Informations about National Regulations and Regional and International Initiatives.


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Key Information

Tanzania is not a participant to the Montreux Document. 

Sector Size (2014)[i]

556 PSCs
Approx. 1,000,000 PSC personnel

Can PSC personnel carry firearms?

No, unless they have received authorization from the Inspector General of Police

*Arms and Ammunition Act of 2002

International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)

ICoCA Member State: No
ICoCA Company Members: 1
ICoCA CSO Members: 0

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Voluntary Principles State Member: No


The prevalence of private security actors has been on the rise in Tanzania since the 1980s and the liberalisation of the Tanzanian economy following the Cold War. Today the number of private security guards outnumbers that of the Tanzania Police Force. Despite the growing size of the sector, there is no specific legal framework regulating the industry. Not only does this prevent the guarantee of adequate working conditions for private security company (PSC) personnel, but it also creates an obstacle to PSC personnel accountability.

Issues of poor working conditions and PSC personnel accountability are compounded in areas where PSC personnel are charged with securing mines and other extractive companies. Tanzania has a large extractive sector, particularly in gold mining, and illegal artisanal mining is prevalent, causing clashes between illegal miners and both public and private security forces. Poor working conditions increase the frequency of PSC personnel misconduct and they often escape accountability for the use of excessive force in defending the mines from illegal miners.

Legal Framework

Private security companies fall under the authority of the Tanzania Police Force and its Community Policing Department. PSC personnel are distinguished from other community policing actors such as the Auxiliary Police because their security services are contracted by an individual, company, institution etc, while the Auxiliary Police are employees of the individual, company, or institution itself.[ii]

PSCs are required to register with the Business Regulation and Licensing Authority (BRELA) and be granted a permit by the Police Force. However, once the PSC has received a permit and a license from BRELA, there is no authority that regulates the PSC’s activities.

Because PSCs are not regular members of the Police Force and do not have legal protections regarding the use of force, they are subject to the Arms and Ammunition Act of 2002 which requires individuals to be granted authorisation for the possession of firearms. Reports state that some private security guards in Tanzania do carry firearms, but whether they are doing so with or without authorisation is unknown.[iii]


Amongst various practical challenges such as unsatisfactory wages and inadequate equipment, the private security industry in Tanzania faces two overarching issues to robust private security governance:

Regulatory framework

The regulatory framework for the private security industry is insufficient for ensuring quality services and satisfactory working conditions. Once the PSC is registered with the Inspector General of the Police and BRELA, no mechanism exists to monitor PSC activities.

Conflicts of Interest

Some PSCs in Tanzania are owned by current and former members of the armed forces – who possess significant influence in the government - and public police officers. This creates a conflict of interest and prevents such PSC owners from making an objective contribution to the governmental regulation of PSCs. 

Members of the Private Security Governance Observatory



[i] Mkilindi, Aisha M, 2014. M. Mkilindi_2014.pdf?sequence=1

[ii] Jaba, Shadrack, 2011.

[iii] Mugarula, Florence. “Can You Trust Your Security Guard?” The Citizen. April 3, 2016.