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Private security law will drive growth in sector

Private security guards
Private security guards. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Private Security Regulation Act, 2016 that came into force on June 3, 2016 has introduced long awaited and much needed standards in the private security industry.

The Private Security Regulatory Authority, a creation of the Act, is mandated with ensuring compliance to the set standards and by so doing will protect the public against increasing security risks.

The new law makes it mandatory for every private security service provider, whether an individual or a firm, to register with the authority. An individual security guard shall only be eligible for registration as an individual private security provider if, amongst other qualifications, he holds at least a primary school certificate, has attended training in security matters in an institution accredited by the Authority and submits a certificate of good conduct issued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation.

This law introduces qualifications in a field that has for ages been left in the hands of private security firms without proper legal guidance. While some security firms had internal standards that saw to it that their security guards acquired training on entry and subsequent trainings on a periodic basis; a majority of the security firms did not put any investment into trainings thereby exposing the general public to untold security risks. It is surprising that a sensitive area such as security has been left in the hands of private individuals without proper regulation for this long.

The Private Security (General) Regulations, 2019 have now undergone the public participation stage and should, if passed into law, provide general rules that will help enforce the private security law.

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Regulation 19 provides that every person employed as a private security provider must have a valid certificate of security training issued by the Authority and must undergo annual mandatory security training and annual mandatory security training assessment at an institution licensed by the Authority.

The annual mandatory training is expected to keep the private security service providers abreast of evolving security risks and advancement in technology.

The mandatory training will also increase knowledge and awareness of the industry by the employees. Alongside the training provisions, the authority will be expected to enforce the law on minimum wage as it affects private security guards.

Currently and in line with The Regulations of Wages (General) Amendment Order, 2018, a day watchman’s monthly salary stands at Sh13,572.90 and a night watchman’s monthly salary stands at Sh15,141.95 exclusive of housing allowance.

It is common knowledge that very few private security firms are currently adhering to these regulations due to increase in unemployment, ignorance of the employees and lack of enforcement.

With the increase in minimum standards, qualifications, professionalism and productivity, we can expect that costs in the industry will go up and be borne by private security firms and their customers.

Nonetheless, with proper implementation, the standards of service delivery in the industry will improve remarkably resulting in greater security in the country and thus managing the expected additional costs in the long run.

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