Five things every company needs to know about security in Papua New Guinea

Welcome,

Businesses routinely cite security as their single most important challenge in Papua New Guinea. John Bellinger, CEO of PNG’s largest security firm, Guard Dog Group, provides five tips that can help any business manage its exposure to security risk in PNG.

Guard Dog Armoured Division Source: Guard Dog

Guard Dog’s Armoured Division. Source: Guard Dog

The security sector in Papua New Guinea is large. It has combined annual revenues in excess of 1 billion kina and it is the nation’s third largest employer. There are over 400 registered security companies in PNG, employing some 30,000 people.

It is estimated that four out of five businesses in PNG employ security staff, either directly or indirectly.

It is not hard to see why.

Common internal security problems for businesses include: the theft of property without force, misappropriation of funds, breaking and entering events, arson and, more recently, kidnapping of staff.

External threats include: car jackings, theft of vehicles, armed holdups (including valuable cargo transported by security firms), public fighting, random breaking-and-entering, nuisance-value street pickpocketing, and violence resulting from the payback mentality present in PNG society.

In addition to physical and personal threats, there is also an increased incidence of sophisticated IT rorts.

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So, what can be done to minimise exposure to such risk?

  1. You need a proper risk management plan
Guard dog. Source: Guard Dog

Trained guard dog. Source: Guard Dog

The first step is for management to recognise that risk management is an important part of your business planning.

You need a security risk management plan, which should be a detailed response to a full assessment of the security risks facing your business. It should also determine which security measures you undertake in-house, and which you outsource.

The plan should:

  • be integrated with your other risk-related policies, such as health & safety, financial, political and market risks
  • be factored into your overall decision-making processes
  • be systematic and clearly structured, with policies and controls
  • account for human factors
  • be dynamic and adaptable to change
  • be continuously monitored and improved
  1. Security is about protecting your staff as well as your business assets.

Often, businesses use secure transport services that are fitted with GPS Tracking units with a monitoring and response capability. These are provided by security operators to ensure that staff members are picked up and dropped off safely. It is a better option than exposing employees, especially female employees, to the dangers of the public motor vehicle (PMV) system.

Other options to be considered are: insurance for medical and personal accident, and subsidised accommodation, which in many cases has become more a necessity than a privilege.

There is usually a need for secure transport and escorts for senior management. This service is in high demand in Port Moresby and Lae, and on longer journeys.

  1. Foster staff loyalty and understanding
Guard Dog security monitor. Source: Guard Dog

Guard Dog security monitor. Source: Guard Dog

Spending time to create a positive workplace is invariably time well spent. ‘Train people so that they are good enough to leave and treat them well enough so that they don’t want to’ is the relevant maxim. Making the effort to try to understand the cultural differences both within and without of this ‘Land of the Unexpected’ will also be of benefit.

  1. Consider the location of your business or residence.

There are some ‘hotspots’ and no-go areas that should be avoided. Where practical, the first choice should be to work and live in relatively low risk locations. The task of minimising risk in higher risk areas will entail greater costs. These include: the direct or indirect employment of security professionals, electronic security solutions such as alarms, CCTV, radios, vehicle & personal tracking, and software and hardware protection devices.

  1. It is important to seek advice from professionals in the technology risk management field.

Often, there is a desire to implement new controls without having fully examined the effectiveness of what is already in place. If it is possible to upgrade existing controls to an acceptable level, it will save you money.

While law and order risk can seem a daunting topic, especially for new entrants to PNG’s economy, it can be managed and, indeed, is managed successfully by many businesses. Planning is the key.

John Bellinger is the CEO of the Guard Dog Group, which offers integrated solutions to businesses in PNG to minimise their exposure to security risk. It also conducts induction presentations to newcomers to PNG to develop a practical awareness of the risks and how best to manage them.

Comments

  1. Jerry Bauso says

    Very well, one question, Do Guard Dogs train new intakes (Security Personnels) for other Security Companies?

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