For most South Africans utilising the services of a private security provider is a necessary given. Selecting the right company however is often a minefield and unsuspecting residents can sometimes fall for unscrupulous sales tactics.
The Security Industry Alliance (SIA), which represents the interests of all registered private security companies in South Africa, says industry regulations place an explicit legal onus on the consumer of private security services to use only legitimate and registered security service providers. SIA’s Steve Conradie says that consumers can in fact be found guilty of a criminal offence and can be prosecuted for intentionally or negligently using the services of a security business which is non-compliant with the Act.
Adrian Good, General Manager: Subscriber Coastal, ADT Security, says for the average consumer who is perhaps unaware of the legislation, there are a number of important criteria worth checking.
“Obviously the most important first check is whether the company is registered with PSIRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority). A registration certificate to this effect must be made available on request. You equally need to check if all of the employees providing a security service are registered with the Authority? Registration certificates as well as the last PSIRA audit inspection report to this effect must be made available on request as well as the last PSIRA audited inspection report.”
Good says security can have low barriers to entry and employees can be exploited at times by unscrupulous employers. “We’ve seen a number of smaller companies mushrooming up with little or no training for their officers. We believe training is an absolute necessity and it is important to check if all the security officers deployed to provide a security service are in possession of the necessary training certificates from accredited training establishments. If you just take ADT alone, we employ 2 000 highly-trained Reaction Officers and invest heavily in training and development. That definitely brings a level of comfort to our clients who require that level of capability and resource.”
Good says you also need to check if the company you select has a code of conduct which supports the statutory code of conduct applicable to all security service providers. “This is an important protection for you as a consumer.”
Finally it is important to check whether your security provider runs a legitimate business. “You can confirm whether the security business registers for tax and that they can provide their tax clearance certificate and up-to-date contribution.”
“This may seem like a rather tedious check but it will certainly be worth it in the end. Most of the country’s larger private security companies do conform to the above stipulations. This then protects their rights and those of the consumer and assists with maintaining a high service standard in the industry. The private security industry is in fact highly regulated and controlled,” he says.
A number of companies have also started introducing value-added services to clients like, for example, a link to emergency services in the case of a medical emergency as well as other softer services like a meet and greet service for clients arriving home late.
All of these add value to consumers and provide a more secure living environment.
“Remember this is one of the most important decisions you can make and it is worth taking the time to make an empowered and informed decision,” says Good.