Can we trust our security guards ? by Amrita Singh 20 Aug, 2006, 01:16 hrs IST source: timesofindia.indatimes.com NEW DELHI: The recent fracas outside Shah Rukh Khan's home throws a question mark over how private security guards are hired and verified. In this incident for instance, no background checks were made on Yatendra Singh Chauhan before he was recruited. Though Chauhan's case could be a one-off incident, the majority of private security agencies in the Capital do not verify arms licenses of their security staff or get them verified from the police. "Most of the time a guard working in Delhi has a gun license obtained in Manipur or Nagaland. This makes it very difficult for us to send our staff there and verify his antecedents," says Sanjeev Kumar, branch manager, Morpheous Security Agency. He adds, "We submit all the documents to the police but the police say they have other important work. They almost never get back to us and so we have to make do with the receipt that the police has received the verification forms." The result, as Chauhan proved, can be very dangerous because it effectively means there is no provision to verify the antecedents of security guards. "Currently, even people with a criminal background can get a job as a security guard," says Joginder Kumar, owner of an private security agency in Delhi. According to a recent study, demand for security guards over the last two years has increased by more than 100%. Because of the construction and industrial boom in the Capital, estimates suggest there are around 50,000 private security guards currently operating in the city. "Opening a security agency is the easiest business these days. All one has to do is open a small office and start recruiting people from the streets," says Yoginder Yadav, owner of Sangam Detective and Security System Limited. Yadav says very often people with little training in security are employed. As he adds, "Some agencies put their guards on on a week's training that teaches only how to salute people and issue gate challans." However, things could soon change with a to be introduced police directive. Arun Kampani, DCP (Licensing) says, "We will start implementing the Private Security Guards Regulation Act within a month. This Act will make it mandatory for all private security agencies to obtain a license from the police before they can start their work." Kampani feels the Act will regulate the security business and thus become a boon both for security guards and citizens.