The Cayman Islands Police Commissioner will be given broad powers to regulate security guard companies and their employees, if a recently-released draft bill is approved by the Legislative Assembly.
According to the Private Security Services Bill (2007), no one would be allowed to operate a security business, act as a security technician or act as a security guard without first getting a licence.
Those licences, according to the legislation, would have to be approved by the commissioner of police. Unspecified application fees would be charged to those seeking licences.
Before a security guard licence is approved, the commissioner or a commissioner’s designee who must be a police officer would have to be satisfied that the person applying for the licence is of good character and competence.
For those seeking to run a security company, the commissioner must also be satisfied that the applicant understands modern security systems, understands civil rights, is able to provide suitable training for employees, and generally has the financial means to run the business.
The commissioner could reject any request for licence if the applicant had been disqualified from holding such a licence by the courts, or if there are concerns about the person’s character, competence, or finances.
Under the proposal, both security business licences and security guard and technician licences would be good for one year, after which the applicant would have to apply for renewal. There are provisions for issuing temporary licences in specific cases, such as someone who’s hired to protect a visitor in Cayman.
The police commissioner would also have the power to suspend or revoke a security licence if the holder is convicted of a criminal offence involving violence or dishonesty.
Rulings made by the commissioner or his designee could be appealed to a court for review.
Anyone who operates a security guard business under the proposed law without first getting a licence could face fines of up to $5,000. People who are employed as security guards or technicians without a licence could be fined up to $1,000.
The bill would also create conditions in the licence to permit security guards to carry certain weapons. However, the Cayman Islands Chief Secretary would first have to approve those weapons for importation and use.
The proposal leaves open the possibility of further regulation and training requirements for security guards who use firearms or other weapons. In the future, the Cayman Islands might also regulate or even prohibit various insignias, uniforms, badges or emblems used by security companies.
Every person licensed under the Private Security Services Bill would have their names kept in a register maintained by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. That register would also include the person’s address, the date the licence was issued, and the details of any court disqualification of a licence-holder.
The proposal was released 25 June as a ‘green paper’ by the government, which means it has not yet been tabled or debated in the Legislative Assembly. The bill could be debated as early as the LA’s next meeting, which is scheduled to start 31 August.
The bill, if passed into law, would apply to security companies already operating in the Cayman Islands. However, those companies would be granted a six month operating licence from the date the proposal is implemented. The same rule would apply for anyone who is working as a security guard or technician.
The proposal would give existing security companies and their employees up to three months after the bill takes effect to apply for a security licence.