Friday, March 31, 2017
The Private Security Regulation Authority (PSRA) is working to professionalise the industry through training. The PSRA, which is a statutory body under the Ministry of National Security, has been implementing a series of higher educational and training standards since 2008 to have more qualified security personnel. Executive Director of the PSRA, Roslyn Campbell, told JIS News that the authority is incorporating industry-wide training to ensure that there are measurable standards. “The regulations of the Private Security Act ask for 80 hours of basic training, and on this basis, we were able to develop an educational framework to offer the courses,” Campbell noted.
“Given the growth and demand for guards, one of the current areas of focus for the PSRA is to incrementally improve the educational background and professional competences of the security guards,” she added. Campbell said that as at January 2016, it is mandatory for companies to ensure that security guards receive training and provide evidence of the certification. She noted that the guards receive training in several areas, including customer service, risk management, professional conduct, governance, leadership and critical thinking. The courses, which are internationally accredited, are offered by City and Guilds and HEART/NTA, with certification by the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) and Caribbean Vocational Qualification.
The executive director noted that companies, such as Allied Security and Guardsman Security, have been supporting the move to get the guards trained and to professionalise the industry. “They offer the courses and ensure that the security guard gets the documentation. They are also accredited training organisations, which means that the certification is internationally recognised,” Campbell said. She explained that with the training and certification, guards can look outside of the region to get employment, especially in Europe, Canada, some parts of the United States of American, and the Caribbean. Campbell emphasised that all guards should be given the opportunity and time to take part in the training.
“The training is mandatory, so the guard will need to show that there must be certification before their identification card is renewed. This is how we try to enforce their academic development,” she said. The executive director is encouraging companies to cooperate with the PSRA and to ensure that they give the guards time off to do their training. She said that private security is becoming one of the fastest growing businesses, and lack of training and standards in the field can lead to chaos and even low productivity.
Campbell noted that the PSRA has taken steps to provide a list of approved training programmes for security guards, to make the process easier. The executive director said there are also proposals to bring within the regulatory framework other persons working in sensitive areas that relate to private security, such as vault cashiers, locksmiths and drivers. “We want our men and women to be of world standards, so with the ever-changing nature of technology, they must be ready at all times, hence the push for further training,” she told JIS News. Campbell said discussions are also in progress to bolster the PSRA’s monitoring capacity to identify unregistered private security companies and individuals as well as for the continued monitoring of delinquent private security companies and individuals. For his part, General Manager of Marksman, Major Michael Goulbourne, said the move is a worthwhile venture “The profession is developing and the job has moved beyond just posting a guard to watch a building, and we are encouraging all security businesses to grow with the changing times and new standards,” he told JIS News.
“Professionally trained, certified, and licensed private security guards could change the public’s perception of security guards as a whole,” he said.