Private guards to study law in new curriculum

Private security officers will now have to undergo standardised training and tests in law, public relations, report writing and counter-terrorism as part of efforts to enhance their role in national security.

A training curriculum for private security officers Level One prepared by the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) and obtained by Saturday Standard imposes a rigorous six-month training covering 18 units, which will be examined.

And although the curriculum requires no entry academic credentials, its rigor is such that they must ideally have gone through secondary school education.

They must, however, demonstrate ability to read and write in English, be 18 years and above, and obtain a valid police clearance certificate ahead of admission.

Besides the 330-hour class training, they must also attend a 160 hour industrial attachment in a security firm to obtain relevant work experience. They must score a minimum pass of 50 per cent in all the 18 units to get accredited and certified as private security officer by PSRA.

“We are coming from a situation where we had no standardised curriculum. Every player did their own thing as far as training is concerned. This created confusion, gaps, imbalance not to mention that our security officers could not compete globally,” says PSRA CEO Fazul Mahamed.

The 18 units are introduction to the security industry, legal and regulatory framework for the private security industry in Kenya, labour laws, security risks, threats and hazards, basic security procedures, security equipment and animals, kitting and turnout, report writing and effective communication.

Others are counter-terrorism, health and safety, emergency preparedness, ethics and integrity, career progression and life skills, public relations and customer service, emergency level first aid, and physical fitness and foot drills.

In addition, they must also undertake yearly 40-hour refresher courses ahead of licence renewal.

Their trainers must have six years of proven experience in the private security industry, physically and mentally fit, able to read and write in English, have a valid police clearance certificate and where they are ex-servicemen, must have a honourable letter of discharge from their former employer.

In the curriculum, 80 to 90 per cent attendance is mandatory, with 60 per cent of the marks coming from theory and 40 per cent from practical tutorials. A trainer must not teach more than 32 trainees in a single class.

In the six-hour introduction to security industry, the trainees will be taught the general concept of security, historical background, the difference between private and public security, principles of security, components of security and the role of private security officers.

In the 12-hour unit on legal and regulatory framework, the guards will learn the relevant sections of the Constitution of Kenya, Private Security Regulation Act No 13 of 2016, Evidence Act and the expansive criminal justice system.

This unit correlates with the next one on labour laws. They will familiarise themselves with Employment Act, Labour and Industrial Act, Labour Relations Act, Fair and Administration Action Act, statutory deduction among others.“The idea is not to transform them into lawyers but to introduce them to the basics of law, the criminal justice system, the hierarchy of the court system, court protocols and procedures, approaches to collection and preservation of evidence,” Mahamed said.

At the end of the training, the guards must be able to write formal reports and communicate effectively in crisis and emergency situations, and understand types of terror attacks.

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