Private security firms act as national security force multiplier. Their effectiveness, therefore, relies heavily on professionalism and operating in compliance with the law.
In a meeting between Rwanda National Police (RNP) and owners and managers of private security service providers, held on Monday, September 11, at the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru, they were urged to aim for quality services at facilities under their protection.
Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, the commissioner for Infrastructure Security and Private Security Providers (ISPSP), said that despite professional steps taken, some standard operating procedures have not been followed or implemented, two years after the law governing private security services and Ministerial Order relating to operations of private security service providers, were established.
The law established in September 2020, provided a grace period of two years for private security companies to have complied.
CP Kabera urged them to follow the vetting and recruitment procedures, acquire and deploy basic security equipment and ensure closer supervision of employees training and operations.
By law, vetting of private security guards is done by Rwanda National Police prior to a three-month training.
"Follow the vetting process, acquire the basic security equipment, and report guards, who are no longer working with you," CP Kabera said.
It was observed that some guards operate without uniform or name tags; some abandon their stations as well as poor hygiene and drunkenness.
CP Kabera said: "Avoid penalties by following the law...doing the right thing. Your guards should be in full uniform gear with name-tag. Service cards don't replace name tags."
Also raised is the issue of welfare and long working hours.
Max Uwiragiye, the National Coordinator for private security companies, elaborated that the Rwanda labour code provide 8 working hours, which should be followed.
"Beyond 8 hours, it means working overtime and it comes with additional benefits to the employee. We are going to look it and address it," Uwiragiye said.
Currently, most security guards work for up to 12 hours. Introducing three shifts was seen as one of the remedies.
Alex Muteyeye, the chairperson of the association of private security companies, said that the implementation of the new law was largely affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are now going to have self assessment on the implementation of all the 48 articles of the new law governing private security services and over 20 others states in the Ministerial Order relating to operations of private security service providers.
This will help us to know what has been done in each private security firm and what is still missing and why, challenges and timeframe to have implemented everything that the law and Ministerial Order requires," Muteyeye said.
He added: "In these security services, you cannot achieve without commitment and Rwanda National Police guides us in that direction. There are some private security companies that were closing but they were guided on how better to operate and they are now functioning very well and growing."