Friday, August 27, 2010

The Director General Directorate of Intelligence and Security during the Security Association of Botswana Annual General Meeting, Oasis Motel

source: Republic of Botswana TAUTONA TIMES of 15/8/2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


1. It gives me great pleasure to have been given this opportunity to give a keynote address to this august gathering marking the Annual General Meeting of the Security Association of Botswana.

2. May I begin by stating that provision of private security services by members of the Security Association of Botswana (SAB) remains an important undertaking to the broader efforts of maintaining security at all levels of our country. Private security companies do safeguard and protect private interests such as property, equipment, materials, information, personnel and other assets as would be required by the client. The same requirements are expected to be delivered by Public State Security Agencies though now at a National level as opposed to private or individual level.

3. It is therefore important that in discussing their broad role in the security of the State it becomes appropriate that we firstly explore what we mean by private security company while we juxtapose that with public security institutions. We will then discuss how the two sectors could or do complement each other in their general and/or specific efforts towards the maintenance of State Security.

4. By private security companies we would refer to privately owned and run entities primarily for purposes of providing a service and generating profits. Such bodies provide services to a variety of clients such as corporate bodies, individuals and even government. By and large, the overriding and key motivation in this particular industry would be income generation. Public Security institutions refer to State Security agencies which work towards the protection of the citizenry, their rights, lives and property. In this context, the Police are responsible for the enforcement of all written laws. The military is responsible for the protection of national sovereignty and responding to threats thereof. The Intelligence sector is responsible for the detection, identification, investigation and analysis of threats to National Security. The three sectors work in concert and mutually support each other to ensure the realization of the desired levels of National Security.

5. Whilst that is the case it is obviously not always possible for the public agencies to cover all the areas. States are confronted with a multiplicity of threats and continuously challenged by State apparatus and resource constraints stretched by the need to adequately deal with the ever evolving threat environment, particularly the twin threats of terrorism and organized crime. In the same vein, the State has to continuously provide amenities such as social services for its citizenry amid limited and shrinking human and monetary resources. Many a times Governments find themselves in situations where there are compelled to cut costs and downsize their manpower establishments which means fewer and fewer public security officers are employed annually. This presents challenges and leaves gaps in the National Security architecture and creates a number of ungoverned spaces in the national threat environment. It becomes obvious therefore that your members have a significant role to play in the maintenance and provision of security. The quantum increase in the number of security companies in the country is a testimony to the ever increasing demand for security services which, for reasons highlighted above, public institutions are unable to provide. Your efforts should be geared towards the augmenting of public law enforcement efforts.

6. In an effort to fully appreciate how private security companies can support public institutions we will then turn attention to the expected functions of your members. It is my view that security companies would be guided by the broader principles of prevention, deterrence, detection, observation, investigation and reporting. This is done through, among others, site patrols to ensure that elements detrimental to security are impeded, maintain a watch over premises as well as general securing of such facilities. In retail shops, they are to detect and prevent offences generally defined as loss prevention. You are expected, as often engaged, to provide security during major and special events. This is crucial since it requires that you are able to appreciate the threat environment as such sessions present opportunities for those who may wish to cause harm to our National Security. Still within your remit is the provision of in-house security for corporate entities mainly by taking efforts to prevent crime against employees and company property through the enforcement of company laws. One other key function is the conduct of investigations and/or assisting public law enforcers to do the same. These require that you undertake key duties in the area of access control at the entrances of premises to be secured and undertaking of patrols of the same. Access control and patrols remain critical as the first line of defence in the execution of your duties.

7. Given the brief analysis of your duties, it is important that we appreciate that we have a huge challenge before us. We are required to undertake measures to ensure that we successfully deliver on our expectations. This requires the realization that in the ever changing threat environment and security industry we need to realize that partnerships between private and public institutions are important. We need to find ways and means of engaging each other and strengthen partnerships. We are confronted by the same threat environment and any cracks between the two sectors could be fully exploited by unscrupulous elements.

8. Look at the underlying and existing policy instruments particularly those dealing with issues of compliance and standardization. We have to interrogate ourselves and see if we fully adhere to those requirements. What is it that we are currently doing that is detrimental to the industry and the security of our own people, where can we improve? There are policy requirements that we need to adhere to in the execution of our duties and the running of our companies. Non-compliance with laid down regulations could adversely affect our industry.

* Recognize the value of training of our personnel. The industry is people centred and therefore issues of training, wages and career opportunities remain critical. There is a need to ensure that training is standardized across all companies

* Undertake and conduct criminal screening and comprehensive background checks on all prospective employees. This has to be mandatory and carried out as a pre-requisite for employment.

* Ensure that only suitable officers are selected for employment. We cannot afford to cut corners.

9. Having said this, I would like to conclude by underscoring that as the SAB, you are challenged to ensure that particular attention is paid to the areas of recruitment, screening, compliance with laid down rules and regulations, provision of adequate and appropriate management support.

10. Failure to do this would lead to loss of confidence on the industry, compromised credibility and questioned integrity. It will also create opportunities for those that we seek to counter their activities much to the detriment of our National Security. I am particularly raising these issues because in conducting a quick scan of the operating private security companies in Botswana, several important and challenging issues do emerge.

11. First, some members do not follow proper employment procedures. Some companies do employ people of dubious characters and often with criminal records. This is notwithstanding the need to have in your employ individuals of impeachable records and character. The employment of such characters is unacceptable as some of them are bound to access sensitive information by virtue of their employment and are expected to protect such information and other vital installations.

12. Second, the employment of persons without proper identity documents is also a concern. This makes it difficult to trace such persons when the need arises and also you may find that you have actually employed dangerous and wanted criminals. Such people have in the past, found to have passed information to unauthorized individuals and given access into protected areas to dubious characters including terrorists.

13. Related to this, there have also been reports of people that were employed without being required to prove their citizenship while in some cases refugees and illegal immigrants have been employed. These are serious breaches of security and do not help in the provision of effective security service as expected of you.

14. Indications are that some of the breaches are encouraged and/or motivated by your desire to pay your employees low wages. The payment of low wages in itself leads to demoralized staff and people who may want to augment their meagre salaries by engaging in dubious activities. Late payment of salaries or in some cases failure to pay wages also de-motivates your employees. There are also indications that security companies do not provide adequate training to their personnel while some do not have proper uniforms and equipment.

15. Lastly, this would just be a few of the challenges confronting your industry. I urge you to take necessary steps to address some of these issues in order to improve on your key mandate. You will have realized that it is not helpful to your business interests, the security of the state and positive public perceptions of your service if you continue to conduct business in this manner.


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This comment has been removed by the author.

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