In Kenya, the private security industry first emerged the 1960s on larger industrial sites. Growing commercial demand, and rising crime rates, meant the industry grew during the 1990s. After the Westgate mall terror attack in September 2013, when 67 people w ere killed, it experienced an exponential boom.
The private security companies defined themselves as auxiliary to the state police. They saw themselves as playing a supportive role by acting as the state police’s “eyes, ears, and wheels”: they provided the police with information and gave them crucial resources – like transport – that they sometimes didn’t have.
There are about 100 listed security firms under the Kenya Security Industry Association (KSIA) and 44 under the Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA) – a total of 67 security firms in Kenya.
However, as it stands now, many of the security arrangements discussed here reinforce the idea that security is something that residents should pay for – rather than something provided by a state to its citizens.
According to Sphere world Security Limited Managing Director Mr.Martin Munyua,the Security firms have experienced an exponential growth with hundred of Kenyans securing job opportunities.
He adds that high crime rates and the inability of public security services to provide adequate protection are the main factors driving the expansion of private security in Kenya adding that private security sector in Kenya impacts on and influences overall safety and security.
“The increasingly criminalized environment in the Country has led to the expansion of the private security sector,its one of the fastest growing sectors of the Kenyan economy contributing to about 35 per cent of the Country gross domestic income,”Munyua said.
He adds that Sphere world Limited provides corporate guarding,VIP protection ,security training and installation of security systems such as CCTV and alarms.
Mr Munyua adds that large companies offer integrated security solutions while small companies offer only manned guarding.
“The private security companies clients include industries, banks, government agencies, embassies, international organisations and refugee camps while also tracking of stolen properties,”He said.
Recently the government had announced that it will arm the private guards a move that was criticized by members of the public.
Private security companies have for a long called on the government to allow them to issue guns to security guards.
The government has said the security guards will have to go through a rigorous six-month-long compulsory training course on handling guns before they are issued firearms.
New regulations that have already been adopted by the Government have given powers to private security guards to carry guns and arrest criminals.
The guards will be allowed to ride in armored and rapid response vehicles. They will be allowed to blare sirens and flash warning lights on highways, an hitherto preserve of police and emergency service providers.
According to the gazette notice, the private guards will enjoy these privileges under the guidance of the Inspector General of Police (IG).