China to Beef up Guard Services for Beijing Olympics

Private security in China is only 20 years, still in fledgling stage


China will beef up private security guard services for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Personnel will be trained and investment poured in to the sector, said a senior official with the Beijing Public Security Bureau here Wednesday at the opening of the Beijing International Security Forum.

Gao Yu, deputy director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, said the experience of other Olympics host countries shows that the Games will boost demand for private security services and create new opportunities.

He pointed out that private security services in China, which started only 20 years ago, are still at the fledgling stage and face many problems.

Gao said since the first private security guard service company was set up in Beijing in 1986, the sector had developed rapidly.

According to statistics, there are now two state-owned security guard companies in Beijing but more than 100 private companies with over 1 million staffs. Annual sales for the security guard sector in Beijing are more than one billion yuan (around 125 million U.S. dollars).

"In Beijing, private security guards work closely with police," Gao said.

To host the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Beijing has recruited professional security guards and volunteers and they will be responsible for checking audiences at sports games and keeping order in the stadiums, Gao said.

He said regulations on private security guard services were being prepared, and training manuals on manners and professional skills were being compiled.

Harald Olschok, first vice-president of the European Security Affairs Association, said Germany recruited around 20,000 security guards for the World Cup, with very good results.

"China should encourage security guards to play a role during the Olympic Games and make them an important element in safeguarding public security," he added.

According to Gao, Beijing has selected a group of excellent security guards for the stadiums under construction for 2008 Olympic Games. Recent sports events like the 11th World Woman Softball Title Match also employed security guard companies.

A "Safe Olympics" was one of Beijing's goals when it bid to host the event. Since 2005, private security guards in Beijing have worked at more than 900 important events. At present, a total of 6,103 professional security guards coordinate with police on day-to-day security work in local communities.

Gao said Beijing will use new technologies, such as remote video monitoring, to boost the effectiveness of the security guard sector.

The one-day forum was the first of its kind in China. The forum attracted both public security officials and representatives of private security guard companies from 11 countries and regions.

Statistics show that the turnover of private security guard services in China has now reached 40 million yuan (around 5 million U.S. dollars). China has more than 2,300 private security guard service companies with 1.1 million staff.