Security guards: Arming private guards will boost overall security
The new rules allowing the arming of security guards is welcome as it is bound to improve general security. It is an invitation to the private sector to lend a hand in the fight against crime.
It is a timely signal of desperate measures needed in desperate times to forestall the takeover of societies by criminal networks.
Yet a realistic response to the changes in the nature of crime and insecurity calls for new insight into crime and to prevention.
Modern crime is a sophisticated affair beyond the obvious house-breaking, purse -snatching or bank-robbing perpetrated by knife-brandishing and gun-wielding gangsters.
Fraud, corruption, money-laundering, drug and human trafficking have taken over the world over. Such crimes are perpetrated by IT-savvy thieves, who plan their missions meticulously and disorganise security enforcers.
Franklin Foer in his book World without Mind; The Existential Threat of Big Tech noted that the threat is the supercharged, super-angry and technology super-empowered youth sitting in a cybercafé or a room in the slum with only a laptop and internet connection and requires only a grievance to execute his mission.
Security experts know how often governments lag behind the criminals. For instance, in the 1990s the US remained focused on military conquest of Al Qaeda while the terror groups had since mutated from bomb-detonating rag-tag armies into tech-enabled online fundraisers, recruiter and money launderers.
Closer home, the Akashas’ case shows the drug kingpins had links with Palestinian terrorist groups since the 1980s. They had incredible capacity to kidnap top security personnel kill or bribe whistleblowers and silence governments, evade arrest for years. It has taken concerted international efforts to stop them.
Crime has high capacity for reconfiguration to resurface elsewhere as terrorism at which stage it requires regional and global multidisciplinary containment effort.
In the same token, crime prevention is no longer the mere physical presence of uniformed and armed police and military patrols. It must incorporate soft power required at cybercafé and online, telephone exchange, reading the emails, deciphering money transactions and background search and verification.
Intelligence sharing will have to be scaled up to involve not only criminal investigators, private security guards authority, police and the military but also intelligence personnel in banks, Saccos, hotels, schools and critical places like Parliament, churches, mosques and entertainment joints.
It is therefore to miss a point to assume that the new armed security guard will be defined by the gun alone.
They will have expanded capacity to detect, report and prevent emergent crimes and will operate within a framework that recognises the multi-faceted nature of crime.
Such team work expands intelligence sharing, and increases insight into criminal world to match the dynamism of criminals, fraudsters and drug traffickers. —[email protected]