Property Security - The implications of utilizing non-compliant security companies

LYSE COMINS

THE Security Association of South Africa has warned that cheaply priced fly-by-night security companies have become a growing problem nationally as dubious operators seek to make a quick buck out of the high crime rate.SASA KZN chairman Gary Tintinger said the association received calls daily about non-compliant companies that were then reported to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority for legal action.

“While reliable numbers and stats are not available it is a growing problem. Many fly-by-night Security companies, who have identified the security industry as a quick and easy way to make to make money in a crime-ridden country, blatantly ignore the PSIRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority) Act,” He said.

“These non-compliant companies save on costs by using untrained, unscreened and unregistered individuals as security officers, who more often than not are also undocumented foreigners desperate for work.”

Tintinger said operators could easily provide home owners with the lowest quote and undercut compliant companies in the tendering process because they did not comply with the law, paid minimum wages and did not spend money on training.

Tintinger warned home owners to be vigilant when hiring a security company to avoid the pitfalls of using illegal operators.

Collusion

“Consumers can be held liable for being in contravention of the law and can be held personally responsible. You could be fines or face jail time,” he said.

“If you use an illegal provider you are probably getting a sub-standard service and being provided with security officers that are poorly trained, underpaid and exploited. This is a risky situation, as an underpaid security officer is far more susceptible to the temptation of collusion with criminals.”

Tintinger advised home owners to check with PSIRA whether a security company was registered or to contact the association for advice.

“We’re able to assist the private and public sector in vetting a service provider: SASA’s members must be fully compliant with all the industry and national legislation and have supporting documentation independently verified.” He said.

Legitimate

PSIRA spokeswoman Sizwe Zuma said operators had to comply with stringent regulations to be registered, including having proper training at an accredited institution, and not having committed a criminal offense listed in the PSIRA act.

“PSIRA urges all consumers to ensure businesses rendering private security services are legitimate and that the security officers they employ are also duly registered. We are committed to clamp down on all non-complying private security service providers, but we are also relying on consumers to partner with us in ensuring that they only contract service providers with PRISA certificates and who are in good standing with the authority,” she said.

Zuma said it was a criminal offence to offer security services without proper training and registration with PSIRA, and the authority would open a criminal case against company directors if the act was contravened.

“PSIRA emphasises the importance of proper training to ensure security officers are equipped to carry out their duties,” Zuma said.

Registered security service providers were bound by a code of conduct and PSIRA would help police in tracking down any security officer who committed a crime, she said.

To check if a security company is registered, visit PSIRA’s website at www.psira.co.za, click on online services and enter the PSIRA number or ID number of the individual or call PSIRA on 086 133 3850 for assistance. SASA can be contacted on 0800 005 911.

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