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Armed Private Security in Latin America and the Caribbean: Oversight and Accountability in an Evolving Context Regional Study

31 December, 2016


DCAF and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) have undertaken a regional study on armed private security in Latin America and the Caribbean, aimed at presenting an updated picture of the private security sector as well as the challenges the sector faces in terms of regulation and small arms control. The private security industry in Latin America and the Caribbean has grown significantly over the last 20 years. The study identified 16,174 private security companies in the region, with more than 2,450,000 legal employees working as security guards. Looking across the region, a number of important challenges can be identified in relation to the armed private security sector. These include a lack of specific and complete legal frameworks; informal private security markets; absence of a whole-of-government approach to regulation and oversight; insufficient institutional capacities for regulation and oversight; unclearly defined training requirements for PSC and their personnel; and the physical security and weapons management of PSCs.

This newly gained knowledge is intended to support policy makers, national authorities and industry actors in their efforts to revise and strengthen their approaches to private security oversight and regulation in line with international standards and best practices. Strengthening private security regulation in the region contributes to reinforce both the rule of law and citizen security