Private security industry marks 50 years

The private security industry which marks 50 years was born on May 15, 1956 when two enterprising school leavers, Fuard Uduman and Newton Dassanayake, started the Pettah Watchmen Service ‘with two guards clad in khaki coats and armed with torches, batons and whistles to cover Second Cross Street.’

The Industrial Security Foundation (ISF), in a statement to mark the occasion, said since then private security has expanded steadily and now makes a significant contribution to the national economy.

In recent years the demand for security by virtually all organizations of the private as well as the state sector including schools, hospitals and vital utilities has increased with security threats disrupting normal life.

Law enforcement agencies of the state have had their hands full and private security assumed a new dimension necessitating new training programs and technology to identify and take counter measures against acts of terrorism.
More than 70,000 are employed by 250 registered security providing agencies while a large number of unregistered agencies employ as many persons.

It was in the troubled background of the eighties that a few dedicated security professionals from the established private security agencies of the time and distinguished retired senior officers of the Police and the Armed Services discussed the urgent need to make commercial and industrial security (Private Security) a professionalized service that could be an asset to industry and of assistance to the Police. Out of these deliberations in 1992 was born the Industrial Security Foundation of Sri Lanka.

The ISF Sri Lanka, incorporated by Act No. 51 of 1999 is the only statutory body dedicated to the improvement of the competence and efficiency of private security.
“Being a non-profit organization with limited income generating activities the commemoration events planned by the Foundation will not be extravagant but meaningful to those engaged in security with immeasurable direct and indirect benefits to the national economy and national security,” the statement said .

The series of events that have been planned for the golden anniversary year will include a seminar for the rank and file; a seminar at corporate level; a national seminar on the security of banking/financial institutions with eminent resource personnel local and foreign; and an exhibition of hi-tech security devices.

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