with the proposed law will have some cost implications,” said Mr Jack Muchira, the deputy managing director and corporate affairs director at G4S. The industry was, however, non-committal if they will pass the new cost to their clients.

“The devil is in the detail and we have to wait to see what kind of levy will be imposed,” said Mr Terry Downes, CEO of Senaca East Africa. But he said the proposed law “will create a proper baseline on quality standards for the industry.” In addition to the annual levy, companies will be required to train their guards in national and international law as part of mandatory basic training requirement and comply with all provisions of the law within two years of its being passed by Parliament.

Currently, security companies do not pay any mandatory annual fees. The closest some of them come to this is when they pay their membership fees to the two security sector associations that enforce self-regulation.

Others like Salama Fikira are signatory to the international code of conduct for private security companies that requires among others good training and correct insurance and pay for staff.

“This new governing body will mean customers will benefit from a better standard of security service across the board, and just as importantly have a method of redress should their provider not perform,” said Mr Rob Phayre, the general manager of Salama Fikira.

It is also not mandatory that they train their staff although some companies have been using training as a marketing leverage. Most security firms also pay the national minimum wage, meaning that they keep their operation costs at a bare minimum.

The Private Security Industry Regulation Bill is part of the government efforts to regulate private security industry that has operated on its own leading to unfair business practices most prominent being underpayment of staff.

smbogo@ke.nationmedia.com