Government orders private security firms to vet employees before hiring them

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The JK government has ordered agencies offering private security to check the character and backgrounds of employees, warning to take tough action against violators.

According to a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the move comes after the government observed that some private security agencies hired or employed people as security guards and supervisors without character and background checks.

Already, the government notified the Rules (Regulation) of Private Security Agencies of Jammu and Kashmir, 2022, in May this year, with the aim of regulating the functioning of Private Security Agencies (PSAs) operating within the JK.

“Among other stipulations, Rule 7 of the Rules provides that before a person is employed or engaged as a security guard or supervisor, the agency shall ascertain the character and background of that person in the prescribed manner in said rule,” reads an official JK Home Office document.

It states that Rule 4(7) provides that the licensee must immediately notify the supervisory authority of any criminal charges brought against persons forming the agency or against a private security guard or supervisor engaged or employed by the agency in the performance of PSA functions.

“A copy of this communication should also be sent to the officer in charge of the police station where the accused person resides,” the document states.

The instructions were issued at a time when many agencies in Kashmir are also offering domestic helpers and cleaners.

These rules according to the officials also apply to them.

In the past, there have been several reports of domestic helpers fleeing homes and engaging in criminal activities in the valley.

Meanwhile, the official document states that Rule 4(12) of the Regulatory Act provides that after commencing its activities, security agencies must provide a monthly list of its officers and those it engages to the supervisory authority.

“They must also share such a list with the officer in charge of the police station where the head office is located,” the document states.

Notably, the JK Home Department has appointed the supervisory authority for issuing licenses under the PSA Regulation Act 2005 and rules thereunder.

“However, the supervisory authority has been informed that some private security companies have hired or employed people as security guards and supervisors without character and background checks,” the document said.

The government has noted that denunciations concerning the elaboration of criminal proceedings against the persons constituting the agency or against private security agents or supervisors hired or employed by the agencies in the exercise of their functions have not been brought to the attention of the supervisory authority.

“Security agencies do not provide monthly listings as required by Rule 4(12), making those agencies responsible for action,” the document said.

The government has directed all private security firms to have the character and background checks of security guards or supervisors before employing them, as stipulated in the rules.

“Any criminal charges brought against persons forming the agency or against private security guards or supervisors engaged or employed by the agency must be brought to the attention of the supervisory authority,” the document states.

The government also ordered the agencies to provide a monthly list of the leadership and people hired by the security agencies to the officer in charge of the relevant police station.

In addition, the government has pressured all governmental, semi-governmental, state/central public sector enterprises and private institutions, including banks that use the services of private security agencies, not to use to the services of those PSAs whose character and background of employees have not been verified in the manner prescribed in the Jammu and Kashmir Private Security Agencies Rules (Regulation), 2022.

“Any deviation from this should be considered seriously and action, as warranted by law, should be taken against these agencies,” it read. (TO KNOW)

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