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I have been a security guard for the past 20 years and, after such a considerable length of time, I think that I should be able to speak with some knowledge of this field.
Though I agree that a “Use of Force” policy is necessary for all security agencies and firms, there are a few other issues that should be addressed as well.
First of all, there is legislation which governs and outlines the powers granted any security guard licensed under the Private Investigator And Security Guard Act.
This piece of legislation, for the most part, has not been amended since its inception. This is shocking as we observe, even here in Barbados, the level of certain types of crime. Those that involve firearms especially are on the increase.
Any “Use of Force” policy should be approved by the private investigator and security guard board before being implemented as part of any security guard’s duties and responsibilities.
In fact, the other considerations that should come into focus are consultation with the union of which security guards may be members and also the Safety And Health At Work Act, which may come into question as well. Legislation has obviously not kept pace with the growing need for security in Barbados.
There are some security agencies in Barbados that have great difficulty in acquiring firearm licences for their security guards to perform cash in transit duties. So some agencies have resorted to hiring individuals who already possess firearm licences as citizens of Barbados.
There must be cause for concern if, in an event of a lethal force encounter, a security guard uses his firearm licensed to him as a citizen to enforce the company’s “Use of Force” policy.
No security officer should have to apply for a firearm licence as an ordinary citizen would. The Private Investigator and Security Guard Board should be making this application to the Commissioner of Police on behalf of any security agency that has a working “Use of Force” policy approved by it and whose officers can meet the requirements in terms of health and proficiency under the Firearms Act.
– RYAN H. DRAKES