THE BIRTH OF PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES
Private Security Services in Bangladesh evolved not so much from necessity but more from private entrepreneurship of retiring military officers around 1987/1990. A few companies started commercial manned guarding “watch & ward” services to a society long accustomed to Colonial era caretaker duties by men called “ Chowkidars ” & “ Darwans” . It was unthinkable that public protection, individual security and community safety could be privatized solely because it was the role played only by the Police and the law enforcement agencies .
In the late 80s, companies like Securex, Atondro O Nischit, and Shield Bangladesh ventured into this line of business, Late Group Captain Taher Quddus (Retd.), the founding Managing Director of Securex is fondly regarded as the “ Father” of Private Security Services in Bangladesh for his contribution . Others are also credited for their strenuous role as ‘Pioneers’ in the Private Security Services Sector were Late Major Talebul Mowla (Retd), Major Ahsanullah (Retd), Lt Col M.A. Quader, Late Major Syed Mokaddes (Retd), Major Zulfiqar Choudhury (Retd), Lt Col Abdul Latif Khan (Retd), Maj Syed Mizanur Rahman (Retd) & Major Muhammad Akhtaruzzaman (Retd.), MP. These forward-thinking entrepreneurs literally charted the future of the Private Security Service industry in Bangladesh.
By 1990-91, the RMG sector was setting off to a promising start, development was on the rise, Bangladesh’s Financial Institution sector expanded with new private Banks opening up to cater to the new economic activity, creating the need for a structured form of security service. Business, Commerce & industry began to realize the benefits of replacing their internal security requirements with private security company guards, a market demand was created overnight which also allowed the security companies to diversify into other security revenue streams. Cash in Transit services started with the then ANZ- Grindlays bank becoming the first-ever customer. This bestowed responsibility was a recognition of the trust and integrity that the society and the economy inferred on private security companies at the time. Throughout the 90s, private security service spread out all over Bangladesh, “Private Security Guards” became a necessity and more a symbol of “affluence
THE CREATION OF BANGLADESH PROFESSIONAL SECURITY
SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION (BPSSPA)
By the late 90s, Global International Security Companies / Groups started realizing the business potential and soon after the aftermath of “9/11”, the future of Private Security Service industry as an “essential service provider” was unofficially recognized in principle as well as the fact that an auxiliary force had sprouted to assist the Police & law enforcement agencies in conducting peripheral guarding duties. However, the Post 9/11 era saw a real surge of start-ups of a huge number of private security companies and the industry exploded with hundreds of companies sprouting up in an unregulated industry. In 2000, an urgency arose amongst the leading security companies to unite under a common banner, to form an Alliance, a bargaining agent which led to the launch of the Bangladesh Professional Security Service Providers Association (BPSSPA) registered in 2004. The First Office Bearers were as follows:-
- Group Captain Taher Quddus (Retd.) – President
- Lieutenant Colonel S.A. Rashid (Retd.) – Vice President
- Major Syed Asfaque Ahmed (Retd.) – Secretary General
- Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Azam (Retd.) – Member
- Mr. Hasan Ul Islam – Member
- Lieutenant Colonel M.A. Latif Khan (Retd.) – Member
- Major Syed Golam Mokaddes (Retd.) – Member
- Major Zulfiqar H. Chowdhury (Retd.) – Member
- Major Habibus Sakereen (Retd.) – Member
- Mr. Laik Ali – Member
- Brigadier General Sharif Aziz (Retd.) – Member
It was a much required alliance, especially considering the frequent dialogues between the Ministry of Home Affaires and the Association at the time to bring about a positive framework of how the industry should be regulated. In 2006 the Government enacted the Private Security Services Act – 2006 to structure the activities of the PSCs, and it came as a blessing for the Industry, the framework for which security companies still abide by.
Currently due to the lack of proper initiatives taken there isn’t a certified count of the actual number of private security companies in Bangladesh, even though around 2013/14, an English daily newspaper had put the count to 450 security companies with no source of verification, neither is the assumption that there are over 5,00,000 to 7,50,000 security personnel employed in this sector but a conscientious effort and drive is underway from the BPSSPA to arrive at a realistic figure very soon. The study will be divulged in this website in the foreseeable future.
In the three decades of the Private Security Service industry, companies have diversified their activities, service deliveries by looking into customer demand and services such as Investigative Services, Executive/ Close Protection Services, Due Diligence, Emergency Evacuations, Critical/ Remote Area Operations, Event Security, Building, Facilities & Logistical Support, Electronic Automation Security, Maritime Security, Dog Squad Support, Video, Data, and Record Archiving & Management, Custodial services, Remote Surveillance services, antecedents, death, medical admission verifications are taken on as ancillary services by the PSCs. The future of Security is quickly shifting towards AI-based surveillance and Cyber Security, a domain till now managed by IT companies but private security companies are reacting proactively, realizing the need to diversify in a fast-changing world.
THE CURRENT OVERVIEW
The Private Security industry in Bangladesh spawned from the ideas and dreams of a few enterprising military men but today it is recognized as a large employment generator , it is a rapidly growing sector and the Industry proved itself to be a reliant essential services provider throughout this pandemic , with 100 % of manned guarding throughout the country was managed so well with security guards as frontline workers , Cash carrying crews sustaining the flow of cash in our society despite all odds – while the country shut down, the Private Security Companies remained open to serve and yet the industry does not get the recognition it deserves but this has not been a deterrent to those security companies who are constantly striving towards improving service delivery by following self induced standards and following Governmental regulations and this is where Bangladesh Professional Security Services Providers Association plays a big positive role . By guiding its members to comply with Government directives , setting up standards of good practices , working on modules of regulations that benefits the industry as a whole.