•This partnership plays a crucial role in enhancing overall security and public safety, ensuring a safer environment for Kenyan citizens.
•Private security firms in Kenya have emerged as invaluable allies to the national security organs during emergencies and tragedies.
Collaboration between law enforcement agencies and private security firms is proving crucial in Kenya’s ever-evolving security landscape, particularly in the war against terrorism and organized crime.
This partnership plays a crucial role in enhancing overall security and public safety, ensuring a safer environment for Kenyan citizens.
Private security firms in Kenya have emerged as invaluable allies to the national security organs during emergencies and tragedies.
From buildings and shopping malls, to residential areas and high-traffic installations, private security personnel have become crucial in safeguarding these spaces.
Their vital role underscores the compelling need for synergy between these two sectors.
Private guards are not just observers; they constitute the frontline of emergency response. Their rapid, decisive actions often tip the scales in critical situations, underscoring the pivotal role they play in the country’s national security architecture.
With over 900,000 individuals gainfully employed in the private security sector, and its annual revenue exceeding Sh100 billion, this industry stands as a formidable driver of Kenya’s economy. Its contribution extends beyond financial metrics, significantly impacting job creation and contributing to the country’s GDP growth.
Recognizing the significance of the private security industry, the government is taking proactive steps to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.
A key component of these security reforms is the provision of comprehensive training to empower private security personnel in detecting, deterring, and effectively responding to emerging security threats. Equipping them with the necessary skills and tools of trade is also among the government’s top priority.
With terrorism now recognized as among the greatest global threats, concerns over the training of private security guards have been raised by various sectors.
In response, the government has developed a standardized training program for private security companies as part of its industry reform agenda.
This marks a significant step forward in establishing clear industry standards and a recognized code of ethics for guards, enabling them to navigate the complexities of the evolving security landscape efficiently.
Additionally, the government is exploring the inclusion of a counter-terrorism strategy in the training curriculum to aid in the fight against insurgency.
In July 2023, Principal Secretary for Internal Security Dr. Raymond Omollo described the curriculum as a product of a highly consultative process among key stakeholders, with a focus on elevating the professionalism and competency of private security guards in the country.
“At the heart of these security reforms is providing them with the right training so that they can detect, deter and effectively respond to the current and emerging security threats appropriately,” he said during the launch of the first private security institution, Miale Security Training Institution, adding that the comprehensive training will also fosters public trust in the capabilities of the personnel.
The Curriculum and Training guidelines aim to not only meet the growing demand for well-trained professionals but also raise the bar for industry standards, ensuring the highest level of professionalism, competence, and integrity in the private security sector.
Being products of a highly consultative process that has benefited from various stakeholders and experts, the institution, curriculum and guidelines pave the way for enhancing the ethical standards of private security personnel.
Dr. Omollo also confirmed the rollout of the issuance of the Security Force Numbers to the private security guards who will be undergoing this training as we recognize that they are important partners in community policing.
Given their distribution across the country and the position private guards occupy as points of contact, government is committed to deepen the collaboration between National Security Organs and the Private Security Industry to enhance our collective security capacity.
In August, the government initiated the process of registering private security guards to enhance accountability and address long-standing human resource issues in the industry.
Through the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA), the state aims to establish a centralized database of the entire workforce in the sector.
This will facilitate harmonized enforcement of compliance with the country's labor laws and professional ethics and standards.
PS Omollo stated that this move will not only promote higher levels of professionalism but also provide a structured framework for monitoring and regulating the activities of private security companies and their personnel while on duty.
The writer is Director General, Private Security Regulatory Authority