Private security guards are to be issued with guns in a move aimed at addressing various forms of crimes. Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i has already told private security firms the government will withdraw armed police from the Cash In Transit (CIT) business from July.
The move will hand the firms the responsibility to escort cash and other valuables for various institutions and individuals.
Speaking on Wednesday when he met members of the Private Security Regulatory Authority in his office, Matiang’i told managers of the firms that the government will issue gun licences to vetted companies who will in turn arm their personnel to conduct their businesses.
“Be ready to arm your guards because we will withdraw officers from some of these businesses like CIT. You will be in charge of the guns issued to you and any case of misuse will be punished,” he warned.
Equally, Kenyans will soon start seeing armed private security officers guarding banks, shops, supermarkets and other private premises like their Ugandan counterparts. The CS made orders to have the authority start its work immediately and ensure the welfare of the guards is looked into.
Matiang’i said they intend to have a centralised data of all guards in the country and that by the end of the year they hope the personnel will have a similar uniform.
The guards will also have a single identification document. The authority is set to start its operations in two weeks and will, among others, come up with regulations to guide who will be granted a permit to carry the weapons.
Few private security groups are issued with permits to carry weapons. These mostly are those manning ranches. Interior ministry is currently developing a training manual for private security officers and will soon be unveiled so as to improve private security coordination with other security agencies in sharing of information and intelligence to security authorities.
The Kenya National Private Security Workers’ Union (KNPSW) officials welcomed the move even as it decried the increasing number of attacks against private security guards.
“This is good news because the country is grappling with armed robberies which put the lives of private guards at risk. You cannot stop an armed robber with a rungu. This has exposed us to more danger than even armed soldiers in Somalia,” said secretary general Isaac Andabwa.