Private security in Serbia

On 9 November 2018, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the amendments to the Law on Private Security, which were published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 87/18 from 13 November 2018 which will come into force on 21 November 2018.

These amendments stipulate, first of all, the tasks of the steward service, which under the conditions of this law can be performed by individuals who have a license of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for performing these tasks.

It is stipulated with what business activity codes, registered with Serbian Business Registers Agency, a subject may deal in private security services.

There is also a requirement to possess a Control Centre (own or contracted) for certain categories of services, which has been the condition in the previous law, but insufficiently visible in relation to license issuance requirements, given that this condition was in the provisions regulating the control centre.

Inadequate transparency of all conditions for obtaining a license in one specific part of the law, in practice, led to problems and undue extension of licensing procedures, due to the need to meet the “additional requirements”.

Other changes in this regard represent terminological adjustments with the corresponding terms within the law.

Exceptions have been introduced regarding the special conditions for issuing a license in regard to the number of employees for entrepreneurs.

Besides, regulated are conditions for issuing a license for the performance of the private security activities to an individual who is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, has a residence in Serbia, is an adult and have at least secondary education, with no security obstacles, is psychophysically capable, is trained for handling firearms (if work is performed with weapons), has mastered the training and has passed the professional examination.

The law also regulates the type of weapon that can be used in the private security operations, the restrictions on the procurement of weapons are defined more clearly, as is the allocation of security officers which possess a license to work with weapons on the positions where work is to be done with weapons, which has not been clear so far as well as the holding and use of long barrel weapons possessed by the subjects of strategic importance for the Republic of Serbia.

The law prescribes the manner of securing public gatherings, the manner of engaging the stewards, the obligations of the organizer of the gathering, the obligation of private security and the behaviour of the stewards and security officers during the performance of the regular service.

There is an exception that only stewards may maintain order at school events and certain sport events and other public gatherings, in case it is in such way possible to ensure carrying out of a peaceful assembly, in accordance with the law.

Subject to regulation is the organization and manner of operation of the control centre, the operator of the control operator, the patrol intervention team and the obligation to notify the police and other services about the events, in case of a need.

The law prescribes conditions and manner of application of security officers’ authority, and the conditions and manner of use of the means of coercion during the performance of private security operations.

These amendments to the law introduce as a new form of coercion a gas spray, i.e. a tear gas spray, pepper spray and other irritating substances that can be obtained without special permission by Law on Weapons and Ammunition. Considering that use of such substances is milder than use of firearms, and in some situations even milder from use of physical strength, they are prescribed as an mean of coercion, and it is allowed to security personnel to use them at work, in such a manner and under the conditions prescribed by this law.

The provisions regarding the issuance of ID for security officers are harmonized with the provisions of the Labour Act, so that such amendments create a possibility that a company or entrepreneur may request the issuance of IDs for all employees (in and out of employment), which, thus far, was not the case when engaging out-of-employment staff.

Companies and entrepreneurs for private security whose vehicles are equipped with white rotary or blinking lights are now obliged to use a yellow colour lights instead of white to make a clear distinction in relation to services that can use white lights.

New records are introduced for companies, entrepreneurs and school institutions that have the authority to conduct training for performing private security activities, such as: Records on lecturers and controllers of professional training; Evidence on trainees; Professional Training Diary and Evidence of issued Certificates on Trained Personnel.

Under the title: “Conformity assessment of private security services” supervision, inspection and assessment of the compliance of private security services are regulated. By this, it is prescribed that the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducts a supervision, and the inspection is conducted by the competent inspection service, and the assessment of the compliance of private security services is conducted by professionally qualified and accredited bodies, in accordance with the applicable standards in the field of private security. The aforementioned provisions regulate the rights and duties of the police officers who supervise the implementation of this law, the manner of supervision, as well as measures that are set in the supervision process by the authorities in order to eliminate the detected irregularities, i.e. the prohibition of performing activities to entities that do not have the appropriate license or authorization for performing these tasks.

There are other, less important, amendments to this law that are not listed and whose primary purpose is to eliminate certain shortcomings in the work of the private security sector.

In addition to the above-mentioned elimination of shortcomings, the purpose of adopting these changes is to harmonize with other regulations regulating work and labour relations, administrative procedure, securing public gatherings, dealing with firearms, and to regulate terminological compliance with international and domestic standards in the field of private security.