“Private Security Guarding The Nation”—Kunwar Vikram Singh, Chairman, CAPSI
With police stretched to its limit all over the world, there has been increasing demands for private security guards. Uday India talked to Kunwar Vikram Singh, chairman of Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) and Association of Private Detectives of India (APDI), on the role of private security guards in the changed scenario of looming terror threats everywhere and the police failing to maintain internal security. The interview was conducted against the backdrop of recently concluded 7th Security Leadership Summit in Delhi.
How do you visualize the role of security guards in our country?
See, there is a lurking danger of terror strikes not only in the country, but almost everywhere in the world and police has been on the toes to outdo the terrorists. Moreover, shortage in manpower restricts policing to a large extent, resulting in the compromise of community safety. So, under these circumstances, the private security guards can come to the rescue of internal security to a large extent. The security guards are keeping a constant vigil at every important place, including home, hospital, school, mall, or a big corporate office. Meanwhile, a new chapter has begun after the 7th Security Leadership Summit held in the national capital recently.
How efficient are these security guards?
In India, there is nearly seven million private security guards, which is the largest force in the world and out of this 90 per cent come from rural background. We provide employment to more than 10 lakh people every year. It is a fact that right now the guards are mainly unskilled and poorly paid, but we have requested the Centre and the state governments to impart professional training to them, so that they can play a bigger role in safeguarding the nation. Needless to say, our guards require better wages. We are in touch with Ministry of Labour and Employment, which decides the wages. There is enormous possibility of private security industry or sector to grow today against the backdrop of increasing concern of internal security and the community security has become a major concern of late for people everywhere. The entire police force is now terror-centric and the community security has taken a back seat. It is high time we mobilized our resources to meet the rising threats to our internal security and we have to develop special security skills to meet our challenges. The sooner it is done, the better it is.
How are various private security agencies coping with the ever-increasing demands of security guards?
See, there has been as much as 30 per cent shortfall in the number of guards today, though this sector has been registering a growth rate of over 25 per cent every year. But, this is the situation we can cash on also. There has been increasing demands of security guards not only in India, but also abroad. Indian guards are preferred globally for their honesty and sincerity and are working in countries like the United States, Canada, Britain as well as in the Gulf countries. We can send our youths in manning the security needs of the foreign countries, creating a job opportunity for large number of our people. There has been 1.28 per cent crime rates committed by these guards in India, while we all know that police is one of the most corrupt departments in this country. We are all aware of khaki in terror.
How can the government help this burgeoning sector of private security?
The Parliament has as back as 2005 passed the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act, making it mandatory for all private security agencies to obtain licences. The government with the persuasion of the CAPSI and the APDI, has realised the kind of treatment needed for the growth of this sector, especially after the enactment of Private Security Agency Regulation Act. Even the Prime Minister Employment Programme is very much in loop with us. The various state governments have taken decision to impart professional training to the youths opting to make a career in private security. The Punjab Police and Security Academy has already been imparting training to the youths. The Rajasthan government has opened the Sardar Patel University of Police Security and Criminal Justice at Jodhpur. The varsity will provide diploma, degree and postgraduation in security science and management. There has been another university in Gujarat—Raksha Shakti University, Ahmedabad, which also awards degree and diploma in security related matters. There has been another university in the pipeline—Banda Bahadur Open University of Security Sciences in Punjab, which will start functioning from next year. The point I want to underline here is that the youths of our country can choose security science as a career. There is immense possibility in this field to generate jobs for our people, which can go a long way in improving their socio-economic conditions. This profession is still very much untapped and if nurtured properly, a new vista of opportunity could be opened up. We appreciate the initiatives taken by the National Skill Development Corporation working under the PMO, which will help benchmark the parameters of security-related issues. The move will facilitate standardisation of curriculum and training processes imparted to the private security guards.
Do you think that these guards can even keep a vigil on law and order front?
Why not? You know that in Delhi alone, there are over 3.5 lakh private security guards, while the number of police is barely 70,000. With the spurt in crimes in national capital, the need of more security guards is being felt even more. Today, our guards are present almost everywhere and if their services are taken by the administration, it can help curb crimes to a large extent. We have volunteered to help the administration, let us hope something could be done in this regard. The service of our guards could be taken in collecting intelligence also. Even their service can be quite handy in disaster management. We are proud to say that we are playing a significant role in securing the community. The community security has turned out to be a big concern in every nook and cranny of the world. Even the United Nations has understood the importance of community safety and all governments of the world have realised the necessity of private security today. After two to three years now, there will be lots of changes in security guards that you will see in your vicinity.
By Rajesh Jha