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General News of Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Source: Peace FM

We take private security firms serious - Minister

Deputy Minister of Interior James Agalga has indicated that his outfit is committed to upgrading the operational capacity of private security firms in the country.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this reporter, the MP for Builsa North Constituency in the Upper East Region stated that the active involvement of private security companies in the maintenance of law and order and the protection of human lives is key to the minimization of crime.

He indicated that the maintenance of law and order can not only be left in the care of the state’s internal security and therefore the essence of private security in the country cannot be overlooked if we are to make progress in the fight against crimes.

He called on individuals and organizations using the service of any private security firm to do a background check on their legitimacy to exist as a security company before giving them the responsibility to protect their lives and properties.

According to him, though there are many good security firms in the country, there are other that are operating far below the standard set by the Ministry and they will be brought to book.

“In many countries, private security firms are contracted to execute high profile security duties and same can be done in this country,” he added.

He continued “we need to ensure that the negative perception about security jobs is altered because it is an intellectually inclined job and requires skills that cannot be attained on a silver platter”.

According to him, the perception that security jobs are reserved for illiterates and a certain class of people is a wrong and can only be thwarted if operators of security companies raised their standard of operation and also provide better remuneration packages and benefits for their workers.

He indicated that the ministry is going to shut down and prosecute Security agencies that have not been duly registered but are operating and impose fines and other sanctions on those that are operating with expired licenses and have not taken the necessary steps to renew with the ministry.

He also called on the general public and those accessing the services of security firms to refer to a recent publication in the daily graphic which published names of Security Firms in good standing at the time to know if the companies they are working with are supposed to provide security by law.

“I will also use this medium to call the general public to report to the police any security companies that are found to operating without valid license and even extend it those providing poor condition of services for their employees”

He assured that the ministry’s door are widely open for such verifications and therefore implored everyone not to use the services of any security company until they have enough information that indicates the company is in good shape and recognized by the appropriate authority.

To ensure that the frustration that accompanied renewing of operation license with the ministry is a thing of the past, the Ministry of Interior have for the first time by provided fixed durations for renewal of license.

“Initially, security companies didn’t know how long their license renewal was going to take so it made planning quite difficult for the law abiding ones who want to operate legally.

“The new thing being done now is that, when you come to renew, you know it is going to take a week, a month or a year”.

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