Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (CASP) Oral Reid, has pointed to what he said is a wide disparity between wages paid to security officers in the private sector and their public sector colleagues.
Addressing the Safety and Security Training Seminar for security professionals at the UWI Cave Hill campus yesterday, Reid said poor wages and working conditions may have contributed in part to high turnover that has led to the deployment of inexperienced officers who often struggle to meet the demands of the job.
“It’s important that we seek ways in which we can maximize our potential to give our clients value for money. To identify relevant training that would meet the needs of our supervisory staff and support their employee relations skills,” he said.
He said the annual training session, represented by 23 organizations including government departments, aimed to meet those training needs.
“We are also cognizant of the fact that the security industry in Barbados and the region has grown exponentially over the last 20 years. There are now about 4,000 persons employed in the private security industry in Barbados.
“When this is added to the less than 1,200 members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, one recognizes that it takes more than 5,000 security law enforcement practitioners, to manage the security needs of the approximately 280,000 resident Barbadians (and) approximately 300,000 transient visitors to our shores,” he noted.
Reid also told reporters that many security guards are not aware that they have the power to arrest individuals who commit unlawful acts on properties that they are guarding.
Likewise he noted there are some business owners whose first reaction is to call the police when something happens.
“Yes, we must call the Police but the security officer is the first person who would have seen the perpetrator and would know that that is the perpetrator (who) has committed the offence,” he said.
“[The security guard] is going to wait for 15 minutes to half hour for the Police to arrive before they take action. We say that is a deficit that has to be addressed, that is a gap that has to be filled especially, all that is needed is that that officer needs to understand how section nine speaks to him,” Reid added.
CASP-Barbados Chapter consists of 12 board members, all of whom are directly involved in security practice. Membership also includes human resource personnel, risk management and safety specialists, motivational speakers, information technologists and academic researchers.