Blue guards take over Crame

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CAMP Rafael C. Crame, the headquarters of Philippine National Police in Quezon City, had a slightly different look on Monday after ordinary security guards wearing their customary blue uniforms were seen manning the camp’s main entry and other gates instead of uniformed policemen who used to man and secure it.

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The take-over of the PNP headquarters by the blue guards was part of an over-all operational plan of Director General Alan Purisima in his bid to increase police visibility and contain criminals in the streets.

In January, Purisima said they plan to hire private security guards to man the gates of Camp Crame to enable the PNP to deploy more policemen to communities and give law enforcers the chance to practice the areas of expertise that they specifically trained for.

On Monday, around 70 male and female blue guards were assigned to secure the gates of Camp Crame resulting in slightly longer lines of vehicles because motorists who usually enter the police camp unhindered were required to present proper identification cards.

Chief Supt. Alberto Supapo, director of the PNP headquarters support services (HSS), told reporters that the security guards will be working on a three eight hour shifts.

The hiring of the security guards of Right Eight Security Inc. will cost the police organization P21- million annually.

Supapo said some police personnel will initially supervise the private security guards during the transition period that could last a week, before they eventually totally take over the camp’s security.

“We will also send police reaction teams to assist the guards in case a commotion erupts,” Supapo said.

The police official said aside from the reaction team, the HSS has created a separate task force to monitor and supervise the guards who will be armed with .9mm and .45 caliber pistols.

The HSS chief said that as of yesterday, 52 of the 100 policemen who were previously assigned as sentry guards in Camp Crame have been reassigned to patrol the streets and stations outside Camp Crame.

PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said in a press briefing that the security guards started manning the gate of Camp Crame on Saturday and that they will be restricted to non-sensitive areas inside the police camp.

Mayor said uniformed policemen will continue to secure sensitive areas in the camp like the custodial center where some high profile personalities are currently detained.

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