Security firms grapple with police order to deploy guards

Thursday January 17 2019

A private security guard conducts a scan.

A private security guard conducts a scan. Police advise security firms to improve the welfare of their guards. FILE PHOTO 

By ANDREW BAGALA

Kampala. The cost of guard services has doubled and in some instances shot up three-fold after police banned deployment of a single armed private guard at any duty stations.
On December 31 last year, the Director of Police Operations, Assistant Inspector General of Police Asuman Mugenyi, issued a directive to private security companies to deploy at least two guards at any duty station. The directive followed four criminal attacks at different premises where four guards were disarmed and guns taken.
Managers of private security companies say they have shifted the extra cost of additional deployment onto their clients but the feedback is worrying.
Mr Yasin Ssekamatte, the executive director for Jet-Tech Security Uganda Limited and a member of the Uganda Private Security Association, said some of their clients are rejecting the new bills saying they cannot stretch their security budget beyond what they have been paying.
“A client pays between Shs600,000 and Shs700,000 for a single guard monthly. With the new guidelines of having at least two guards at a duty station, security companies are asking their clients to pay between Shs1.2m and Shs1.5m for two guards. Many clients are telling us they can’t afford that,” Mr Ssekamatte said.

Small scale
Private individuals, who hire guards in their residential places and small scale businesses such as Mobile Money agents and supermarkets, have been the most affected.
Mr Ssekamatte said police have been going around the country enforcing the deployment orders.
“Police have arrested several guards found to have violated the order and their guns have been confiscated. Their supervisors have also been arrested,” he added.
He said private security firms need to recruit more guards in order to deploy two personnel despite the fact that the process too takes time and resources.
According to Uganda Private Security Association, the process of getting a new guard takes not less than three months at a minimum cost of Shs1.5m on training alone,
They estimate that there are about 160 private security companies in the country employing about 70,000 people.
Mr Ssekamatte said the deployment of two guards has affected many companies.
“We were not given enough time to prepare for the increase in the number of guards,” he said.
The spokesman of police operations, SP Samson Lubega, said the private security firms did not need time since the circular was just a reminder of best practices.
“Police gave each private security firm guidelines before they are approved and one of them is to deploy more than one guard at a duty station. Those who have not been deploying at the station were violating the standard operating procedures,” Mr Lubega said on Tuesday.

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