A new initiative aimed at improving standards across Papua New Guinea’s security industry is being welcomed as a significant step forward.
The security industry in Papua New Guinea is a major employer, and the standards by which it operates influence the maintenance of order across the country.
All security companies in the country are now required to get their staff trained properly and certified, according to Joseph Maras, Director of Training at the National Security Training College in Lae.
‘The industry has commissioned five training institutions to be officially recognised for providing security training for people who work in the industry,’ says Maras.
One of those five institutions is Guard Dog’s National Security Training College (NSTC), based in Lae.
‘NSTC runs a 10-day security course that basically trains a guard to perform their duties according to the law,’ says Maras.
‘The greatest challenge is to change guards’ own attitudes and decision-making.’
The course is also offered to guards from other security companies, and to business houses that employ their own security staff.
Some of the key topic areas in the course relate to criminal law, powers of arrest, what constitutes assault, statement taking and report writing. There are also awareness modules on HIV AIDs, first aid, fire prevention and the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.
Maras says the greatest challenge is to change guards’ own attitudes and decision-making.
‘Major incidents can result from a security guard doing the wrong thing at a security location. They can mistakenly take the law into their own hands.’
For example, he says, instead of catching the perpetrator trying to steal from the premises and handing them over to the police, sometimes security guards might be tempted to issue their own punishments.
‘A minor incident can turn into a major one if the security guard does not utilise the radio to call for help.’
‘Our law protects a person who has committed an offence. We should not dish out punishment ourselves; that should be left to the courts. The police are responsible for enforcing the law and, once an offender has been judged properly and found guilty, then the court will award appropriate punishments.’
Technology training is also an important element of the course.
‘A minor incident can turn into a major one if the security guard does not utilise the radio to call for help or pass on information to get police assistance or get hospitals ready,’ observes Maras.
The NSTC course started in August 2015 and Maras is already detecting signs of improvement.
‘We are trying to change the attitude of our security guards towards themselves.’
‘Guards now know their rights and responsibilities, and they know they must document what has been done wrong properly so police can lay charges and bring offenders before a court.’
The improved training is also intended to change the social status of security guards, who tend to be seen in PNG as uneducated.
‘People can look down on security guards. We are trying to change the attitude of our security guards towards themselves,’ says Maras.
‘We want them to understand that their job is important and, if they do it properly, they can be a role model. We want them to become agents of change.’