n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - How effectively is the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) regulating the security industry in South Africa?

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Over the last two decades the South African private security industry has continued to grow at an exceptional rate. So much so that security officers outnumber the public (state) police. Private security companies are also playing an increasingly important role in crime prevention and private policing activities in communities country wide. The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), as the legislated regulatory agency, is expected to regulate all security service providers. Many security service providers know that such a body as 'PSIRA' exists. They have, however, never seen any of its representatives at their workplaces, let alone them carrying out their duties of checking if companies are complying with the regulations as outlined in the PSIRA Act, No.56 of 2001 (hereafter referred to as the Act). According to this Act the following are some of the duties and responsibilities of PSIRA regarding regulating and monitoring of the private security industry: Keeping a database of all security service providers; ensuring that all security service providers comply with the provisions of the Act; determining wages for security officials; issuing of certification; ensuring that a code of conduct is adhered to; penalising service providers not adhering to the Act. This article examines the lack of implementation and enforcement of the legislated oversight requirements prescribed for PSIRA. A small study, comprising of 13 (open-ended) questions, was conducted on the views of respondents on the effectiveness of PSIRA. The questionnaire survey was administered in June 2009 to students attending the Annual BTech Security Risk Management Autumn School as part of their course requirements. The students were randomly selected to participate in the study and were given questionnaires to complete. Thirty-five students participated in the study. These students came from all over South Africa. The study excluded all students not residing in South Africa, as the study was specifically about the South African regulatory agency, namely PSIRA. The study was aimed at two different categories of practitioners, namely: in-house security and contract security.

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