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Kenya: New regulations on private security firms to help improve guards' pay & working conditions, says columnist

Author: Martin Nkaari, Elite Security Academy, in Daily Nation (Kenya), Published on: 19 July 2019

"New regulations will help private security firms do better job"

In less than six months, all individual and corporate private security service providers must have registered with the Private Security Regulatory Authority. From January 5, 2020, all users of private security services are required to only hire or engage such registered and licensed private security officers and firms...The private security industry is mainly characterised by the guarding subsector. It has been on a growth path ever since the near-collapse of public policing in the 1980s and ‘90s and on to the second growth spurt that was brought about by terrorism, Al-Shabaab in particular. But in this growth, standards and professionalism have not kept up as would be desired...

The new regulations, however, turn the pricing competitive edge on its head and place a premium on value addition. From now on, if firms are to be licensed, they will be required to pay guards in their employ at least the minimum wage. In the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, this amounts to Sh27,993 for a night guard and Sh25,641 for a day guard. In municipalities like Nakuru, Nyeri and Kakamega, this comes to Sh25,905 and Sh23,208, respectively, and Sh16,119 and Sh13,575 in all other areas, mostly small urban and rural areas...

The rules now provide a framework for this in instances as simple as requesting crucial information from a private security service provider to instances of national disaster or calamity, where private security officers may be called in to assist in disaster management. Three special powers have also been granted to registered private security officers and guidelines for their exercise given. These include the power to arrest, the power to search and the power to temporarily withhold identification documents. Care has been taken, however, to ensure that they are exercised in a way that does not infringe on individual rights.

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