Chair: Prof Martin Gill

Panellists:
Annette Kimitei – Deputy Secretary at WISE and Governing Council member of the Private Security Industry Association (PSIA)
Captain (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang Ekitela – Senior Advisory Council Member in ACISMP
Kenwilliams Nyakomitah, CFIP, Rcrim – Event and Security Director, Professional Criminologists Association of Kenya 
Lt Col (Rtd) Mathews Waria – Council Member Association of Corporate and Industrial Security Management Professionals and Certified Fraud Examiner

Key points

Anette Kimitei sets a context for the discussion in noting that having started on 13 March, there were now more than 18,000 positive coronavirus cases spread (unevenly) across the country, she felt that in some instances at least security was behind other professionals. You will hear her talk about the problems faced by security officers on the frontline. They are required to check temperatures, wear a mask and check others are, ensure the correct washing of hands, touch equipment and people’s possessions say during searches, ensure social distancing, be responsible for isolating those with suspected high temperatures. All this exposes them to the virus (in fact the second most risky group to health workers). It places them in situations where they are more likely to suffer from customers’ complaints (when say they (legitimately) refuse them access). In a different way security training has been disrupted, so have procedures for recruitment, discipline, providing uniforms and then cleaning them,  meetings have been disrupted, so have briefings between shifts, in a different way so have meetings with clients and not everyone is appreciative of these challenges. Moreover, Kenyans are holding on to old ways, the path to digital has not been easy or quick, the use of pencil and paper and the widespread falsifying of information complicates track and trace. You will also hear Annette discussing the Kenya Private Security Act, about which she states there is a lack of awareness and some naivety about how to implement its requirements. For example, what should security companies do when clients don’t want to pay for the required changes? There is a lack of insurance available so what should security do?

Kenwilliams Nyakomitah notes that Covid-19 has been a game changer, the order of the old world has been torn apart, and the security sector has been left with a serious budget deficit to cope with the new world that is emerging. Building on the dangers faced by frontline workers, he notes that many get to work on public transport. In the new order business continuity plans are being enhanced, but that all in all he feels that security sector has stood firm, indeed is receiving more trust. The sector operates in a world still where there is a lack of automated systems, where pre-existing threats such as terrorism are still in evidence. This is why the regulator is so important. There are issues to be resolved still, including the overlap with other regulators such as safety (door open for the latter can be a security risk for the former). He notes many on the frontline are doing work they are not supposed to do, it leads to the potential for complaints and he underlines the ever-increasing importance of service level agreements (and adhering to them).

Lt Col (Rtd) Mathews Waria notes that the impact of Cpvid-19 has been different in different sectors, it has affected health of course but amongst others he references are the social and the economy where he points to massive levels of unemployment, many clients of the security sector have downsized. Crime has increased and he points specifically to domestic violence and rape; there is a need for more awareness and discusses the best forms of achieving this, the mass media, on-line or tv? In response he calls for the empowering of local administrations to act against the virus locally; linking security agencies together and with other agencies and with the government; engaging with new technology; controlling borders including locking airports; effectively enforcing the restrictions imposed in lockdowns; generating new polices to guide actions in new areas of activity;  thinking about how best to license new technologies that are emerging; and being better informed at how best to manage Covid-19 and all the challenges it provides.

Captain (Rtd) Augustine Lokwang focusses his attention on the policy space, and you will hear him examine the ways in which the government and private security sector can work together. He is positive about the ways in which the Kenya Private Security Act set about reforming private security and laments the reality that Covid-19 has disrupted efforts while at the same time posed new challenges; the government and the regulator have not been immune from the requirement to learn as the crisis develops. For Augustine the official response has been good and he points to some of the successes of the private security sector. There is a need to coordinate efforts more effectively and more information is needed. Ultimately the regulator needs to work on getting buy-in, there is not shortcut to achieving that as regulators all over the world are being similarly challenged.

These are challenging times that are being felt across the globe and Africa is suffering, including Kenya. In some ways they are being felt more acutely here than some other areas, and the work of the new regulator is at best work in process, but there is optimism about it. The challenges for security are to highlight its problems in a way that gets engagement, the evidence from this panel is that Kenyans are up for it.

This webinar is organised as part of the Kenya Outstanding Security Performance Awards initiative. You can find out more about these awards at https://ke.theospas.com/

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