Concerns about unlicensed security firms

Police say companies not operating illegally

Representatives of some local
security companies have raised concerns that the law that regulates security
services in Cayman is being ignored by certain operators, in effect punishing
business that have complied with the legislation.

“In my opinion, what’s happening is
exactly what we expected,” said Security Centre President Stuart Bostock. “It’s
just another law on the books that’s not being enforced.”

Royal Cayman Islands Police Service
officials said Tuesday that all security companies in Cayman were operating
properly within the Private Security Services Law (2007). However, they
indicated that some licence renewals for security firms are still outstanding.
Licences for each security company must be renewed each year. 

“We can confirm that a small number
of security companies have not yet been awarded their licenses,” read an RCIPS
statement sent to the Compass. “We are working with other relevant statutory
agencies to ensure compliance with the companies’ obligations under the
relevant statutes as expeditiously as possible.” 

Police did not provide a list of
companies that have not yet registered under the law.

Mr. Bostock said he was aware of at
least two local firms that had not done so and said he has brought these issues
to the attention of police, but he had not received “a satisfactory response”
as of press time.

He said he was trying to obtain a
comprehensive list of licensed security companies in Cayman.

“It should be public information,”
he said. “Anyone should be able to obtain a list of licensed companies on the
Islands because the law was introduced to protect the consumer.”

Katherine Briggs, operations
manager of Cayman Armoured, said she shares the Security Centre’s concerns
about unlicensed operators, but doesn’t agree with Mr. Bostock’s assessment of
the law.

“I just think it was, ‘Oh, here’s a
way for us to generate revenue’,” Mrs. Briggs said.

The Cayman Armoured manager said
the issue of underpayment, mistreatment and other difficulties in the local
security industries are well documented and need to be addressed. 

“But I don’t see the benefit of
(the law) to be honest, if you still have security companies doing the same
stuff they were doing before the law,” she said.

“It’s just unfortunate that we’ve
got another law on our books, just like our health law, and our pension law,
and our labour law, and our immigration law…which seems like a voluntary law
that companies can choose to comply with or not,” Mr. Bostock said.

RCIPS officials provided no further
comments to Caymanian Compass questions on the matter of security licensing.

The Private Security Services Law
(2007) gives the RCIPS commissioner the power to issue and oversee security
guard and security company licences. Under the law, security firms and their
guards must be licensed at the discretion of the RCIPS commissioner.

The police commissioner, or a
designee, can reject any request for a licence if an applicant was disqualified
by the courts, or if there are concerns about the person’s character,
competence or finances.

Security business owners must also
convince the commissioner or his or her designee that they understand modern
security systems, civil rights, and provide suitable training for employees.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. What a joke !

    Because this law was cooked up by certain special interests and isn’t working in their favour, now there’s complaints ? !

    Private security has never been a regulated industry in the Cayman Islands and if the function of private security services had been taken seriously by authorities, it would have been regulated a long time before tbis law was created in 2007, without any community or industry consultation whatsoever.

    This law is only a bunch of words written on paper; there are absolutely no standatds or regulations in it besides what is the discretionary powers of the Commissioner of Police and his staff.

    The RCIPS never requested these powers to oversee the regulation of the private security industry.

    They have enough on their plate in preventing and detecting real crime and keeping the crime rate in the Cayman Islands to as low a level as possible.

    Security guards in the Cayman Islands are nothing more than ‘watchmen’ whose job is to observe and alert the police to any criminal activity they become aware of and their powers of intervention are limited by both the law and a lack of any standards by which to guage physical skills as well as restriction on the use of any kinds of law-enforcement tools, mostly classed as offensive weapons, under British and Caymanian law.

    If the authorities were serious about regulating and standardising private security in the Cayman Islands, they would have creatd a proper regulatory body made up of all stakeholders in the industry, along with the RCIPS and this authority would have the powers necessary to regulate and set standards for performance and compliance within the law.

    These complaints smack of nothing more than ‘sour grapes’ and obviously do not carry much weight with the RCIPS in requesting any ‘crackdown’ in the alleged, non-compliant companies.

    The police have much more important work to do.

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  2. As one person put in an earlier comment, SOUR GRAPES.

    When this law was put in place it was to combat the companies that were paying $3.45 an hour to guards that were being plucked off the streets or illegally working without proper permits. At the same time certain large companies thought that they would get to run the Commissioner and the RCIP on how to govern the law to their advantage and take the smaller companies out. Well they were wrong and now they are complaining.

    Let the RCIPS do their work. They have a very capable team working on the licensing and already companies not needed have gone under. Those that are not licensed yet are operating in good order as the police said but have to go through their process which is understandable.

    It seems to me that certain people just want to have all the power.

    So sad how people just can’t get enough.

    Editor’s note: This comment had to be edited for legal reasons. We would ask readers not to post defamatory statements about individuals in their comments.

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  3. Editor’s note: We ask our readers, again, not to post defamatory comments about individuals on these forums. This comment had to be deleted for legal reasons.

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