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Government Seeks Police-Private Security Partnerships

August 3, 2012

Department of Police

Government wants to build strong crime prevention partnerships between the private security industry and state law enforcement agencies.

This was highlighted by the deputy minister of police, Makhotso Sotyu, during an address at the recent homeland security and safety conference in Midrand.

The deputy minister indicated that this goal was contained in the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment (PSIRA) Bill soon to be tabled in parliament.

The PSIRA Amendment Bill, 2012 seeks to:

• regulate foreign ownership and control of private security businesses in South Africa;
• regulate operations of security firms outside the borders of the Republic,
• provide for the role of the private security industry regulatory authority in promoting crime prevention partnerships with state entities;
• provide for accountability of a Council of Authority, including the formulation of regulations on the transportation of cash and other valuables;
• provide for a separate database on firearms issued to security service providers;
• provide for limitations on the participation of individuals with criminal records; and
• ensure that the PSIRA receives state funding.

PSIRA has been labouring under financial constraints for a number of years. The bill would seek to rectify this situation.

The deputy minister said that clause 2 of the bill calls for communication between the private security industry and government through the regulatory authority.

“The bill calls for working together efficiently to achieve sustainable excellence in technology and strategy”.

The deputy minister added that the bill should not be perceived as a potential deterrent to foreign investment in the security industry.

The proposed legislation wants to see 51% of the ownership of private security firms in the hands of South Africans.

She emphasised that the tighter regulation of the private security industry has always been an objective of government.

Other concerns included:

• Inadequate resources for regulatory authority
• National security concerns posed by participation of unaccounted for foreign nationals
• Uncertainty around how many firearms in hands of private firms
• Participation of local security firms in foreign conflicts
• Criminal behaviour within local industry

In essence, government aims to prevent a situation where “security companies become parallel forces to our own South African Police Services”.

“By this bill, we want to make sure that our safety and security is not run by two different sets of prescripts that are accountable to two different sources”.

The plan is to bring about a well regulated private security industry.

“The partnership that we are calling for is the one that joins efforts under the auspices of the strategic agenda of South Africa, enhances cooperation, exchanges experiences and sharing of good practices”.