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The Private Security Industry Regulation Act: Why Should You Care?

  • Posted by: Lloyd Gitonga

“Private security officers, as they are known today, are the front-line of our country’s defence. Before a police officer responds to a crisis, a private security officer is already there, protecting our citizens.”- President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It is an exciting time to be in the private security industry. For experienced firms such as Securex that have been household names in the game for 47 years, the regulation of the sector was long overdue. By now, we’re sure you’ve caught wind of the new Private Security Industry Regulation Act:

“On 18th May, we begun the journey that we have waited for since independence. As a Government, we are fast-tracking the implementation of the new law. I have already appointed a Chairman for the regulatory authority, Mr. Amos Ntimama, and I have nominated members of the Board of Directors as well.”- President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The bill sets out standards of operation for all private security service providers and outlines a framework for increased cooperation between state security organs and the private security sector. It also establishes the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, whose mandate will be to regulate the sector and prescribe and enforce standards of service offered by private security firms.

We’ve already shared why we are excited about the new legislation, but today let’s talk about why you should care. What does the new Act mean for you? How do you stand to benefit?

  • Participation of Private Security in National Security:

Under Section 45, players in the private security industry have been tasked with the duty to cooperate with state security organs whenever called upon by the Inspector General of Police. Think about that for a second; there are at least 400,000 private security officers in the country today according to industry estimates. For police, this means they could potentially have all these numbers at their disposal. There will more hands on deck andmore boots on the ground in times of crisis, working together to keep you safe. We welcome the opportunity to help out whenever and however we can. We’ve already been keeping you safe, even beyond our areas of assignment, but this would allow us to participate in the national discourse on state security when the need arises.

  • Intelligence-sharing:

The composition of the Board of the Private Security Industry Regulation Authority is pretty comprehensive. The Interior, Finance, and Labour Ministries, in addition to the national police force, the National Intelligence Service, and the private sector are all represented, but where do YOU come in?

If the residential estate where you live has a residents’ association, we suggest you go out and get yourself registered, which will allow you to participate in the conversation around national security through your association!

Citizens have always been one of law enforcement’s most reliable sources of intelligence, which has led to the capture of numerous criminals in society. Through the Act, you now have a direct link to those in charge of keeping you safe. By recognising these associations, the government has also legitimized them, meaning you also have an additional platform to raise any concerns that you have regarding your wellbeing.

  • Premium Security Services:

The latest industry estimates put the number of private security firms in the country at about 2,500. Owing to a lack of regulation in the past, the industry has been brought into disrepute by a number of unscrupulous firms that have been offering sub-standard service in the name of private security.

The Act, however, seeks to put a stop to this by requiring all firms to meet certain measures before being registered and licensed. Beyond this, the Authority will be expected to conduct regular and comprehensive quality assessment audits, both routine and random, to ascertain that security firms are meeting the standards.

For the average consumer, this means you will be going to bed confident that the security guard manning the gate to your residential estate is well trained and well versed on current crime trends in your locality, which helps them anticipate and counter crime.

  • Welfare:

“We now have a law that prescribes the remuneration for our officers. Any firms that are not adhering to this policy must be closed down with immediate effect. If there are any companies in this sector that are not willing to meet the minimum wage requirements, they should shut themselves down before we do.”-President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Prior to the inception of the Act, a few firms, such as ourselves, were self-regulated through the Kenya Security Industry Association. Currently, a large number of the 400,000 private security guards in the country are employed by firms that are not adherent to the minimum wage policy. This will soon no longer be an issue following a presidential directive issued during a meeting held between the President and the private security industry on 22nd December, 2016.

Looking after the welfare of over 400,000 Kenyan citizens means improving the quality of life of millions of Kenyans who depend on these private security guards for their upkeep. The Act will look to ensure better pay and working conditions for these everyday heroes.

  • Direct Link Between Police and Private Security:

While there are over 400,000 private security officers, there are approximately 88,000 officers employed by the state. The growth curve of the private security industry versus the police is certainly an interesting one to look at. There were as many private security officers in 2004 as there were police officers in 2014. Today, there are five private security officers for every police officer. The implementation of this Act will seek to harness these numbers to your benefit. By establishing a framework for cooperation between the industry and state security, the country will be able to bridge the gap between law enforcement and Kenya’s private citizens.

Manned Guarding

The current ratio of police officers to citizens is about 1:550, while the United Nations recommended standard is 1:400. Add private security officers to the mix however and you get much more favourable numbers. With additional resources at their disposal, the police can increase their reach and capacity, helping further secure your safety!

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