Columnists

How security law can spur growth of professional sector

guard

Security firms are known to charge clients a premium but pay their guards a pittance. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Private Security Regulations under the Private Security Regulation Act of 2016 could be out within the next two months paving the way for the operationalization of the Act and the Authority. This would give the industry about six months to comply once the regulations are gazetted. Mr. Fazul Mahamed, the Authority’s CEO, announced this in a recent industry meeting that focused on how the new regulatory regime would impact once application begun.

Priority will be the registration required for licensing and compliance for all private security providers. While the Act already provides some requirements, it became clear during the recent meeting there will be more requirements for registration and compliance in the new regulations.

There will be a six-month period to allow the industry to comply, there after all individuals and companies not registered would be prohibited from practice as is stipulated in the Act. For the industry key will be the need to get rid of quacks, tackle the undercutting and undermining practice, push for payment of invoices especially by government bodies and a need to segment the industry.

There was also the request to look at the taxation regime for the industry, that is seen to provide an aspect of public service as well as the need to train the right people for the right jobs.

The issue of wages paid has remained a pertinent issue in the industry. There are calls to set a basic pay for all at the recommended minimum wage. The industry employees were represented by Kenya National Private Security Workers’ Union, who noted that security officers working at certain government agencies are paid less than the minimum wage in clear violation of laws.

There are also calls to provide certified training and provide pay slips. Security firms are known to charge clients a premium but pay their guards a pittance. This has seen a lot of disgruntled in the industry with recommendations made for the Authority to reprimand them.

It is key to address these issues to raise industry standards including the basic entry requirements, training and certification of the manpower.

The entire workforce, both corporate and manpower would have to undergo basic training prior to registration. The Authority would set a standard curriculum from a consultative process with relevant government agencies and industry.

It will then train all trainers on the new curriculum who would go on to train the workforce in their companies. All employees would then be assessed by the Authority in a standard test and certificates issued.

The issue of providing firearms has taken a progressive approach with only the cash in transit, VIP Protection and Security of critical commercial premises being under private security allowed to have armed protection.

The idea of having every guard with a gun is a misrepresentation of the idea which would see a multi-agency approach and framework for deployment.

A comparative study with the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) was made in reference to an industry whose regulation was previously under various government departments but has now come under an umbrella body.

NKAARI MARTIN, Director, The Security Academy.