Companies fault proposal to arm security guards

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 11:00 |
PSIA chairman Cosmas Mutava (left) with Private Security Training Academy director Annette Kimitei (centre) and SENECA International Group chair John Kipkorir during a roundtable with editors in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/BERNARD MALONZA

Proprietors of private security firms yesterday protested the proposed changes in the management, training and arming of security guards scheduled to come into force in January.

Among other issues that private firms want to be urgently addressed, is the amendment of the current law to allow guards use firearms in their possession while discharging their duties and reduction of the punitive Value Added Tax (VAT) regime.

Under the aegis of the Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA), they described the laws as too  punitive and aimed at driving them out of business.

The proposals are fronted by the government though the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA). 

PSIA chairman Cosmas Mutava wants the State and Parliament to rethink the Security Industry Regulation Bill and as a matter of necessity make drastic amendments to accommodate concerns of the key players.

Top on the list of what  PSIA wants addressed is the requirement that security firms comply with the new regulations by January next year, a period that Mutava says is too short for  member companies to train guards.

“We are talking about 500,000 security guards in the country, and the six-month window that started from June and ends in January is not adequate for that high number of guards to have gone through an effective training programme.

The government must reconsider extending this period,” Mutava told media round table in Nairobi.

The new law requires that by 2020, only persons certified by licenced training institutions be employed as guards. 

Effective training

PSIA wants guards to cater for their own training while PSRA accredits training certificates.

PSRA says minimum wages be pegged at Sh34,000 a month  while PSIA wants the government to categorise private security guards into four clusters, with Category A covering high risk areas and expensive installations while category  B caters for lesser risk areas. 

Category C would then cover medium class clients within major towns covering institutions such as schools, churches and residential quarters while Category D would comprise firms covering villages.

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