Uganda: Police Cancel Licences for 40 Private Security Firms

Police have revoked licences of 40 private security companies for failing to meet the required standards and ordered vetting of the remaining firms.

The order to revoke the licences for 40 of 202 private security firms was issued by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the companies whose licences were cancelled had violated all the statutory standards set by the Internal Affairs ministry.

Crime check

"There have been cases of indiscipline, lack of customer care, poor training and poor supervision by members of PSOs [private security organisations]. All the PSOs will be vetted and the report sent to the IGP to take action," Mr Enanga said yesterday.

The shooting of Arnold Ainebyona Mugisha by a private security guard at Quality Shopping Village, Namugongo on Tuesday last week, triggered a debate on the quality of security services provide.

All PSOs are under the management of police.

According to police records, there are about 50,000 private guards in the country.

Mr Enanga said the tightening of PSOs regulations is intended to check commission of crimes by private guards.

The Uganda Private Security Association (TUPSA) chairperson, Mr Grace Matsiko, said the 40 PSOs, whose annual operating licences have been revoked had issues with payment of gun fees to police and operating with low personnel capacity.

"These affected PSOs are working around the clock to pay the police gun rental fees and also increase their personnel capacity. We hope they will be given this year's annual operator's licence after fulfilling the requirements." Mr Matsiko said.

He said many PSOs are facing operational challenges due to high taxes, 'poaching' of guards by labour export agencies and new regulations on deployment.

Recently, police banned single deployment of private security guards, which led to financial stress to PSOs since they had already signed contracts for a single guard with their clients.

PSOs contribute more than $200m (about Shs760 billion) in revenue to the government annually.

In their previous statements PSOs said the increase in demand for private security guards abroad has affected their personnel capacity as many labour recruiting companies 'poach' them even when they have standing contracts with security firms.

The PSOs stated that they lose a lot of funds whenever guards run away from employment since they have spent money in training them.

It is estimated that private security companies spend at least Shs1.5m to train a guard in two months.

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