The proposed amendments to the Private Security Industry Regulations
There have been amendments to the Regulations for the Private Security Industry. These Regulations address some of the topics dealing with firearms and weapons which may be used by private security officers. Below are some of the issues which the private security industry may be faced with as a result of these amendments.
The biggest problems which may arise from these Regulations coming into effect deals with additions relating to firearms and which firearms may be carried, as well as what can be done to protect security officers and prevent violence.
The proposed Regulations provide additional general duties, such as a firearm may only be issued to be a competent person. This is already stipulated in terms of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act 56 of 2001, however, it is now made a duty in terms of the proposed amendments.
It also broadens what weapons are prohibited for use by a security officer, unless such person is in the CIT (cash-in-transit) industry. These would include the prohibition of semi-automatic rifles. However, the exception to the rule is that security officers may apply to the Central Firearm Register for approval to use a semi-automatic rifle.
These Regulations further stipulate that security services in a school are prohibited from carrying a firearm, unless it is agreed to in writing by the School Governing Body and the Security Company. However, an issue which may arise from this is with whether this is in contravention of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, which states that schools are to be gun-free zones. Further to this, it would need to be determined whether such agreement would actually be valid.
While the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act 181 of 1993 requires that employers have a duty to protect and ensure safety of their employees, one of the biggest issues which the Regulations need to address is how employers would be required to do so if their employees would not be adequately armed.
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