Bills seek to train Taiwan private security for civil defense

Proposals to amend security and defense laws are aimed at better preparing Taiwan’s private security guards for civil defense in wartime, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien has said.

Chang Liao and other DPP legislators have proposed amendments to the Private Security Service Act and the All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act to allow the Ministry of National Defense to train private security firms in civil defense so that they can be incorporated into the nation’s civil defense system in wartime.
“Security personnel are involved in protecting various aspects of life in Taiwan, such as residential buildings, commercial offices, transit stations, construction sites, factories, hospitals and power plants,” Chang Liao said. “This group of frontline staff is familiar with the public and the nation’s terrain, and could be an important force in defending the country.

One of the proposals would amend Article 15 of the All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act, which states that during wartime, authorities should organize “professional citizens, civil defense forces, volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel, as well as … school youths, retired veterans” and others into defense plans. The amendment would add security guards to that list.

The proposals would benefit defense efforts by offloading some tasks traditionally performed by the military and police to the private security industry, Institute for National Defense and Security Research postdoctoral researcher Hsu Chih-hsiang said. Efficient deployment of labor is important to a nation like Taiwan, which has “relatively few troops,” he said, adding that civil defense forces could respond effectively to disaster scenarios.

Community security would be important in helping people take refuge, as they would know the location of safe spaces, civilian resources and how many people could be accommodated, he said. “For example, look at the war in Ukraine. When residential and commercial buildings came under fire, building security knew better than anyone how to evacuate those buildings,” he said. “When whole communities need to evacuate or take refuge, it is community authorities who best know what refuge spaces there are, and what resources the community has.”