THE PENINSULA / By MOBIN PANDIT & MOHAMMED SAEED
DOHA: Private security agencies will now be allowed to buy, import directly or hire arms and ammunitions for use from the Ministry of Interior provided they fulfill a set of strict criteria to be decided by the Interior Minister.
Staff members of a private security agency will, however, require special licences from the Interior Ministry to use a gun.
The manager of a security company which buys or hires weapons will be responsible for their safekeeping.
All private security firms will need special permits from the Interior Ministry to operate.
The manager of such a firm is to be essentially a former Qatari policeman or from any public security agency, including the army, navy or air force.
The Interior Minister can, though, exempt a company from this condition.
The Deputy Emir and Heir Apparent, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, yesterday endorsed a law (No. 19 of 2009) which comes into force after being published in the official gazette.
The law seeks to regulate the working of private security companies. An agency within the Interior Ministry will be responsible for enforcing the law, providing permits to private security firms and regularly monitoring their activities.
Non-Qatari staff members of a private security firm will be required to be minimum 18 years of age and have work experience in a public or private security agency.
They will need to produce a police clearance certificate which must be endorsed by the Qatari embassy in their native countries.
They will undergo special medical checkups at the Interior Ministry and their job contracts will be endorsed by the agency concerned at the Interior Ministry.
A private security company must have a logo and special uniform for their staff, but the uniform should not ape a public security agency’s staff uniform.
Companies will be given permits to operate in areas they specify (Doha, Al Wakra, Al Rayan, for example) and will not be allowed to change the area of their operation without the Interior Ministry’s permission.
The duration of the permit issued to a private security firm will be three years renewable for similar periods thereafter.
A private security firm must be 100 percent Qatari-owned and its owner or owners would have no criminal record or record of any conviction.
No such firm will be allowed to provide security consultancy services.
The law also specifies severe punishment for violations of its provisions which includes jail terms from a month to a year and/or fines ranging from QR20,000 to QR100,000.
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