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SIA completes investigations to maintain high manned security standards

A recent Security Industry Authority (SIA) operation has highlighted the focused drive to maintain high standards in the manned security sector.

Last month, the SIA led a multi-agency operation checking security licensing over two weekends in two of the UK's busiest cities.

Working alongside HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Metropolitan Police, investigators from the SIA conducted spot checks on door supervisors and security guards working in London and Manchester and found that the vast majority of staff and companies were conducting their operations in an exemplary manner.

Over the first weekend (commencing May 2nd) the SIA focussed its attention on door supervisors working in licensed premises including pubs and clubs, while four weeks later on May 28th, the spotlight switched to security guards who were working in retail venues in shopping centres across the two cities. Over the course of the two operations, the SIA confirmed that 180 security personnel were checked across 67 venues and only one incident needed further attention. 

It involved a door supervisor in Stockport who was found working with another person's photocopied SIA licence and enquiries were handed over to the police.

A further five warnings needed to be issued as individuals had failed to notify the SIA of a change of their address, which although only a minor oversight, is a breach of the regulator's licensing conditions and shows how seriously the authority is taking its actions to maintain its public reputation.

SIA director of partnerships and interventions Dave Humphries said: "It is encouraging that the SIA, the police and HMRC are working together to tackle crime.

"This gives a clear message that non-compliance with the law, be it requirements of SIA licence regulation or tax evasion, will not be tolerated within the private security industry."

The investigations were also carried out with a view of weeding out firms who are looking to avoid tax and Andrew Odin from HMRC's specialist investigations said: "We work with other government departments and agencies to crack down on those who don't want to pay what they should.

"Our message is clear - if you seek to evade tax or defraud the tax system, HMRC can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well."

Fortunately, little evidence of this was found in the manned security sector during the initial investigations.

The SIA is the organisation that has been responsible for regulating the private security industry and reports to the home secretary. It operates under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and aims to regulate while continuously raising standards across the UK. 

As well as manned guarding, the SIA is also responsible for close protection, cash and valuables in transit, and the CCTV surveillance of public spaces.

It has an Approved Contractor Scheme that assures potential customers of a set of operational and performance standards for suppliers of private security services, with accredited firms having to show a commitment to quality in the sector.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of Thinkstock

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