Inspector cracks down on Security Companies

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 9            February 28, 2008

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Inspector Andrew Ramirez, Support Staff Officer, has been on a countrywide visit to all Security Companies and on Tuesday, February 26th, he along with Officer in Command of the San Pedro Police Department met with security companies attached to La Isla Bonita at a meeting held at OIC Arnold’s office.

    During the meeting, those in attendance were notified of the importance of registering their companies and also of the requirement to process licenses for Company Gun License, Security Firm License and Security Guard License. According to Inspector Ramirez, this meeting was held in light of the upcoming April Security Companies inspections. Ramirez states that quarterly inspections should be held in all districts in order to ascertain that all Security Companies are registered and abiding by the set laws.

    In San Pedro, no previous inspections have been held but Inspector Ramirez assures the public that since his promotion to the post in June of 2007, this has become a priority to him. Since then 17 companies have been inspected throughout Belize City, Orange Walk and Cayo. This work has been carried out through the months of January and February and come April, San Pedro will receive its due inspection.

    The biggest problem according to Inspector Ramirez is the fact that Security Companies continue to operate without being properly registered. All Security Companies that are in full operation are reminded that although fully registered, authorization to use a firearm requires an additional process. In San Pedro Town, five companies are officially registered and include LAG, S&A, Waight, Roches and KBH and of these five, only LAG and KBH are registered to use firearms. If any other company is in use of a firearm, they are liable to arrested, charged and fined for keeping an unlicensed firearm.

    To get registered for the use of a firearm, a company must provide the following:

  • Full particulars of firearms intended to have (information is to be sent on a routine firearm application form
  • A police inspection report as to the manner in which the firearm will be secured
  • Applicant needs to show proof as to the manner the guards will be trained in the handling of firearms (the Police Commissioner is the sole person responsible to give a proficiency test which is in accordance with the Laws of Belize
  • Copy of company registration (trade license)
  • Satisfactory proof of financial capability
  • Applicant needs to provide adequate insurance coverage (life and/or injury) in respect of its employees and day-to-day operations
  • A photograph of the uniform the company intends in using
  • Full particulars of manager applying for license
  • Valid police records, work permits if necessary, two recent passport size photographs, Police Special Branch vetting if the person will be required to handle firearms.
    Inspector Ramirez explains that any company that is licensed to use a firearm, must also abide by the rules set forth. “During inspections and through various reports, we have discovered that some of the firearms are ‘lent’ out by security guards to their criminal friends. These friends, in turn, use the guns in illegal activity,” stated Inspector Ramirez. In order to minimize the occurrence of this, when a company is applying for a Company Gun, meaning various people using the licensed firearm, a list of the names authorized to use it must be submitted. These names, after a background check, proper vetting and approval by the Police Commissioner, will be entered into the system where it will be kept for reference. No other person may at any time, use the firearm. Violation of this may result in the company getting fined a minimum $5,000 and have their licenses suspended or revoked, based on the discretion of the Commissioner of Police. Not abiding by the set laws will also involve using the firearm when not on duty. “Registered firearms for Security Companies must only be used when the individual is at work. If the person has the gun in their possession or uses it when not in duty, that is a direct violation of the law.”

    “It is imperative that Security Companies know the laws that govern security. We are trying to promote service oriented policing and only by working with the registered companies can we achieve this. The knowledge of the law is everyone’s business,” he ended. OIC Arnold ended by reiterating the importance that the companies abide by the set regulations and ask hoteliers to ensure that the companies that they’ve hired have the adequate licensing and registrations.

    Application forms may be found on the web at Chapter 138:01 for May and October. All applications for licenses must be made at the address of the head office. For further information, kindly contact Inspector Andrew Ramirez at (620) 1540 or (822) 2222, extension 26.
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