The effectiveness of private security companies in policing crime (A survey of Kwekwe CBD, year 2012-2014).
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The increase in crime and fear of crime, despite an upsurge in the number of private security companies operating in Kwekwe, has been a cause for concern. This research sought to determine the effectiveness of PSCs in policing crime, examine their roles in preventing property crimes, find out factors affecting the effectiveness of these companies in combating crime, and to proffer useful suggestions as remedies to challenges of PSCs. The survey was done in Kwekwe CBD and covered the period ranging from January 2012 to December 2014. Using a descriptive research design, the researcher collected data through the use of questionnaires, interviews and observation. The target population comprised of police officers from Kwekwe Central Police and PISI Kwekwe DHQ, management and security guards from five security companies and property owners in Kwekwe CBD. Stratified and simple random sampling methods were used to come up with 61 respondents for questionnaires from a population of 305, whilst judgemental sampling technique was utilised to draw four interviewees. The data was analysed and presented in the form of tables, pie charts and graphs. The study established that PSCs were mainly focusing on manned guarding, controlling access to private property, surveillance, and protecting assets in transit duties. However, poor training, poor wages and salaries, lack of co-operation between PSCs themselves and with the police, and poor working conditions undermined PSCs’policing activities. The study recommends adequate training, partnerships between PSCs themselves, and with police, favourable working conditions and attractive remuneration be prioritised for PSCs to improve service delivery. Furthermore, modern technologies in securing properties such as CCTVs, and contemporary crime management models such as the Compstat model, should be adopted by PSCs. The research concluded that PSCs were effective in preventing crime, especially through techniques such as manned guarding, armed courier and surveillance services.