The private security sector in Barbados is calling for a level playing field.
Chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (CASP) Oral Reid is making a case for the private security industry, whose officers outnumber the police force nearly three to one, to receive the same treatment accorded public law enforcers, especially when it comes to training.
Speaking at a CASP first anniversary news conference this morning at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, Reid contended that private security officers who number close to 4,000 provide an essential protective service not only to locals, but visitors as well.
“There is a marked disparity between the training that is provided for –– and I am going to mention a series of names because all of these persons are providing a policing function –– immigration, customs, members of the VAT Office,” said the retired assistant superintendent of police. “Look and see the levels of training that are provided for these individuals and compare that to the training that is available for persons who are members of the private sector.”
Reid said some would argue that Government should have a role to play in ensuring there are standards that must apply to the training of private security officers.
He posed the question: “And shouldn’t Government also be involved in providing some level of funding towards assisting with the training of private security officers, because they are so committed to ensuring safety and security for persons who are not only resident in Barbados but who are visitors to Barbados?”
“If you pursue this point to its logical conclusion, you would therefore see if there was a spike in crime, there is a commensurate response in respect of countries issuing notices to their residents against coming to Barbados,” he added.
Reid said his organization was therefore calling for a standard regime of training that is accredited and would allow the private sector to compete favourably, not only in the region but internationally.
He said such a regime would hold private security practitioners to a higher standard “and not just that you are qualified to open a company . . . hire a couple men and women, . . . put uniforms on them and . . . send them out there to masquerade as security officers when they are really not.”