More than five years after an act was passed making it mandatory for all private security guards to undergo training before being recruited by security agencies and posted on duty, most guards in the city are not sufficiently trained and are not adept at handling emergencies.
According to the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005, it is mandatory for private guards to undergo at least 160 hours of training before being posted on duty and undertake an additional five days of training annually. However, officials from the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) said that this rule is often neglected and those who quote low prices are hired by private agencies, putting the safety of city at stake.
Moreover, many times guards are hired without checking their antecedents and many do not meet fitness standards as well – both of which are deemed necessary in the 2005 act. (see box for details).
Deputy commissioner of police (zone 9), Pratap Digavkar, told the Hindustan Times that there while private guards had assisted the police in maintaining order on many occasions, almost 60-80% of security guards in the city were not properly trained. “Many do not even know how to react in emergencies such as crimes and fires,” he said. A senior police official also said that they had come across many instances where security guards were not adequately trained and were unable to take timely action in case of a security breach under their charge
To improve the efficiency of private security guards, the MSSC has written to the state government, asking it to ensure that all security agencies employ only trained guards. The MSSC wants the government to issue a circular to this effect, asking all security agencies to ensure that they only employ trained guards.
Officials have also said that security agencies should ask for a training certificate during recruitment. Additional director general of police and vice chairman and managing director of the MSSC, PK Jain, told the Hindustan Times that he has written to the government about the issue.
According to a rough estimate by the police, there are around 2.5 lakh private security guards in the city.
Digavkar said that if private guards were trained properly, they could be a good source of information for police.
“In zone 9 alone, by interacting with security guards, the crime rate has dropped by 50%. All they need is proper training, motivation and regular interaction with the police,” he said.