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Vetting of private security firms to be issued with guns starts

NATIONAL
By Joackim Bwana | May 24th 2021

 

Kenya National Private Security Workers Union's Joash Soita Andawa (left) and Mombasa Security Industry Association chairman James Matheka during training for the private security guards at Tudor in Mombasa County on Thursday, May 20, 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The quest for private security guards to be armed with guns went a notch higher today after the vetting of 2,000 registered firms kicked off.  

Kenya Private Security Regulative Authority (KPSRA) Administrator Joash Soita said only 10 per cent of firms had met the minimum threshold set by the government.

Some of the rules set by the Ministry of Interior being looked at include whether the firms have complied with standardised training, better remunerations and ensuring the guards have health cover.

The guards should also be registered with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU) communication officer Dennis Wendo said the firms that have already met the standard are mostly owned by foreigners.

Mr Wendo said most firms are unable to pay their guards the minimum Sh25,000 that is recommended by the Labour laws, neither do they remit NHIF and NSSF dues.

He said after the successful vetting, the firms will be given a curriculum launched last year which stipulates the basic standard mandatory training skills for guards.

The official said the government agreed with KSRP to arm security firms with guns but emphasised the exercise would be under their full control.

Soita, who doubles up as the KNPSWU National Organising Secretary, said security guards would only handle guns when going for special assignments such as transporting money to and from banks.

“The authority will have the sole mandate of setting up the training college and accrediting the companies and guards because the companies are unable to come up with a good structure,” said Soita.

KSRP has been in constant engagement with KNPSWU to have guards paid according to the right scale and eliminate the numerous cartels fighting to govern the welfare of security guards.

“The government has agreed to arm the guard but we will be the ones setting the training college, training them and accrediting the firms and guards,” said Soita.

Soita spoke during the special training of security firm owners under the Mombasa Security Industry Association. He said the authority and the union have agreed that all guards should be supplied with necessary tools to enable them deal with security situations that arise while at work.

They are to be supplied with alarms, phones and other tools to aid them in ensuring security at premises they are guarding.

“Guns will be issued according to the type of assignments, not all assignments will require guns. For you to have an assignment from the bank, you must have a compliance letter from the Ministry of Interior and the authority because it is a sensitive job.”

“Employers will have to sacrifice to be able to get the minimum wage standard. All those companies misusing their employers will finally go down and the genuine ones will continue with business,” said Soita.

However, Mombasa Security Association chairman James Matheka said arming of guards should be the last thing to come after all other reforms in the industry have been achieved.

Matheka said it will be an expensive and herculean task to be undertaken by the private security firms.

“Firstly guns need more protection than anything else including money. It is a herculean job for individual private security to undertake,” said Mr Matheka.

“The idea of arming private security guards with guns as a way of enhancing security sounds beautiful but quite the opposite as the ramifications completely wipe out any gains brought about by the noticeable reforms being undertaken by PSRA. Until the reforms are fully implemented then the issue of gun can be entertained,” said Matheka.

He said the process of handing over the guns after shifts is dangerous and unfathomable. Matheka added the reforms by PSRA are capable of addressing 85 per cent of the problems ailing the private security industry.

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