Greater regulation coming in this industry
Against the backdrop of concerns about incompetence, lack of training and fragmented standards, public and private sector security operations in Barbados are to come under greater scrutiny.
Chairman of the Barbados branch of the Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (CASP), Oral Reid, told Barbados TODAY this morning, that the process had started towards regulating the industry, including preventing security personnel with shady track records from moving from one company
Reid, who is also chairman of the regional unit of CASP, said regulation would include the introduction of legislation that mandates all security entities to adhere to a minimum recruitment and selection standard.
However, he is suggesting that the industry should still seek to regulate itself, if efforts to have the legislation implemented took too long.
Speaking on the sidelines of the first workshop on Setting Standards In Safety And Security Practice at Courtyard By Marriott, Hastings, Christ Church, Reid disclosed that his association had partnered with the Technical And Vocational Training Board in order to equip and certify security practitioners, who would then be able to apply regionally and internationally accepted occupational standards of security to their operations.
Reid, a retired assistant superintendent of police, also said the practice of people being fired from one company for breaches and being re-employed by a competitor, without the ability to properly check them out, could be a thing of the past. According to him, a local IT expert has been “brought onboard” to design a central data base bank, which would allow security firms to log on and carry out background checks of all personnel.
“There are persons who have cases pending before the law courts. The time has come to see how we can lock down on standards in the industry. At what point do you decide you are going to hire a man. In Barbados, all you have to do is get a police certificate of character. The time has come for persons to be accredited to be hired,” he insisted.
Reid said he would be working with the Ministry of Defence and Security in moving forward on regulating the sector. Talks are also being held with the Barbados Defence Force.
The association head is also concerned about the absence of established use of force policies at some security companies.
“If a secuity person is injured while trying to represent themselves by using any instrument other than what was officially issued by the company, it is a big deal. It has legal implications,” Reid pointed out.
He noted that under the law, security officers and guards are only permitted to use a baton.
The association will also be going all out to ensure that Barbados applied international best practices in the security sector. As a result, CASP has applied to the British Society For Security for membership.
The former assistant superintendent of police is of the view that such affiliation would benefit local personnel in understanding and being aware of what was happening on the global scene.
“We are seeking to align ourselves with this society. The idea also is to show we are involved in best practices of international standards,” he said.
Today’s workshop was attended by security leaders from more than 20 entities in the public and private sectors, including Customs and Excise, Port St Charles, the National Conservation Commission and the Bridgetown Port.