Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU) has dismissed claims in sections of the media that private guard intends to take over police jobs.
This follows adoption of the recent new regulations by the Government giving powers to private security guards to carry guns and arrest criminals.
The union Secretary General Isaac Andabwa said there was a wide spread misrepresentation of facts on use of guns by the security guard by the media.
According to Andabwa the arming of selective security guards is aimed at complimenting the police and not taking over their jobs.
“We are just complimenting the police, we are not taking over their jobs, those inciting and politicizing the issues should desist,” said Andabwa
Andabwa said security guards in certain installations of high risks like malls, hotels and those transporting millions of cash to banks should be properly armed due to the high risks associated.
“This is good news because the country is grappling with terrorism and armed robberies which put the lives of private guards at risk,” said Secretary General Isaac Andabwa.
He observed that the Union has come up with elaborate plan on training of guards in conjunction with the Kenya police as provided in the new regulations.
The regulations were gazetted on Friday last week by Interior Affairs Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
The regulations will also see guards take upon formal police jobs such as quelling riots and getting involved in security work during elections.
The guards will be allowed to ride in armoured and rapid response vehicles.
They will also be allowed to blare sirens and flash warning lights on highways, an hitherto preserve of police and emergency service providers.
According to the gazette notice, the private guards will enjoy these privileges under the guidance of the Inspector General of Police (IG).
The rules that are in line with the Private Security Regulation Act 2016, have also created the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) headed by Fazul Mohamed.
The authority will be in charge of ensuring the guards comply with the new rules. To begin with, all private security firms that employ the guards must be freshly registered with PSRA within the first six months.
After that, PSRA will ensure that the guards undergo vetting and put on uniforms that do not resemble those worn by State security personnel.
According to the Government, the regulations have come in force in order to maintain law and order, handle national disasters and provide general expertise in the entire security sub-sector.
The move to allow the guards operate rapid response vehicles specifically is in line with the Government’s intention to remove police officers in Cash In Transit (CIT) work.
The rules stipulate that a guard may arrest a person who is suspected to have committed an offence, and hand over that person to the nearest police station or post.
In carrying out that duty, they are expected to use non-violent means.
Under the guidance of PSRA, security firms will be expected to carry out vetting in order to authenticate a prospective employees’ character, employment history, residence and any other relevant information.
“Every director, partner, trustee, administrator, management staff and employee of a private security provider shall be required to undergo such training within six months after gazettement of the regulations as shall be prescribed by the Authority,” the regulations say.
PSRA shall prescribe a standard curriculum and assessment standards for private security training which shall be undertaken at every training institution.”
The rules also note that PSRA shall have supervisory powers over security training and assessment of persons employed in the private security industry.
“The Authority will set standards, create an enforcing mechanism, improve personnel welfare and offer redress from unscrupulous players.”
According to the gazette notice, PSRA shall be governed by a board headed by a chairperson appointed by the President.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has already appointed Prof Stephen Ng’ang’a as the board chair.
Board membership includes Principal Secretaries from the State Departments of Interior, Treasury and Labour.
There will also be representatives from the private security industry association.
They will be joined by other representatives from the National Police Service, National Intelligence Service, Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU) and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.