China plans to regulate its security service with 3 million employees now, the Ministry of Public Security said Saturday.
According to the ministry's investigation, there are more than 2,500 security companies across the country.
They have become an important force to maintain social stability, the ministry said in a press release, adding that last year they contributed about 222,000 pieces of information to the police and helped seize 162,000 suspects.
"But there exist some problems in the service. For instance, many security guards are not well trained," the ministry said.
In fact, the total number of security guards on service might be larger than the ministry's figure.
The Ministry of Public Security only recognizes security companies run by the police.
But quite a number of security guards are working for property management offices instead of security companies. And there are also "illegal" security companies that are not registered at the police.
An earlier report of Beijing News quoted the Beijing municipal police as saying that about 35,000 security guards are estimated to work for illegal security companies in Beijing.
According to a report compiled by the Beijing Municipal People's Congress Standing Committee, of the city's 200,000 security guards, about 80,000 are working for the police's security companies, 40,000 are hired by companies and organizations for their own security service, 50,000 for property management offices and the rest for "illegal" security companies.
In fact, Beijing only has one security company run by the police, which has 31 branches and about 80 franchises.
Insiders said that no department is to supervise the whole security service. The police do keep cracking down upon illegal security companies but do not has a mechanism to monitor those not working for security companies, for instance, those in property management offices.
In the past year, the city has seen at least five murders involving security guards.
The latest took place on Oct. 14 at Luyuan community in north Beijing. An 18-year-old security guard killed a female resident of the community while attempting to carry out a robbery.
In the five cases, all security guards involved were migrant workers, younger than 20 and without a high school education.
"The industry can not recruit good young men as the salary is very low compared with other jobs," said Zhang Jingwen running a security company in Beijing. A guard earns no more than 1,000 yuan (US$133) a month, even less than a waiter's salary.
The job is regarded as low income and less safe but easy to get, he said, adding that the illegal security companies do not check employees' backgrounds and provide little training.
The ministry said that it is working to include "all types" of security services into its supervision network and tighten the regular monitoring on security companies.
A regulation on security service, being reviewed by the State Council, is also expected to change the situation.
The ministry said earlier that it plans to open the security service to private operators once the regulation is issued.
A licensing system will be imposed on both security companies and guards, the ministry said.
A security company must get approval from the provincial police departments and be registered at the commerce and industry administrations while a guard must meet requirements set by the regulation to get a certificate, it said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2007)