A civil society group has backed the plan by government to arm private security guards across the country.

Angaza Empowerment Network however says before such a plan is implemented, the government must conduct a military-like training for the guards before they are handed the rifles.

Executive director Derick Ngumu on Saturday told journalists that the sentries should undergo mental checkup to avoid arming people possessing any form of disorder.

He said latest cases of suicide cases within the disciplined service have been attributed to mental disorders and thus having a lot of people with guns would be putting the lives of ordinary Kenyans at risk.

The NGO has been battling insecurity across the country and termed the Friday’s arming announcement by Private Security Regulatory Authority as ‘long overdue’.
security - Why your watchman could soon own a gun

On Friday the Private Security Regulatory Authority announced a plan to arm the guards by July this year.

Director General Fazul Mohamed said the guns will however not be issued to every guard but only those manning key installations upon the integration of their roles and that of the National Police Service.

Fazul said the decision has been approved by the National Security Advisory Committee and the National Security Council.

“Your work now is fully recognised and we are going to have a harmonised coordination between the private security officers and the national security organs,” he said.

Ngumu said the sophisticated training of security guards is to minimize incidents of homicide or suicide by firearm.

He said Police lately are increasingly turning guns on selves.

“The government should ensure effective administration, supervision and high quality trained staff at these security firms. This will boost national security at the malls, airports, hotels, universities, hospitals and entertainment joints,” Ngumu said.

He said fresh vetting of guards must also be taken seriuosly as it will determine the suitability of whether one is fit to handle the gun.

“Their remuneration should be further improved. The guards must have medical cover just like police officers and those in the armed forces,” Ngumu said.

Currently, there are about 500,000 guards belonging to an estimated 1,000 private security firms.

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