The contribution of private companies in security provision for corporate organizations in Nairobi City, Kenya.
According to Gimode, (2001), crime and insecurity are as old as human society. Initially it was the state's responsibility to solely protect its citizens against threats and enhance security, however, over the years we have seen other non-state actors such as private security companies (PSCs) emerge and gain popularity in security provision especially among corporate organisations (Tilly, 1987). Therefore, this study investigated the contributions of private companies in security provision for corporate organizations in Nairobi. The specific objectives of the study endeavored to highlight the services that private security companies offer, extent of customer satisfaction and the challenges that private security companies face in their line of duty. The study also gave suggestions on how PSCs can improve on service delivery. The theory of social control and the division of labour were used to guide the study. The designated area of study was the city of Nairobi and the study was implemented using a cross-sectional survey design where purposive sampling technique was applied. The sample size comprised of 323 security personnel from the selected private security companies who were the main respondents. The study also considered the views of 10 managers and 10 clients of PSCs who were the key respondents. The study objectives were achieved through, both quantitative and qualitative data where questionnaires and interview schedules were the preferred data collection tools. The data collected was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The findings were then presented in tables, percentages, pie charts and graphs. The study findings revealed that the services provided by the PSCs include: manned guarding, dog services, mobile response, close person protection, cash management services, electronic security and security consultation services with majority of the respondents (79%) working as manned guards. The study revealed that perceptions of customer satisfaction among clients were very high with all of them saying that they are satisfied with the services they are receiving from the PSCs serving them. Looking at the same issue from the providers perspective, the private security personnel and management shared the same sentiments as the clients saying that customer satisfaction was high among their clients. The study revealed that PSCs do encounter some challenges in their line of duties that include: long working hours, low pay, lack of adequate working equipment, harassment and abuse from some of the clients and visitors, poor health, armed robberies, poor communication between personnel and clients, doing assignments out of their job description, clocking and shortage of staff in given assignments. Various suggestions were put forward by the PSCs personnel on what can be done in order to improve on service delivery. They include; pay increment, reduction of working hours, provision of adequate working equipment, and deployment of more staff to various sites in order to reduce staff shortages and management prompt intervention to reported challenges. Based on the study findings it was concluded that indeed private security companies do contribute in security provision for corporate organisations through a variety of services tailor made to suit clients security needs. Notably, the characteristics of their personnel are in line with the private security industry associations' requirements thus promoting professionalism in the sector and provision of quality services leading to customer satisfaction. It was also concluded that undeniably the PSCs personnel do encounter some challenges in their line of duty that affect service delivery. In view of the above conclusion the following recommendations were made: that the government through the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of internal security should set mandatory standards that all PSCs should comply with in areas of employment-related issues such as salaries and wage, insurance, vetting and training. The study also recommends that the professional security associations in the country, that is: PSIA and KSIA should come in and help promote self-regulation and professionalism of the sector. Lastly, the study recommends that the government through the ministry of Internal security should establish an effective enforcement mechanism where regular audits and inspections will be conducted in all the PSCs before license renewals in order to get rid of quacks in the industry. Recommendations for further research include: a study to be conducted to shed some light on the roles of the professional security associations in Kenya that is, KSIA and PSIA and a study should also be conducted to establish the impact of the expanding private security industry on crime.