Private Security: Few Douala Companies In Conformity
Though still timid, the 1997 law governing the sector is being implemented.
Operatives of few private security companies in the port city of Douala now dress in yellow uniforms according to the September 16, 2015 decree implementing the 1997 law reorganising activities of the sector. Apart from the uniform that is intended to prevent any confusion between guards and security forces, the 2015 law also obliges private companies to operate legally by obtaining genuine licences, provide insurance and health cover for workers, respect the number of men per region at 1,000, and stop the use of conventional arms, among others.
Few weeks to the September 16, 2016 deadline, most private security companies in Douala are yet to get started. Few companies, including Dobermann, have dressed all their guards in the bright yellow uniforms, while others, including DAK, G4S, Panthere and Africa Security, have distributed the uniform to some guards. According to an operative of one of the private security companies, most companies have distributed the new uniform only to new recruits, while others have done so for their guards serving high-brow neighbourhoods like Bonanjo, Bonapriso and Bali to impress the authorities. Though company officials give out the uniform for free, another worker alleged that his company deducted 5,000 FCFA from his salary when he received the new uniform.
Looking at the old uniforms of some security guards, one has the impression that each guard was entitled to only a pair. A case in point is when a company recently threatened to sack a guard assigned to its premises for his tattered uniform. The company he works for immediately handed him a new uniform before the threat was effected. Meanwhile, security companies that fail to comply with the law after the September 16, 2016 deadline face sanctions ranging from suspension to outright closure.