LAHORE - Private security companies are providing over-aged, untrained and even disabled manpower to the citizens for security purposes in sheer violation of ‘The Punjab Private Security Companies (regulation and control) Ordinance, 2002”.

The security companies are bound to provide security guards as per standards set by the ordinance. The candidates selected by the company must be at least 5 feet 2 inches in height, aged between 18 and 55 years, educated not less than 8th grade, and must be healthy by all means.

As per the ordinance, the security companies are also bound to impart training to their staff – at least two weeks to civilians and one week to retired officials of armed and security forces. But no company meets the criterion set by the government.

An official of a reputed security company seeking anonymity said that they impart training of around 30 minutes to their newly selected security guard what to say of other companies.

As per the ordinance, the license of a company could be cancelled which fails to meet the set requirements. Interior Ministry through Punjab Home Department had issued instructions to security companies to impart proper training to their security guards. Internal Security Wing of the Home Department had issued instructions to security companies’ management to arrange elite courses for their staff including training in use of weapons, guard duty, search techniques, bank duty, frisking and others.

The government was of the view that by imparting training and teaching security laws to the private security guards they could play role to combat terrorism.

Most of the private security companies are being run by retired senior army or police officers. Certain agencies operating in the adjoining areas of Lahore were performing too poorly and hiring highly incompetent personnel some of which are even drug addicts.

An advocate, Shehzad said that he hired a guard from a company for the security of his house situated at GT Road in Harbanspora police station limits. After some days a theft incident happened at his residence and because the activity of his guard was suspicious, he was grilled by police. During interrogation he not only confessed to the crime but also told the police that he was involved in other theft case too with the backing of his company supervisor.

An owner of a factory said that how could security guards provided by private companies perform well when they are low paid? He said, at present, companies were charging more than Rs16,000 from customers but paying to a guard only Rs8,000 to 9,000. He said that these low paid employees always seek other ways to increase their income during duty hours to run their kitchen and feed their children.