The private security sector in the country has been witnessing some mutations for some time now. Moving from nine to 25 licensed private security agencies; following authorisations given to 16 new ones, the sector is called upon to live up to its billing in the protection of private and public edifices based on contracts reached with those in need of their services.
It is an open secret that before the Presidential text reorganising the private security sector was published, so much cacophony was known therein. Their scope of work vis-à-vis government's security and law-enforcement officers was not clear. Which of the private security officer was to own what weapon, when and how to use them kept the population at a loss. What training were they to receive and from whom; absolutely needed clarification and so from the most authoritative person.
Above all, the current security context in the country and even in the sub region warranted that records be set straight, else, the private security sector whose prime role is to complement government's efforts in matters of protecting the population and property could easily slip into doubtful hands. This can be very dangerous if care is not seriously taken. At least, the 25 licensed agencies, by virtue of the Presidential text, now know what is expected of them.
As government's trusted partners in a domain as sensitive as security, proprietors of the private security agencies absolutely need to ensure that their personnel have the requisite training to function within the norms of the sector and the prescriptions of the Head of State, who alone is the guarantor of the country's constitution. The much-needed professionalisation of the sector passes through meticulous intake procedures which must be made more or less identical. The base should be set where any agency can begin from. Moral checks should logically be one of the criteria to safeguard against putting weapons in the hands of criminals. For instance, if one of the conditions to be fulfilled to work as a security and law enforcement officer is that one shouldn't have been convicted, there is no reason to allow private security operatives to do otherwise. A minimum level of education is, to say the least, primordial.
All that concerns the Labour Code shouldn't be neglected in the sector. Duly signed contracts should link the personnel with their agencies and consistent efforts be made to pay agreed and sustainable wages as well as living up to expectation with other working conditions. This would at least give the private security workers calm minds to concentrate on their duties and hopefully leave some side activities - mostly dubious, that a number of them are often tempted to engage in just to make ends meet. Promoters must not take advantage of the difficult environment to pick just anyone anyhow and use as a security man or woman.
What therefore remains to be done is permanent control by those vested with the powers to oversee the functioning of these agencies. The anarchy that existed before and which prompted the Head of State to step in should be made to disappear. This requires permanent and uncompromising control from local administrative officials.