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08.12.2005 General News

Private security organizations to be re-licensed

By GNA
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Accra, Dec .8, GNA - The Ministry of The Interior would from next year consider the renewal of licences of private security organizations (PSOs) to ensure that they operated according to the legislation that established them.

The operations and activities of some of them over the past few years had created a situation, which had become a source of concern to the public, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of The Interior, said in Accra on Thursday.

He was speaking at the opening of a day's consultative stakeholders' conference to critically examine a draft policy document on PSOs and to review the legislative instrument establishing them. Participants are drawn from the Police, National Security, Bureau of National Investigations, Immigration Service and the Association of Private Security Organizations in Ghana (APSOG). Papa Owusu Ankomah said it was in recognition of the role of PSOs that the Government was desirous of putting in place appropriate measures to sanitise the private security industry for them to continue to provide quality services as well as assist the Police in maintaining security in the country.

PSOs complement the efforts of the Police in combating crime, provision of guard services for numerous individual homes, offices, factories, mining companies and the provision of specialized security services for banks and other financial institutions. The Minister said a comprehensive database on PSOs was being compiled and would be updated regularly with the licensing of new companies to ensure that the Ministry was fully aware of all those in the industry.

The Ministry, he said, would collaborate with APSOG and any similar body in obtaining the necessary information on the industry. He called on the APSOG to organize itself in order for other operators in the industry to see the need to register with it. Papa Owusu Ankomah said that it was expected that after the deliberations, a policy document and a proposal for a new Legislative Instrument would have evolved that would be responsive to the dynamics of the industry, which was being increasingly propelled by the state-of-the-art information and communication technology and also influenced by the ever-changing geo-politics.

He said the outcome should also address all prevailing concerns and challenges as well as future ones relating to the industry. "Ultimately, we should develop a system which will ensure that the industry is well sensitised so that the owners of private security companies, their employees, government, clients and indeed the general public are fully satisfied."

He urged the PSO's to refrain from using uniforms that bore close resemblance to those worn by the State security agencies, and advised that the Inspector-General of Police should clear all accoutrements before being used.

The Minister suggested the PSOs to meet with the Police Administration to enhance cooperation. Issues to be addressed by the conference include, the policy issues, constraints, threats and opportunities related to PSOs.

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