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That guard may not offer any real security

Underpaid, undertrained and operating without regulations private security companies may be the biggest threat in the current insecurity the city is facing.

Investors and home owners may just be pouring millions of shillings in exchange of a mere feeling of safety. 

While giving his testimony last month in a case in which four men are accused of sheltering the terrorists who attacked the Westgate Mall last September killing 67 people, Stephen Juma a guard at the mall said he immediately ran for cover when he saw three gunmen jump out of a car.

“When I heard the first shots, I made a radio call for help and took shelter in a nearby compound until when I saw the police come.” 

Market rates

The prices of hiring a private guard ranges from Sh16,000 for one guard for 12 hours a day to as high as Sh40,000.

For extra services like panic buttons, alarm response, security dogs, the price increases depending on what gadgetry is placed.

In return the guards get paid as low as Sh5,000 monthly as the most of the money goes to administration and profits.

Absence of government regulation, widespread unprofessionalism, underpayment of guards and corruption are taking a heavy toll in an industry that is supposed to provide supplementary security to those who can afford. 

A D+ in KCSE, good physical health, and a good height will qualify you to join any security company.

Kennedy Kipkorir, a manager at Lavington security guard disagrees that the poor qualifications of the guards compromises their judgement and ability to provide protection.

“Kenya is not an exception as this is the practice worldwide. One may fail KCSE and has a calling to work in the security industry so he joins it,” he says. 

Frank Gachegwa, the Operations Manager at Fast Response Security insists these are the market rates for this kind of job.

“Being a guard is a job like any other where the rates are determined by a number of factors including skills, experience and education level,” he said.