Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Private security firms legislation to be reviewed

Published:Saturday | May 8, 2021 | 12:18 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Samuda
Samuda

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Ministry of National Security is to review legislation governing private security firms with a view to establishing the requisite operational standards by which they can operate effectively.

Senator Matthew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, said that the legislative review could be completed within the next 24 months and would be in line with 21st-century security operational standards.

“We have certainly had incidents where private security companies come under attack [by criminal elements], the legislative framework that governs the private security industry is inadequate like much of our legislation and we are in a rush to kind of bring it into the 21st-century, even if it’s kicking and screaming,” Samuda told The Gleaner while on a tour of the Private Security Regulation Authority’s (PSRA) western headquarters in Montego Bay on Thursday.

Samuda pointed out that the new legislation would seek to erase the hurdles of operating under three separate ministries, among other things, to include adequate and tactical training for security guards.

“The industry interacts heavily with the ministries of Finance, Labour and Social Security and, indeed, the Ministry of National Security. That has created its own policy vacuum… that’s an issue that we are indeed looking at and we are looking to modernise the legislative framework that covers it,” said Samuda.

He also said that the review of the current legislation would set minimum operational standards and minimum training requirements for those businesses that were a part of the security industry.

“The training level is one of the areas of concern to me personally because the footprint of PSRA is too small to truly go into the field and check everybody’s training level and that is a concern. What we check is basic minimum standards. However, the minimum requirements under the law, I believe, is also weak,” said Samuda.

Samuda further argued that even with the regulatory framework increasing, to include having the western offices of the PSRA, much more was needed.