How private security guards can fight terror ?

17 10 2008

Interesting links:

Image: Private security personnel check visitors to an information technology company on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Image: A private security guard walks past parked taxis at the city airport in Mumbai.

Image: A private security officer uses a webcam to capture the photograph of a visitor.

Image: Security guards form a cordon outside a hotel in Mumbai.

Image: A private security guard checks patrons outside a cinema hall.

How private security guards can fight terror ?

October 17, 2008

Private security agencies under the aegis of the Central Association for Private Security Industry met Home Minister Shivraj Patil in Bangalore recently and offered their services to help combat terror. Private security personnel say they could help in the fight against terrorism.

Vishwanath Katti, chairman of the Central Association for Private Security Industry (Karnataka chapter) and the managing director of Guardwell Detective Services who was part of the delegation that met Patil told Special Correspondent Vicky Nanjappa how private security personnel could be involved in fighting terror. Click here for the interview

What role do private security personnel want to don in the fight against terror and what did you tell the home minister?

There are more private security guards in any city than police personnel in most cities. It is almost impossible for the police force to be everywhere all the time and this often leads to disaster. We suggested to the home minister that private security personnel apart from doing their usual duties could look a bit further too. They could keep a watch on the movement of people and in case they notice something fishy they could report to the police so that action can be initiated.

Sounds great. But do private security personnel have the expertise to undertake such a job? There is a difference between how a private security guard would react as compared to a policeman.

Yes I am aware of this. This is why we have urged the home minister to act upon our suggestion and direct the police force to train private security guards. We have the manpower but what these men need is training. We requested that the our guards be trained in collecting intelligence and reporting suspicious activity.

In what other ways can private guards contribute?

Apart from collection of intelligence and keeping an eye on the people, private guards could also be trained in disaster management. We have told the home minister about this too. Disaster management is a very important function in case of a terror strike. After every strike, the police do take some time to reach the spot. Private guards, if trained in disaster management, could be of great help the moment there is an attack. They could undertake work like moving the injured to hospital, cordoning off the area until the police reach the spot.

What about bomb disposal?

No no no. We do not want to get into that. This is something that requires a lot of expertise and only the police are equipped to undertake such a job. However in our proposal to the home minister we have suggested that private guards could be trained in the evacuation process. The guards could scan the area for bombs and then immediately report the matter to the disposal squad.

I wanted to ask about the attitude of security guards at malls. One day they check and on other days they don’t. Sometimes the boot of the car is not checked. Metal detectors are there only at the entrance and if one parks his car in the basement and enters the mall through the fire exit, he is not checked.

Yes I know what you are saying. Look, to screen a vehicle completely takes 10 minutes and if guards do that there will be absolute chaos. Regarding more metal detectors and presence of more guards discussions are on. It entirely depends on the client, although I must add that the awareness levels are higher and steps are being taken to address this issue.

So spending ten minutes will add to chaos. What about the chaos if a bomb goes off?

Please understand one thing. The mindset of a person who intends carrying out a strike is different. The fact that there are security personnel and checking is enough to scare off a criminal. He will not enter a place where there are security personnel. Our guards apart from doing the routine checks also keep a close watch on the body language of every person. If a person is found acting suspicious, he will be reported immediately.

How did the home minister react to your suggestions? When does he plan to institute these changes?

Yes the home minister was very positive to all our suggestions. He too said on several occasions that the police need support in fighting terror. However there are certain glitches in the law, which need to be amended if private security personnel are to be involved in such an exercise. He said that he would work on that get back to us soon.

Source: Deccan Herald Interview

‘Private detectives can bolster internal security’

An ace private detective, Kunwar Vikram Singh wears many hats.

He is heading a detective company ‘Lancers’ — engaged in the business since 1980. He is the chairman of the Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) and president of the Association of Private Detectives of India (APDI). Featured in Time, Newsweek, Herald Tribune and The Times, Singh has received investigator of the year 2006 award from the World Association of Detectives (WAD) and in 2007 from the World Investigators Network (WIN).

Singh would be in Bangalore on October 13 and 14 with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, attending the national conference of CAPSI in the city. “With over 55 lakh private security personnel, trained in intelligence gathering skills, we can make a major difference in the internal security of the country,” says Singh. In an interview with Deepak K Upreti of Deccan Herald, Singh talks about the state of private security and detectives and their use in combating terror. Excerpts:

Tell us about the basic contours of private security in India?

The size of private security industry in monetary terms is about Rs 25,000 crore. It is growing at the rate of 35 per cent. As per the statement of the finance minister, security agencies and courier companies are the highest corporate tax payers.

What about the numerical facts?

There are 15,000 guarding companies and the total staff strength is 55 lakh. This is the largest guarding operations in the world. In India, it is much more than the combined strength of the Army, Navy, Air Force and paramilitary forces.

How good are the job opportunities in the industry?

We require one million people each year to fill up vacancies. We are one of the largest job providers in the country in the private sector.

What is the social profile of those joining security agencies?

Almost 80 per cent of guards are from rural areas. By virtue of generating this income, every year 10 lakh families are moving up the poverty line and this fact is not known to even the Planning Commission. They get Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 as salary besides PF, gratuity and pension.

But, how many security companies are providing even basic minimum salaries? Most of the time it is a hire and fire situation…

The need for the Private Security Agency Regulation Act came up because of these anomalies and violations by security agencies, not following guidelines provided by the state governments.

How many states are following the provisions of the Private Security Regulation Act?

This Bill, after being passed by Parliament, was sent to the states. The Centre has framed model rules and now the states would follow, to regulate private security agencies. In Karnataka, it is in the final stages.

As per the Act, who is the controlling authority at the Centre?

The Centre has formed a central regulatory board of seven members — four from the government and three from the trade. Similarly, states will have five members from government and two from the trade with adequate powers.

Is there a move to utilise the huge private security force for internal security too?

I offered to the home minister the services of 50 lakh people for internal security. The IB has 35,000 people while we have 55 lakh standing at shops, offices, etc. Under the Act, guards must get 160 hours of training within 21 days. We asked them to give another 20 hours of training in intelligence gathering, which would give the security set up one crore additional eyes, without spending a single extra penny.

What was your most challenging security task?

Indira Gandhi personally asked me to plan the security of the 1982 Asian Games and I assured that even if a single nail was found missing, I would replace it provided she allowed me to work my way and pay me. She agreed and not a single untoward incident occurred.

Is the government taking the help of private security agencies for the coming commonwealth games?

Yes. Delhi police joint commissioner Aditya Kashyap has been designated to coordinate with the CAPSI. We will take care of training in all kinds of skills.

What has been your high point as a detective?

That was when I solved a 24 million dollar fraud in a Singapore bank in 2005. I identified and arrested the culprit Satwant Singh, a computer expert, at INA market in New Delhi. In fact, he offered me 12 million dollars to set him free.

As a detective how much of prying do you do in family affairs, particularly relating to martial discord?

Quite a lot. I receive around 15 cases a week and we provide the spouses a fool-proof case, at times zeroing in on the bedrooms.