With a consistent increase in security challenges, the need for reliable security services has become paramount now more than ever. This has resulted in a sudden spike of newly established private security agencies in India, under the robust regulatory framework of the PSARA Act. PSARA stands for Private Security Agency (Regulation) Act of 2005. The Act mandates every security agency to obtain a License from the State Government and fulfill certain compliances to operate legally in India. These include timely commencement of business activities, training security guards and their supervisors, maintaining employee and client records, and conducting antecedent verification of key management personnels. Let’s understand each of these compliances in a more detailed and comprehensive manner.
Compliance with the provisions of the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (PSARA) is not only a legal requirement but also a fundamental pillar in establishing a reputable and trustworthy security agency. Understanding the major PSARA compliances is essential for security agencies to operate within the boundaries of law and maintain the highest standards of professionalism. So, let’s explore the key compliances for security agencies under the PSARA Act, and shed light on the core regulations that these agencies must adhere to throughout their operations
To run a private security agency in India, obtaining a PSARA license from the state government is legally mandatory. For this, you need to ensure the successful filing of a license application along with all the necessary documents on time.
Once you secure the PSARA license, your agency must commence its operations within the next six months. This involves setting up the office premises and deploying security guards to provide services to your clients. The office premises acts as the central hub for administrative tasks and client coordination, while the deployed security guards represent your agency’s front-line in protecting your client’s interests.
As per the PSARA Act, private security agencies must adhere to strict qualifying standards when employing security guards. These standards are set to ensure that security guards are physically fit and capable of carrying out their duties effectively and responsibly.
It is mandatory for every private security agency to employ supervisors for their guards within sixty days of obtaining the PSARA license. As per the PSARA Act, there should be one supervisor to supervise the work of not more than fifteen security guards. However, in situations where security guards are deployed in different premises and supervising them might be impractical for one supervisor, the agency must depute more than one supervisor and ensure that for every six private security guards deployed in a premises, there is one supervisor available for assistance, advice, and supervision.
While hiring Supervisors preference must be given to individuals with a minimum of three years experience in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or State Police, including armed constabularies and Home Guards. This experience requirement ensures that supervisors possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and discipline to effectively lead security guards in handling challenging situations.
Character and antecedent verification form the bedrock of responsible hiring practices within private security agencies. Prior to engaging any person as a security guard or supervisor, conducting a comprehensive verification of their character and antecedents is mandatory. To initiate the verification process, private security agencies may request individuals to furnish character and antecedent verification certificates. These certificates are provided by the individuals themselves and include essential background information, disclosing any past criminal history or involvement in unlawful activities. However, the credibility of these certificates is contingent on the absence of any adverse reports from other reliable sources.
In addition to obtaining certificates, private security agencies have access to electronic databases that play a pivotal role in ensuring thorough verification. The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) and Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) are two databases extensively used for this purpose. To further strengthen the verification process, security agencies can also seek assistance from the Controlling Authority or local police. These entities possess the necessary resources to support the agency in obtaining accurate and up-to-date information about the individuals under consideration. Their collaboration ensures that the character and antecedent verification process is thorough, yielding reliable results for making informed hiring decisions.
The training of security guards is crucial for their competency and effectiveness in providing security services. The Controlling Authority will frame a detailed training syllabus aligned with the National Skill Qualification Framework for security guards. Entry-level security guards are required to undergo a minimum of one hundred hours of classroom instruction and sixty hours of field training spread over at least twenty working days. Ex-servicemen and former police personnel may attend a condensed course of a minimum of forty hours of classroom instructions and sixteen hours of field training over at least seven working days. The training covers various subjects, including public conduct, physical fitness, different aspects of security (e.g., asset security, building/apartment security), fire-fighting, crowd control, first-aid, crisis response, defensive driving (optional), and more.
Every private security agency is mandated to maintain a register containing essential information, including the names and addresses of the agency’s management personnels, security guards, and supervisors, their salaries, and their photographs. In addition to this, registers also have to be maintained for recording the names and addresses of the clients. Beyond this, the Controlling Authority reserves the right to request additional information about supervisors and guards, if need be, to verify compliance with the PSARA Act and ensure that all their qualifications are in adherence to prescribed standards.
Private security agencies are also required to issue photo identity cards to all employed security guards and supervisors. These identity cards serve as a means of their identification, allowing clients and relevant authorities to verify their credentials easily. Additionally, guards and supervisors must always carry their identity cards with them and produce whenever demanded for inspection by the Controlling Authority.
The significance of PSARA compliance reverberates throughout the security industry, shaping the way agencies operate, interact with clients, and uphold professionalism. There are several compelling reasons why PSARA compliance holds paramount importance for private security agencies. From legal adherence and risk mitigation to building a reputation of trust and excellence, let us delve deeper into the key aspects that make PSARA compliance an indispensable pathway to the success of Private Security Agencies in India.
Non-compliance with the PSARA Act can lead to hefty penalties and severe punishments for the licensee. The provisions related to Non-Compliance are mentioned in Section 20 of the Act. As per this section, if a private security agency fails to obtain the PSARA License or operates without it, it shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term extending up to one year, or with fine which may extend to Rs.25,000, or with both. Additionally, if the licensee fails to fulfill any of the compliances as discussed above, it shall be punishable with a fine which may extend to Rs.25,000, in addition to suspension or cancellation of the license by the Controlling Authority.
PSARA compliance is the foundation of a successful and legally compliant private security agency in India. By adhering to the Act’s requirements, agencies can operate with professionalism, instill confidence in clients, and prioritize community safety. From obtaining the necessary license to maintaining essential registers and records, every aspect of PSARA compliance contributes to building a trustworthy and reliable security business. It is crucial for agencies to recognize the significance of these compliances, as non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, financial liabilities, and even the revocation of their license. Embracing PSARA compliance as a top priority ensures agencies operate responsibly and maintain an esteemed reputation within the industry.