By THE NATION
The new law aims to regulate and raise the standard of security service companies and security guards to ensure increased public safety. It requires a security guard to be a Thai national, aged over 18, not addicted to alcohol or drugs and never convicted of a sex charge. Guards much also obtain a licence to work, which will be valid for three years and can be extended after an assessment of their past performance.
The demonstrators held protest signs that declared many of them would be out of work under the new law, as they had not yet been able to obtain work licences.
If the guards work without meeting the requirements, they could face a charge of serving as a security guard without permission, punishable by up to three months in jail and/or a maximum Bt5,000 fine. Their employers could face the charge of hiring unlicensed guards, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a maximum Bt10,000 fine.
Under this law, the owners of security-guard businesses are required to obtain a renewable operating licence valid for four years, or face a maximum of one year in jail and/or a maximum Bt20,000 fine.
The Royal Thai Police, as registrars in this matter, had previously asked the companies and guards to register with Metropolitan Police Bureau or the respective provincial police chiefs by February 26, undergo a criminal background check, attend certified training (covering basic security-service law and basic security maintenance and including a 40-hour practice component) and obtain the required licences by March 3.
According to the security service business association, about half of Thailand’s current 400,000 security guards nationwide would be affected by the law, due to their failure to secure the licence after falling short of the 40-hour practice requirement.
The association had discussed its concerns with related agencies, including the PM’s Office, the Royal Thai Police, the Labour Ministry and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry in search of solutions. As a result, police were asked to check if there was any room for a grace period to enable those who had not yet completed the 40-hour practice to keep their jobs.
After the National Legislative Assembly passed the bill in August 2015 and the law came into effect on March 4, 2016, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha in November 2016 invoked the all-powerful Article 44 of the interim charter to postpone the implementation date and also amended sections including the educational requirement. The requirement that guards “must complete Mathayom 3 and above” was replaced with “must complete a compulsory education at the time of graduation”, which enabled old guards with Prathom 4 to continue working.
The law was supposed to come into full effect starting February 26 this year, but it was delayed until yesterday to allow completion of the security guard training.