Security firms help curb crime - Mthethwa
Johannesburg - Improved co-ordination and information sharing between the police and more than 8 000 private security companies has contributed to a reduction in serious crimes such as heists and robberies, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
"We acknowledge that some of these successes were achieved through the contribution of the private security industry," Mthethwa told delegates at the Security Industry Alliance conference.
They were also achieved through proper policing, legislative changes and the commitment of both the police and society.
The private security industry was growing quickly, with over 400 000 security guards, he said.
Regulating the industry
Work was underway on the private security industry regulatory authority bill to address weaknesses in the industry.
Changes would address some of the problems in the industry and better regulate them.
It would also help the government deal with shifts in the nature and commission of crimes.
These included the prevalence of unaccounted for firearms and ammunition in the hands of some of the "mushrooming" private security companies, and why companies which closed did not report that firearms were no longer in use.
Proper regulation would tighten the regulation of guards to deter criminals from entering the industry, and to prohibit foreign control over sectors of the private security industry.
"We want to emphasise that government does not intend to run the human resources of private security companies, however, as and when we need to know who the employees are, whether they are correctly vetted, we will do so," said Mthethwa.
The government was also considering making clients liable for doing business with security companies which did not comply with regulations, or minimum wage labour law requirements.
He warned that people who committed cash-in-transit heists prepared with precision, were prepared to use a variety of weaponry get people out of their way, and often used inside information.
"We need to ensure all companies take seriously their responsibilities to protect not only their clients, but also their guards and the public who are affected by cash-in-transit heists."