For SIA licensing to be trusted by the public – and for it to work well – it is vital for us to have an effective compliance and enforcement strategy. This will ensure that our licensing requirements are met by individuals and companies throughout the private security industry.
It is important that there is a credible threat to those considering not complying with the legislation. However it needs to be recognised that enforcement is expensive, and is not always as effective as other methods of ensuring compliance. However this should not be misunderstood, we will enforce where it is appropriate.
The Private Security Industry Act 2001 creates several new criminal offences. It will be an offence to:
- provide a designated security service without a licence
- employ an unlicensed person in an activity for which a licence would be required
- contravene licence conditions by claiming approved contractor status when no such approval exists
- misrepresent the terms of the approval
- violate the terms of the approved contractor scheme if the scheme were to become compulsory in future
- obstruct a person, authorised by the SIA, who has powers of entry
- fail to comply with the requirements of a person, authorised by the SIA
- make an unauthorised disclosure of information obtained when working under the SIA’s authority
- make false statements to the SIA.
In developing our compliance and enforcement strategy we have consulted widely with police, local authorities and others within the industry. We have reviewed the systems of other organisations and have also looked at existing licensing schemes operated by various local authorities.
Influence – We will use our close relationship with the Home Office to influence and achieve further legislative changes if necessary. For example adding a clause in the current bill on liquor and public entertainment licensing, making it a requirement of the licensee to only engage licensed door supervisors.
Compliance – We want to make it easier to comply than not to. We are currently negotiating with insurance companies to impose conditions on insurance used by security providers. We will also encourage and enable the industry itself, which has a vested interest in this respect, to ‘whistle blow’.
Proportional enforcement – We will enforce using a range of sanctions ranging from written warnings to revocation of licenses and prosecution of offences through the criminal courts. We will use the best method of enforcement which is both proportional and likely to achieve our ultimate goal of compliance. In some cases this may mean engaging in prosecutions which will send messages to the industry overall.
Other agencies – We are looking to engage other agencies in enforcement. In door supervision, it will be probably be quite easy to tap in to police and local authority priorities around crime and disorder reduction – this is mutually beneficial to ourselves and these other agencies.
Intelligence – We will use an intelligence database which will be fed by many sources including the industry, the police service and members of the public. We will gather and analyse information, and adopt the national intelligence model used by all UK police forces, to prioritise and to target our resources.
The penalties for committing an offence can be either;
- Summary conviction at a magistrate’s court – the maximum penalty is six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000, or
- Trial on indictment at the Crown Court, whereby an unlimited fine and/or five years imprisonment could be imposed.