Security Scrutiny

Posted: February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

logo_pending_legislation2In my time being head of department for Training and Development for a major security service provider in TnT, I oversaw directly the training of over 600 Security Officers passing through the mill. I would always tell them at the beginning of the program and at their passing out ceremony “We (training department) don’t produce watchmen or gyuards (local derogatory pronunciation), we produce Security Officers.”  This statement is a sentiment to which I hold a standard and wish that this was so across the board, but there is a sad reality in the security industry which the public is not aware of. In the interest of the public, I’m going to go over the frightening reality of general security ‘officer’ selection and ‘training.’ Then perhaps it won’t seem so shocking that last year a security stabbed a carnival patron to death, and this year a Councillor was beaten to the ground by a group of security mobbing him like wild animals.

(<-Link to video of Security force abuse)

There are approximately 400 security service providers in Trinidad and Tobago. Yes 400. Only 60-70 have a licence from the Ministry of National Security to operate as a legitimate Security Service Provider. The process is tedious and is only necessary for tumblr_m192ijvwoX1qcaycmo1_500those who intend to operate as estate police (having legitimate bodyguard services, armed officers, cash-in-transit, etc), the rest just operate as a regular Limited Liability Company (Ltd.). While there are companies both large and small who take training seriously, investing in their own internal training departments and centres, the majority take it lightly at best. Imagine in many companies you can walk in at 7am, and be uniformed and working on site by time the 8am shift comes along. Protecting property and life just by providing a copy of your ID and a willingness to go to work immediately. A dream for those with no options, and a nightmare for those whose property and lives are in the balance.

As I’ve stated in a previous article (Use of Force as it relates to firearms), there is a way all law enforcement officers, including security, need to size up and address each situation. For each subject action, there is an appropriate officer response, and none include to beat an unarmed man to the ground then continue beating him with kicks to the head and batons raining for chipping in the wrong section. This policy is not even taught standard in most security companies, and even many police officers ignore this despite being taught better. For those who apply it, it can be simple or complex given each situation and I applaud those officers (both security and cjones11292014police) who use their sense and discretion to apply it adequately, for the rest however there needs to be revised and reinforced training. This however needs to go past the area of good will and be mandated by legislation. Ex-National Security Minister Capt. Gary Griffith put forward such legislation at a point, but was ignored by the former AG and the current one has not noticed its importance (or perhaps the draft bill itself) so far. Funny that a potential Bill that was constructed, drenched with sensible and sober safety of the nation, yet ignored by different governments and party supporters because it was yet to hit home.

Now that a popular PNM Councillor has been on the unfortunate end of a collective failure to regulate security, I hope that this will go further than just his personal compensation via law suit and public outcry. This I hope will be used as a pivot point and rallying cry for regulation to be set as to properly and fully functioning laws in place to limit these type of mishaps as soon as possible. This holds the potential to usher in a new age of security for Trinidad and Tobago. Security in first world countries are lucrative careers that some people aim for, rather than just a back up because no other work is available. Why not here? Because we do not value the need for good security personnel until me meet up with the bad ones.

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