Evaluating the Effects of Commercialized Security on National Security in Nairobi County, Kenya

Mutonyi Gerald Peter, Merecia Ann Sirera


The growth and expansion of commercialized security markets are as a result of deficiencies in the ability of nations to effectively deliver security-related services. Therefore, a range of players is explicitly looked upon to supplement the supply of security services. Perhaps, the most important of these players are the commercial security firms, which have developed and grown expansively. These firms provide some aspect of security/policing services to their fee-paying consumers aimed at protecting the people and their physical assets, as opposed to public security which is a public good. The commercialized security industry has grown and expanded in Nairobi, Kenya, and offers a range of security services. Despite this development, few studies have examined the effects of these services on national security in Nairobi, Kenya. Using the Security Governance theory and Network Analysis theory, this study sought to understand the subject matter.

The study took on a cross-sectional survey design and was carried out in Nairobi with the adult residents as the target population. A multistage sampling technique was employed to obtain the wards to be studied, whereas those who purchase or manage commercial security services for their organizations and management of the commercial security firms were purposively sampled, the general public and the security guards were systematically sampled. Questionnaires, scheduled interviews, and structured observation were used to collect data. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 25, 2017) was used in data management and analysis. In the analysis, descriptive statistics used included percentages and frequency distribution tables. These descriptive statistics were used to summarize variables into thematic areas and to convey the characteristics of key variables. Inferential statistics used was Multiple Regression analysis to establish relationships, provide predictions, and in concluding.

The results demonstrated that the study identified five effects with each having a unique variance on national security: Visible presence that discourages criminal activities (B = .372, β = .383, P=.001), detection of criminal and harmful activities by the electronic devices (B=.250, β = .257, P = .001), intervention in stopping crime and harm (B = .213, β=.194, P = .001), intelligence on criminal activities through surveillance (B = .176, β= .159, P = .001) and creating a culture of security and crime awareness (B = .086, β = .076, P = .024). Together, both were significant predictors of national security F(5,368) = 111.42, p ˂ .001, R2 = .231.

The study concluded that the effects of commercialized security on national security bring to fore the huge responsibility the industry is endowed with. Consequently, there should be favorable mechanisms in the country that can oversee the continuous development of the industry. The favorable mechanisms can only be realized through the consultation of the stakeholders: the commercial security industry, the citizens, and the state. Thus the study recommended that the Private Security Regulation Authority needs to start implementing some of the requirements that are in the PSRA No. 13 of 2016, which are meant to streamline the industry in terms of the training of the security guards, remunerations of the security guards, minimum requirements for recruitment and working environments. This is so that the country and citizens can benefit from the basis of which the authority was formed. It is expected that the findings of this research will provide data that can be used to inform policy and practice amongst commercial security providers to increase their impact on national security in Kenya. The data can also stimulate the academic community towards more research in the field.


Commercial security; Commercial security services; Manned guarding; Alarms and Electronics; CVIT; Investigation; Security; National Security

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