BANGALORE: Chief minister Yeddyurappa in a recent meeting with industrialists and IT/BT heads asked them to strengthen their private security of their organisations and suggested special training for the guards. But these agencies are governed by certain regulations as per an Act passed by the central government in 2005.
The Private Security Regulation Act empowers states to regulate these agencies. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan, among others, have enacted the Bill. The Karnataka government is still processing it, says home minister V S Acharya. It’ll cover about 3 lakh security guards across Karnataka. Currently, all that agencies have to do is get a trade licence and open shop. Most of their guards are not trained to handle even thieves, let alone terrorists. Of the 600 agencies in Bangalore, about 80% don’t provide training for the guards.
The Regulatory Act: As per a sub-section of Rule 3, an officer above the rank of joint secretary of the home ministry should be appointed as the regulating authority for the agency. He is responsible for the entire operation of security agencies in the state and keep a constant check on them.
The agencies must meet several criteria to get a licence which needs to be renewed every five years. If the terms are violated, the government can impose a fine of Rs 25,000 or one-year imprisonment. If these rules are strictly implemented, over 450 agencies now operating will have to shut shop.
Most security agencies ignore the regulations. The police don’t have any control on them and most often there is no accountability at all. After the terror threat, the number of security guards and agencies in Bangalore has increased. According to one estimate of the association of Indian private security agencies, Bangalore has seen a 30% growth in this sector.
There is a huge demand, especially from the IT-BT sector. Hotels too ask for more security personnel, says Vishwanath Shetty, president, Karnataka Security Service Association.
There are about 600 agencies in Karnataka and their annual turnover is about Rs 200 crore. Agencies have also formed quick response teams for emergencies. Some companies use modern equipment like scanners, metal detectors and X-rays and a few higher end agencies use powerful cameras and some agencies are ISO-9000 certified, he said.
Some states like Punjab police train private security guards. The Association of Punjab Private Security Agencies has an agreement with the police. The Karnataka Security Service Association has urged the government to have a similar arrangement.