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General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017

Source: GNA

Private security organisations cautioned against wearing State security uniforms

The Ghana Police Service(GPS), has warned private security organisations (PSOs), using uniforms that have resemblance with that of the State security agencies to withdraw them with immediate effect and submit them to the GPS.

All PSOs whose uniforms have not been vetted by the Police are also being asked to immediately submit them for vetting, Deputy Commissioner Of Police (DCOP) Paul Manly-Awini, Director-General of Private Security Operations Directorate (PSOD) of the Police Service gave the warning on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, DCOP Awini said PSOs that were operating without licenses were to take immediate steps to obtain license from the Ministry of the Interior.

He said all businesses and individuals who want to engage the services of any PSOs were being advised to check with the Police to ensure that such organisations were duly registered and operating within the law before contracting them.

“This is because they will be violating the law by engaging the services of such unlicensed PSOs, not to mention the security risk of using the services of such PSOs,” Mr Awini said.

He said the Service was taking the measures, because many of the PSOs were disregarding the Regulations of the Police that set them up.

The Police Service Regulations 1992 (LI1571) which derives its powers from section 38 of the Police Service Act 1970 (350) state among other things that no person licensed or granted a permit under the Legislation shall bear or possess any fire arm or ammunition in the course of his or her duties.

The Regulations states that no person shall establish an organisation to perform services of watching, guarding, patrolling or carriage for providing protection against crime, unless that has been granted a license for that purpose by the Minister of the Interior.

The regulations also provided that no person shall engage an organisation for an investigations of service unless that organisation has a valid licensed under the law.

DCOP Awini noted that in spite of the clear provisions in the Regulations, some PSOs were operating without licenses, engaging employees without permits, using unapproved uniforms and articles while others defiantly arm their security guards with weapons.

“All these are blatant violations of the Regulation and posing serious threats to management of internal security.

“As a result of these violations, there is the likelihood for criminals to take advantage of the situation to engage in various criminal activities such as robbery, stealing, and virtually terrorising law abiding citizens using weapons, uniforms and other articles,” he said.

DCOP Awini said following the current developments, the Police Service had embarked on an operation to arrest those violating the law, and had consequently, arrested 23 employees from 11 PSOs operating in violations of the law within the Greater Accra Region.

Various prohibited items including unapproved uniforms, riot control gears, and other articles were retrieved from the PSOs who operated within the Osu, Labone, Cantonments and East Legon areas.

He said investigations were still on-going to check the status regarding other provisions in the Regulation after which those arrested would be arraigned for prosecution.

He however acknowledged the fact that while the PSOs had the potential to complement the efforts of the Police Service in discharging its mandate of protecting lives and property, they also could greatly undermine the internal security of the country.

He said the Service, established thePSOD in February, to collaborate with the Minister of the Interior and other stakeholders to bring sanity to the private security industry.

It was also to ensure that PSOs contributed more effectively towards the management of internal security.

DCOP Awini said the Police and Ministry of Interior Joint Taskforce would sustain the monitoring and enforcement operation in all the 10 regions including private security guards of Assemblies and academic institutions to ensure that all PSOs complied with the law.

Meanwhile, DCOP Awini said the Police would continue to engage members of the Association of Security Organisations, Ghana, to educate them on the regulations and on the need to practice within the confines of the law.