We are not so safe, after all

With more than 250 unregistered security agencies, much transparency is required in the city’s private security scene.

Published: 28th February 2012 01:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:06 PM   |  A+A-

WHAT

(Express News Photo)

HYDERABAD: A week after the incident at Manapurram’s Hyderabad office, where a hired private security guard opened fire in an inebriated condition, several loopholes in the city’s private security establishment have surfaced, leading one to wonder if the case of handing the locker keys to the wrong person, is closer to home than expected.

With 500 plus security agencies, mostly small players, and a good 50 per cent among them unregistered, either with the Andhra Pradesh Private Security Association (APPSA) or with the City Security Wing (CSW), there’s enough reason for establishments to further jack up precautions put in place to regulate the guards at work.

Amar Nath, executive director of Agile Security and vice-president of APPSA admitted presence of unregistered agencies in the city and state, but was more optimistic about the background checks being done on the hired guards. “People from Bihar, UP and Assam constitute the bulk of the guards recruited in Hyderabad. There are recruiting agencies in their native state who recommend the guards to agencies here only after a thorough background check. There’s no cause for concern if the guards are hired from registered agencies,” he said. “We conduct separate background checks on armed and unarmed guards, and the number of cases against guards in the city are not very significant to cause worry,” he added.

However, ACP (Law & Order), Amit Garg, was a bit skeptical about the whole recruitment process. “Just last month, our task force registered at least 30 cases against security guards who possessed arms without proper registration or issuing certificate. After this, we have asked all agencies to ask new recruits to furnish a letter from the respective arms license authority before hiring them. We have also increased the monitoring of armed and unarmed guards in the city,” he said.

Currently, the police have been unable to make mandatory the need for tie-ups between security agencies and the department, since the Security Services Act is yet to be passed.

Training? What is  that?

Even as security agencies claim to provide training and ensuring ID checks, guards manning different buildings in the city have expressed ignorance of such precautionary measures in place. “I came here on the basis of a recommendation by a cousin of mine, who’s been a guard here for close to 10 years. The agency just recruited me without doing any background check or asking for any ID proof. Why, what’s the problem in that?” asked a security guard near Khairatabad, clearly in the dark about the rules to be followed. Another guard stationed near Secunderabad Railway Station disclosed that neither his agency nor the owner of the building where works had asked for any ID proof. “Training for two months? Ha!” he sniggered, before opening the door to an unsuspecting customer.

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