New law allows greater use of firearms by security guards but increases regulation of the industry

Dec 6, 2023 | 0 comments

Ecuador’s National Assembly on Tuesday approved the Private Security and Surveillance Law to help bolster the fight against rising crime in the South American country, the legislative body said.

The Assembly passed the law following its second and final debate with 123 votes in favor.

Private security agents protect a visiting dignitary in Quito.

The new law regulates the private security and surveillance industry, including surveillance services for protecting individuals, personal property and assets. Greater regulation is necessary, according to National Police, due to infiltration of some security firms by criminal gangs.

At the same time, the new law allows for increased training of security guards and licenses more guards to carry weapons which, the industry says, is necessary to protect and guarantee the rights of its workers. The law also expands security guards’ right to self-defense, with deadly force if necessary.

Assemblyman Xavier Jurado, from the Assembly’s Sovereignty and Comprehensive Security Commission, argued that the law promotes the fundamental rights to life, work and security within the industry and, at the same time, provides protections against corruption within security forces.

“One of its purposes is to guarantee the regulation of the sector and its coordination with government entities, to contribute to comprehensive security,” he said in a statement released by the assembly. The law also clearly determines the restrictions and penalties applicable to security guards.

Prior to passing the initiative, lawmakers heard from representatives of private security providers, who highlighted the need for a law that regulates the industry for the benefit of public safety.

“The existing regulation has become a tool for job insecurity and endangers workers,” said Diego Arroyo, vice president of Ecuador’s Federation of Private Security Workers. “The new law provides the industry and its employees greater protection at a time of growing threats.

The law comes amid a rise in crime in Ecuador, which has a rate of more than 50 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in such cities as Guayaquil, Manta and Esmeraldas.

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa, who assumed power on Nov. 23, pledged to take a tough stance on crime and, in one of his first measures as president, appointed new top commanders of the National Police and the Armed Forces.

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