Private Security Services Bill for Second Reading

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi has presented the Private Security Services Bill, 2015 (No.9 of 2015) before Parliament for a second reading.

Presenting the Bill, Mr Kgathi said the object of the Bill was to repeal and re-enact with amendments, the Control of Security Guard Service Act (CAP 21:07).

The Bill, he said also provided for the regulation of the private security services industry.

Between 2012 and 2013, Mr Kgathi said his ministry addressed three Pitso meetings with private security companies and the general concern of the companies was that the Control of Security Guards Services Act had been overtaken by events.

During those meetings, he said companies highlighted that the Act only provided for security guards, whilst the industry had developed to include other private security services, such as; alarm and alarm response units, dog sections, closed-circuit television, cash-in transit and others.

To address that concern, he said companies then proposed “a review of the Act and advised that the private security companies should be strictly regulated and a code of conduct enforced.”

“They also requested for the development of standards in the provision of security services and training of the guards,” he added.

Those concerns, the minister said had been addressed in the proposed Private Security Services Bill, 2015, which he said had five parts and 38 Clauses, of which the salient ones were as follows;

Under Part II at Clause 3, a Private Security Services Licensing Board is established.

Clauses 3 (2) provided that the Board shall consist of three representatives of government; two representatives of the private sector; two representatives of the Security Association; as well as two additional members from the public.

The chairperson of the board shall be appointed by the Minister.

Clause 5 sets out the functions of the Board which include, among other things; to receive applications for licenses; to set minimum standards and ensure compliance with minimum standards of training for security services providers and guards; to set a code of conduct for private security service providers; to ensure compliance with existing legislation by security service providers and to protect the interests of users of security services.

Part III of the Bill, (Clauses 16 to 25), deals with the licensing of private security services and requirements related to the issuance of private security services license.

Clause 16 provides that only a person issued with a license by the Board may establish or carry on the business of providing security services.

Contravention of that Clause, he said was an offence and renders one liable to a fine not exceeding P50 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both.

Clauses 17 and 18 provide that applications for a license to carry out private security services shall be made to the Board.

Where an application for a license has been lodged with the Board, the Board shall consult the Commissioner of Police and make whatever investigations necessary to determine the application.

Clause 20 restricts a person issued with a license, for provision of security services from employing a person with a conviction or outside Botswana as a security guard without written permission of the Board.

A person who contravenes that provision was liable to a fine not exceeding P5 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or both.

In terms of Clause 22, the minister may, through Regulations, reserve certain trades or businesses in the security industry for citizens.

The Regulations made by the minister may also provide that only citizens shall be entitled to carry on as security service providers in such areas in the country as may be prescribed or engage in certain security services.

Clause 23 provides for disclosure of criminal convictions by licensees or partners or directors of companies licensed to operate security services to the board.

Contravention of that provision was an offence and renders one liable to a fine not exceeding P10 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or both.

Clause 24 provides for the suspension or cancellation of licenses by the Board under certain circumstances.

Clause 25 empowers the minister to appoint an Appeals Committee to determine appeals lodged by persons aggrieved by the decisions of the Board.

At Part IV, (Clauses 26 to 28) the Bill provides for the appointment of inspectors whose duties include conducting routine inspections of the private security services to ensure compliance with the Act.

Clause 26 provides that the minister may appoint such public officers, as may be deemed necessary, to be private security inspectors.

Clause 27 (2) provides that for purposes of carrying out an inspection, an inspector may enter, inspect and examine premises occupied by a private security service provider.

The inspector may also require information to be disclosed relating to compliance with the provisions of this Act.

Part V of the Bill provides for general provisions and repeals the Control of Security Guard Services Act (CAP 21:07).

At Clause 31 provision is also made for confidentiality by a licensee or former licensee which precludes a licensee or former licensee from divulging of any information acquired in the course of carrying on the business in respect of which the license had been granted.

Source : BOPA