'Unorganised security sector poses grave risk'
If you are a decent-looking person, promise to work for a meagre salary or, better still, if you possess a gun licence, you can be easily hired as a security guard. Your credentials, documentation about your background, identity can all take a back seat, say experts.
Vinod Sampat, president of the Cooperative Societies Residents, Users and Welfare Association says it is easy for any person to become a security guard with an unlicensed agency.
"Because they are unlicensed, the agencies do not have a controlling authority and hence, can hire any person who is decent-looking and is willing to work for a low wage, without checking his background. Housing societies do not realise this when they hire such agencies," Sampat says.
Industry experts admit that credentials of security guards are seldom verified by agencies and housing societies.
"Over 80% managing committees do not verify credentials of security guards before hiring them through security agencies. Besides, around 94% housing societies do not know if the security agency even has a licence," he adds.
In July, Powai police arrested Bimal Mehta, owner of Lower Parel-based Human Helping Hands, a recruitment agency for drivers, house-help and watchmen, allegedly for not verifying credentials of an employee before deputing him at a businesswoman's residence.
Experts add that while there is no concrete mechanism to keep a tab on agencies that function without requisite licences, there is no follow-up on licensed agencies once permits have been issued to them by the police.
"We require an independent cell to check on security agencies, and aspects such as the credentials of guards, the training mechanism, wages paid. As of now, this is probably the most unorganised sector and needs to be brought under surveillance immediately as it can be detrimental to people," says Gurcharan Singh, president of the Security Association of India.