Published: December 3, 2007

Under the new law due to come into effect from January 1st 2008, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) will be able to carry out spot checks and arrest any guard operating in Iraq who is not registered to an accredited security company. Pilgrims, whose personnel are largely comprised of ex-special forces operatives, is already fully registered and amongst the first to make sure their clients conform to the new law.

"The MOI has wanted to exert greater influence on those carrying weapons for some time. This is not unreasonable and is something that we support and will adhere to," said Pilgrims Group Commercial Director, John Whitwam MBE.

"The introduction of this law has been accelerated by a number of recent incidents involving some high profile private security companies which have led to Iraqi casualties," continued Whitwam. "Unfortunately for companies such as Pilgrims that pride themselves on their low profile and unobtrusive methods, these incidents have galvanised opinion against western security companies amongst the local Iraqi population, and the threat of reprisal attacks remains high."

The MOI is subsequently ordering that every security guard and their weapon must be registered. "It is only reasonable that the government should seek to legitimise weapon carrying in its country. We will work with the MOI and the PSCAI to meet these requirements and thereby protect our clients," committed Whitwam.

"You can only imagine the implications to someone in the media or corporate world operating in Iraq if their security guards are stopped by the MOI and found not to be registered. In the worst case, their weapons will be confiscated and the guards arrested. We are making sure our clients adhere to the MOI policy, thereby ensuring they remain legally protected in what remains an area of very high risk."