Jamaica seeks to expand private security regionally

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SAMUDA… our private security companies have the capacity to grow to meet some of the regional demand

MINISTER Without Portfolio at the Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda says Jamaica’s private security sector is well positioned to evolve into a regional export industry.

According to the Minister, the country’s relatively large private security sector and its geographical location suggest that it is well placed to meet this challenge.

“Jamaica is an island of stability in a region of relative instability, and our private security companies have the capacity to expand to meet some of the regional demand, creating more employment opportunities for Jamaicans. “, he told the Senate last Friday.

He said that over the past few years there have been calls from several sectors to modernize industry regulations and address issues related to the diversity of services offered and the streamlining of government classification of private security guards.

He said the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA), a statutory body under the ministry responsible for overseeing and regulating the operations of private security companies, private security guards, private investigators and trainers in security, proposed a code of conduct and ethics for the private sector industry to key industry stakeholders, with a view to addressing a wide range of measures for continuous improvements in the management of the industry

Senator Samuda pointed out that the industry, at a glance, has approximately 750 registered private security personnel per 100,000 people, which is a relatively high concentration of private security personnel per capita compared to the scale world.

He noted that it has grown from 12,400 registered private security officers in 1995 to 22,600 officers in 2020. In contrast, the police force currently consists of around 11,000 members, making the ratio between the registered private security guards and police hovers around 2:1. .

“The growth of the private security industry in Jamaica highlights the growing importance of private security to the nation’s overall security and economic well-being,” he said.

The stated mission of the PSRA is to oversee and regulate the operations of private security firms, private security guards, private investigators and security trainers, and organizations and individuals operating in the private security industry , and to facilitate a close link between private security and state security in the interests of national welfare.

“Its vision is to promote international and professional standards and practices in the private security industry. It has the power to grant, deny, suspend or revoke licenses as it deems necessary for the purposes of carrying out its mandate under the PSRA Act,” Samuda explained.

He said it has also had to expand in response to industry growth and as a result during 2020/2021 the PSRA opened its new regional office in Montego Bay, St James, and continues its initiatives to obtain ISO 9001:2015 certification. , increase its footprint on the island through the mobile check-in unit, and launch a mobile app that will enhance industry compliance with regulations.

He said the private security industry is a strategic industry for Jamaica’s growth and development, not only because of its ability to absorb jobs, but also because of the value it adds. to national security, and so it’s an industry that will be dealt with accordingly.

Over the next 24 months, the appropriate reviews and consultations will take place to ensure that the legislation governing the industry is appropriately consolidated and updated, he said.

“Additionally, I want to encourage all space operators to ensure compliance with the PSRA, as they can expect stricter enforcement in the future,” Samuda said.

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