The Association of Private Security Organisations of Ghana (ASPOG) has called for a comprehensive law to regulate the operations of private security companies in the country.
According to the association, the passage of the law would ensure that private security firms conform to international standards and best practices.
“We think there should be some sanity in the business but that cannot happen if we do not have a policy framework and a regulator,” the Chairman of the association, Captain Anthony Kwesi Acquah (retd.), told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
The operations of private security companies have been left unregulated for years, which have created a vacuum for private security operators to remain unchecked.
Out of the 1,053 companies licensed to provide private security services in the country, only 60 of them belong to the group.
According to Capt. Acquah, the absence of a specific regulatory policy for the private security industry in Ghana had resulted in the reliance on a minor footnote in the Police Service Act, 1970 (Act 350) for the registration and regulation of private security firms in Ghana.
“The situation is affecting our investment and business interest, as well as eroding investor confidence in the sector and adding to the unemployment woes of Ghana.
“Those that are not our members operate independently and they do whatever they like. This is where the challenge is and it should be of concern to us because this is an industry whose operations border on national security too,” the chairman added.
National Security threat
Capt. Acquah said the current situation was dangerous for national security and disingenuous to investments in the sector.
He said a viable private security sector that was well regulated with a defined scope of service would help reduce bureaucracy in the registration and renewal of licensing processes.
Since 2010, the ASPOG has been pushing for a regulatory framework, which it says will help make the business appealing to investors and their customers.
That push has yielded less results, with the Ministry of the Interior still relying on a footnote in Act 350, for the registration and regulation of private security firms in Ghana.
BUSAC Fund support
To help reduce the bureaucracies and make private security operations appealing to investors, the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund in 2015 joined hands with ASPOG to increase pressure on the government and get it to come out with a policy for the industry.
Currently, a licence to operate a security company cost GH¢5,000 and that is subject to annual renewal at a cost of GH¢2,000.
Beyond taking the money from members, the ministry and its agencies do virtually nothing to support their operations, forcing the members to fend for themselves.
Over the years, Capt. Acquah said, security agencies in the country had relied on members of ASPOG in the fight against crime yet they had failed to push for a regulatory framework to formalise their operations.
For an industry that employs over 20,000 people nationwide and contributes substantially to the internally generated funds of the ministry, it is difficult to understand why the country will be reluctant in regulating its activities.