Private security guards build up sector of 262,000 employees

Private security guards build up sector of 262,000 employees

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Private security guards build up sector of 262,000 employees

The government plans to replace private guards at stadiums with public servants. AA photo

A new unit to be established to replace private security guards in stadiums and universities has drawn attention to a large sector that employs hundreds of people.

Interior Minister Muammer Güler recently said the private security guards had failed to prevent incidents in stadiums and that they would be replaced by a special unit that will be composed of high school graduates.

In different football matches that drew around 3.5 million spectators last year, 263,438 police officers and 96,593 private security guards were put on duty. He said 243 out of a total 304 incidents took place inside the stadium, adding that private security was "not sufficient" to prevent those incidents from taking place.

Large interest in sector

There are 262,766 private security guards working in Turkey with the permission of governors’ offices, which give permission to private security firms, which are in turn inspected by the Security Directorate.

The sector has been growing in recent years as 864,057 people out of 1.3 million people passed the exams and became eligible to receive the principal training certificate necessary for the sector, Anatolia news agency reported yesterday.

A total of 1,506 private security firms and 744 training institutions have received permission for the activity since 2004, when the law on private security was passed. In the past nine years, 667,866 people have worked as private security guards. Candidates receive non-armed certifications after 90 hours of training, but an armed certification requires a further 30 hours.

Private security guards are stationed in 16 different areas including hospitals, schools, factories, hotels, airports, universities and stadiums. However, the private security guards who carry arms are not allowed to protect education and health institutions and places where alcohol is served.

Private Security Associations Federation President Bülent Perut estimated in a previous interview with Hürriyet Daily News that the rate of private guards who are armed at between 25 and 30 percent.

Perut also said many private security guards complained about the low wages in the security sector.

On May 20, Güler said they would form a new unit for the protection of stadiums and universities. He also said they wanted to complete the legal bases for the regulation by the end of the year.

“We will open a position for staff titled ‘protection officers.’ We will select protection officers who are at least high school graduates, under 28 years old and in ideal physical condition. We will give them academic training for four months and physical training for two months,” said Güler.