by Ateenyi Rachel Kivuna, ABM Associate Attorney

 

Private security companies are increasingly popular in Uganda. But getting them properly registered requires more work than most other types of companies. This article will help make the requirements and processes more clear for those who are interested in starting their own private security company.

 

When a country’s population increases, so do many social problems such as unemployment, corruption, and insecurity. Uganda is no exception to this, and the country is grappling with high levels of unemployment, which causes many youth to turn to a life of crime. Robberies, banks heists, kidnappings, and murder, which often originate from organized crime, are commonplace, and many of the crimes go unsolved. This heightens public feelings of insecurity and mistrust of ordinary security organizations due to the belief that these government institutions have been infiltrated by criminal elements.

 

To overcome this, the government partners with private security organizations to improve the overall security of the country. Today, many middle class people and organizations opt for private security service providers.

 

Registering a private security company is more complicated than registering other companies. By definition, a "Private Security Organization” is one which undertakes private investigations as to facts or as to the character of a person, or one which performs services of watching, guarding or patrolling for the purpose of providing protection against crime.

 

The first step of getting a security company registered is by registering with Registrar of Companies at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, as provided for in the Companies Act of 2O12.

 

Upon registering with the Company Registrar, the second step is obtaining the necessary approvals from the Uganda Police Force as required by the Police (Control of Private Security Organizations) Regulations of 2013. This requirement is mandatory since registration of security entities is done at the recommendation of the Inspector General of Police after an applicant has satisfied all the procedures for registering a private security organization.

 

Third, applications for licensing are made to the Inspector General of Police through the District Commander (DPC). Before a security company is given license to operate in Uganda it is vetted and approved by the district security committee. The considerations taken into account during the vetting of intending security organizations are the name to be registered and the intended use of firearms and other security equipment to be used. Additionally, the District Police Commander instructs the special branch officer and the Criminal Investigations Department to scrutinize the backgrounds of the directors for any criminal records and for capitalization of the company, etc. . . .

 

Once these three steps are completed, the private security company is legally allowed to operate in Uganda.