The Effects of Working Conditions of Private Security Guards on Service Delivery: Case of Secure Force Security Company - Nairobi County
The provision of security remains a fundamental challenge to many states owing to emerging threats that range from terrorism, organized and urban crime and Kenya has not been spared from these. The demand for security has gone up beyond what the state can provide; particularly after the August 1998 Nairobi and Dar es Salaam twin terrorist bombings aimed at the United States of America (USA) embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Pluralisation of policing has seen Private Security Companies (PSCs) emerge as an alternative and complimentary actor to the state security. The key actor in all these companies is the guard. Guards are involved in various duties: guarding, supervision, surveillance, patrols and responding to emergency situations. While guarding, they spent much of their working day patrolling their workplace, allowing and or denying access to and monitoring around their premises. Majority of guards with Kenya‟s private security firms work for long hours a day, are demotivated due to low pay and delays in payment and have no adequate time to take leave. Such conditions may not be conducive for effective service delivery. As such this study focused on the effect of working conditions of the guard on the effectiveness of service delivery in Kenya‟s PSCs. It sought to determine how many working hours guards are engaged in a week and establish the monthly wages paid to them. The study was guided by the Two-Factor Theory (also known as Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory and dual-factor theory) and a descriptive case study design employing qualitative procedures adopted. The researcher used Purposive Sampling Method to arrive at three clusters of guards, clients and guards‟ management. Representative samples were arrived through random sampling and questionnaires administered to key informants. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The study results showed that 98% of the respondents worked for more than 52 hours a week hence are overworked as the maximum number of working hours to ensure optimal productivity of labourer is 52 hours per week. Long working hours was a predominant factor cited as a reason leading to some guards leaving the guarding industry as well as one that will make the current crop of guards look for other forms of employment. Further, the study results have shown that whereas majority of clients pay an average of Kshs 20,001.00 – 30, 000.00 per guard per month, most of the respondents receive monthly salaries ranging between Kshs. 10,000.00 and Kshs. 15,000.00. It was found that any additional allowances received by the guards are hardly enough to meet the daily household demands due to the rising costs of living hence impacting negatively on the respondent‟s service delivery at work. Respondents cited low pay as a reason that made some of their former colleagues leave guarding. This was also cited by clients as a major area that needed urgent attention to improve the quality of guarding. Other than long hours, it was found that most of the private security guards opt to leave their employment due low salaries, lack of career prospects and lack of job satisfaction; generally poor working conditions. This calls for urgent formulation of policies that will improve the working conditions of PSC guards as well as sustaining security in the whole country. This policy framework will not only regulate the working hours and wages earned by guards but also to reign in rogue players to boost the welfare of guards as well as boost national security. This study is useful to policy makers, staff in private security firms, their clients and all working in the security industry.