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Private Security Regulation Act

The private security industry in Kenya is regulated by the Private Security Regulation Act No. 13 of 2016. The Objective of the Act is to provide for a framework of regulating the industry in accordance with the values and principles laid out in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and to provide a forum of cooperation between the private security services industry and state security agencies,

The Act is binding upon the following categories of persons:

  1. Private security officers
  2. Security guards
  3. Private security service providers
  4. Private security firms, and
  5. Private investigators.

Persons falling under the above categories are mandated to respect, uphold and defend the values and principles enshrined in the Constitution. These include patriotism, rule of law, human dignity, equality, human rights, integrity and non discrimination among others.(Article 10 Constitution of Kenya

Private security providers are further required to respect the principles of national security as outlined by the Constitution.


Private security services mean any of the following services whether performed by an individual or a firm:

  1. Installation of burglar alarms and other protective equipment
  2. Private investigations and consultancy
  3. Car tracking and surveillance
  4. Close circuit television
  5. Provision of guard dog services
  6. Security for cash in transit
  7. Access control installation
  8. Locksmiths, or

Any other private security service as may be determined from time to time by the Private Security Regulatory Authority.

  1. Acknowledge the authority of the Constitution and Parliament over national security,
  2. Always carry out their operations in accordance with the law and with utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  3. Respect the diverse culture of the communities in Kenya
  4. Respect and recognize the role of national security organs in Kenya


Any person or firm offering private security services:

  1. is mandated to seek registration by the Private Security Regulatory Authority.( Section 3)
  2. Any person who engages in the provision of private security services at a fee without having being registered does so unlawfully. (Section 21).
  3.  All security guards, private security officers employed in private security firms and private security providers should be registered. (Section 22)

Registration Process

To get registered, any of those persons should

  • make an application for registration
  • pay the prescribed application fee and
  • satisfy the following requirements:
    • Be a citizen of Kenya or a person who is ordinarily resident in Kenya
    • Be over eighteen years of age
    • Hold at least a primary school certificate
    • Attend training in security matters in an institution accredited by the Private Security Regulatory Authority.
  • Submit a certificate of good conduct issued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Be of sane mind.

Where one previously served in any of the disciplined services, he/she should produce a certificate of discharge and a certificate of clearance from such service.[2]


Certificate of Registration ( Section 25)

Upon successful application an applicant is issued with a certificate of registration by the Private Security Regulatory Authority.

This registration attracts an annual fee and requires annual renewal.


Annual Renewal of License (Section 25)

Annual renewal, is granted upon;

  1.  providing proof of payment of the application fee and
  2. evidence of having undertaken training in security matters of not less than a week in the preceding year.


 The law prohibits private security service firms from employing a private security service provider, a security guard or a trainer who is not registered.[4]


Refusal of Registration

The Private Security Regulatory Authority may reject applications.

Persons who the authority may refuse to grant a license include a person who:

(a) a resolution has been passed or an order has been made by a Court of competent jurisdiction for its winding up;

(b) a Receiver has been appointed for any of its property;

(c) any of its Directors has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period exceeding six months;

(d) has been convicted, during the period of ten years immediately preceding the application, of an offence and fined in accordance with this Act or any other written law; or

(e) it considers that it is not in the national interest to grant a license.


Cancellation of a License

The Private Security Regulatory Authority has powers to revoke licenses and may do so where it is satisfied that:

(a) the licensee has had an order in bankruptcy made against him or her which remains undischarged

(b) the licensee knowingly and willfully gave false information of a material nature in connection with its application for the grant or renewal of its license

(c) the condition upon which the license was originally granted or renewed can no longer be fulfilled by the licensee or

(d) the licensee is convicted of any offence under this Act or any offence and sentenced to a fine exceeding five hundred thousand shillings.



The law allows for foreign ownership and control of businesses providing security services in Kenya. One of the objects of the Private Security Regulation Act is to regulate such ownership and control.

In situations where a foreign company is involved, the law requires that a foreign company is eligible for registration whether as a limited liability company or a partnership in accordance with the laws of Kenya, if it has at least twenty five percent (25%) local shareholding.

However, such an artificial person faces deregistration if it is found that the person is an agent of a foreign government, foreign organisation or an entity that is controlled by a foreign government of a foreign organisation.

Alternatively, a foreigner can choose to form a company in Kenya to provide security services. To establish a company such a person is required to get an alien identification card

An alien identification card is issued by the Directorate of Immigration Services under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. One gets an alien identification card application form from the department’s offices and fills it. One then submits the duly completed form along with valid travel documents and two passport size photographs. At that point one pays the requisite application charges and submits his fingerprints at the Immigration office. You can get the application form for the alien i.d from the Immigration Department’s address in the following website: http://www.immigration.go.ke/downloads/Form-A1-Application%20for%20Registration%20as%20Alien.pdf  After getting the Alien ID, a foreigner should then begin the process of registering a company.

