Towards a third phase of regulation:
With the legislative review of police oversight currently taking place in South Africa, now is a good time to reflect on the regulation of the private security industry. This article does so by focusing on three challenges to the current private security regulatory systems: the increased pluralisation of policing within public spaces; the operation of hidden sectors within the industry; and the nature of criminal abuses perpetuated by the industry. We do this to demonstrate the need for a re-imagining of what regulation, especially state regulation, of this industry should entail. The aim of the article is not to review the current legislation or to identify gaps and propose means of filling those gaps, but rather to reflect on the underlying premises informing the legislation and propose a shift in thinking. We do this by briefly identifying two phases of state regulation in South Africa, implemented before and after the change to a new democratic dispensation, and suggest that we are now entering a third phase of regulation. We conclude with suggestions as to what this third phase may entail.
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