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Covid-19 SOPs should not jeopardize security work


Enforcing COVID-19 protective guidelines in Kampala have taken priority over other security checks.

Covid19 checks replacing security roles

COMMENT | Samson Tinka | I have noticed laxity in the security function, especially with security officers deployed to manage access control of different infrastructures.

The Ugandan police and private guards manning specific entrances and exits now focus only on ensuring COVID-10 SOPs are followed. All you see are checks to ensure hand washing, and temperature is measured.

The usual checking of cars and its occupants for harmful weapons,  has been replaced with temperature measuring and enforcing of masks.

In my view, the shift of priorities has now compromised security of the protected assets and businesses.

The cardinal duty of a security officer at any entry point is to regulate access control through searching the individuals, bags, car boots, obtaining relevant particulars like names, place of residence, reasons for entering, issuing site instructions to al visitors, contractors, vendors etc.

There is a need to find a balance between covid19 enforcement SOPs as well as enforcing the security mandate. In the short run, we may survive with the lapses but in the middle and long run, we may be hit by bad guys.  We must continuously remember that al-Shabaab, ADF, and other related negative forces are still active and looking for that opportunity to hurt us.

Security commanders, deployment officers, inspectors, business owners are reminded to reactivate the security seriousness that is deserved. Security site instructions and standing orders should continue to be effected notwithstanding the need to deal with covid19 preventive measures.

Some of the critical roles of a security officer whether government or private but on duty includes, critical observations, through searching, risk/threat assessment, report writing, alertness, information sharing, quick decision making, keeping in touch with control room or supervisors, etc. these responsibilities must be fulfilled at all times as long as one is on duty.

One security lapse can cause huge losses either of property, cash, disrupt business or any other operations or even cause death. That’s why its ideal to find a fulcrum between covid19 prevention tasks and security roles. Security leaders and managers ought to find a way of training field personnel on how to push both agendas altogether without compromising on any.

Those armed guards must continue to carry their fire arms not to hide them a distance from themselves as they continue taking and recording temperature readings. Its even very dangerous on sites with one security officer at a time doing both tasks. The least should be two guards especially on areas that have high numbers exiting and entering.

As festive season knocks on the door, crime levels rise including house break-ins, bag snatching, car robberies, selling of counterfeit products, expired goods etc. all these instances calls for ready, alert, focused and steady security officer.

According to police crime report 2019 there were 12,919 registered break-ins in 2019 and almost half of those came in the last quarter of the year. Security fraternity should therefore be extremely alert in the last 60 days to the end of the year.

With election calendar currently wide open, the tasks on security personnel are bigger and bigger. Let’s fold hands and raise the security bar.

Covid19 SOPs should not jeopardize security work.


 Samson Tinka is a safety and security expert.

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