The foreigner should acquire a tax pin from the Kenya Revenue Authority, open a company bank account and submit the tax pin, the company pin, a copy of his passport and a passport photo, registered office address and registered address of each director.

Where a foreigner wishes to open a subsidiary of an existing company, he should (in addition to the above requirements):

Produce a copy of the memorandum of understanding of the parent company, a copy of the certificate of incorporation of the parent company, a breakdown of the shares allocation in the proposed subsidiary and identification documents of the directors in the subsidiary.


A private security service provider is empowered by law to:

  1. Arrest a person who commits an offence within the premises of the service provider. The rights and fundamental freedoms of the arrested person must however not be infringed and he should be handed over to the nearest police station or post immediately. Where a private security service provider or security guard infringes on the rights of an arrested person, the licence to operate will be revoked and the security guard arrested.
  2. Search a person on entry or exit of a building being manned by the security guard or private security service provider. The search is to be conducted responsibly respecting the fundamental freedoms and rights of the individual under search. Any infringement of a right or fundamental freedom in the course of the search attracts a cancellation of the licence and a conviction.
  3. Request a person at the entry of the premises under its jurisdiction to identify themselves, register the time of entrance and exit of the person and retain temporarily the identification document of such person. The law however cautions against the use of the identification document in any other purpose other than identification and requires that the identification document shall be kept in safe custody and returned to the owner at the point of exit. Violation of this requirement is an offence under the law and attracts a conviction.
  4. Report any violation of a written law to the relevant state authority. The law provides that any person who aids or abets the commission of any offence shall be liable for a conviction. The law however accords security guards, private security officers or private security services provider to witness protection.

However the law cautions that the powers of a police officer or member of disciplined service should not be construed to be conferred upon private security service providers.

The law states that a private security provider shall not:

(a) use or allow the use of uniforms similar to any of the uniforms worn by any disciplined forces or any national security organ in Kenya

(b) brand its vehicles in similar colors with any disciplined force or national security organ in Kenya

(c) install communication tools or systems capable of interfering with a communication system used by any disciplined forces or national security organ in Kenya

(d) use the names, logos, initials and emblems similar or resembling those of a national security organ or a disciplined service

(e) use or install equipment that is capable of intercepting or otherwise interfering with another person's communication or

(f) use or install such other equipment as the Cabinet Secretary may from time to time prescribe.

A private security service provider is not allowed to use or allow the use of firearms in rendering of a security service.

There are two levies that private security service providers should be mindful of:

1. Private Security Fidelity Levy

The law states that this levy will be imposed by the Cabinet Secretary on the advice of the Authority on all private security service firms licensed to provide private security services.

The Cabinet Secretary will further determine the different amounts of levy to be paid by individuals and private security firms that are licensed.

2. Private Security Fidelity Fund

The Private Security Fidelity is a fund created to sustain the operations of the Authority and to organize training workshops or seminars for private security providers. It shall have a Board of Trustees whose regulations for qualifications and appointment.

All private security service providers are governed by a Code of Conduct. This Code is legally binding on all security service providers and may be amended from time to time by the Cabinet Secretary. The code is as follows:

A registered private security provider shall—

  1. not accept any contract or act in a manner which violates the national or international law
  2. strive to ensure the highest standards within the private security services industry and support the application of a transparent and fair licensing system throughout the sector, regardless of the size of the individual companies concerned
  3. provide basic training for new employees, where state institutions do not provide it, and internal training systems which shall cover international and national law, cultural sensitivity, first aid and gender issues and further training on a continuous basis
  4. ensure that the staff it engages are recruited according to objective criteria and have
    1. no criminal record
    2. not committed past human rights violations and
    3.  not been dishonorably discharged from state organs that provide security services or similar agencies abroad
  5. develop standard operating procedures and put in place strict and detailed guidelines on the use of minimal force in accordance with international best practices
  6. ensure that employees of private security firms are not subjected to human rights abuses and that services provided to them are examined for their potential impact on human rights
  7. ensure that minimum national standards of health and safety at the employees workplace are maintained, or surpassed, and that risk assessment and prevention is at the highest possible level
  8. cooperate with national law enforcement authorities, providing any information necessary for law enforcement or crime prevention while respecting client confidentiality and without contravening the law
  9. not have any affiliation with political movements, paramilitary or criminal groups, or security agencies in a manner likely to contravene the law or this Code
  10. develop internal systems of governance including a code of conduct, and policies on the recruitment, training, financial and contractual policies and registration of employees, amongst other things, and these systems will be open to public scrutiny at all times
  11. promptly and thoroughly investigate complaints of inappropriate or illegal behaviour by staff, and shall inform the police of these actions when appropriate; and
  12. work with other members of the private security sector and other relevant bodies to promote adherence to this Code and general professionalism across the sector

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