SIA Disruption

Kay Wallace and Steve Baguley from the Response unit had a great meeting with Matt Murchington from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) on Wednesday 5th September 2018.

The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry. They are an independent body reporting to the Home Secretary, under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA covers the United Kingdom, their two main duties are the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities within the private security industry; the other is to manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme, which measures private security suppliers against independently assessed criteria.

SIA licensing covers staffed guarding (including security guarding, door supervision, close protection, cash and valuables in transit, and public space surveillance using CCTV), key holding and vehicle immobilising.

Licensing ensures that private security operatives are ‘fit and proper’ persons who are properly trained and qualified to do their job.

The SIA Approved Contractor Scheme introduced a set of operational and performance standards for suppliers of private security services. Those organisations that meet these standards are awarded Approved Contractor status. This accreditation provides purchasers of private security services with independent proof of a contractor’s commitment to quality.

Matt Murchington outlined a synopsis of the SIA enforcement protocols, which are as follows;

SIA Sanctions and disposal of offences;

Non-Statutory Disposals

Whilst these enforcement options have no statutory basis, they are a result of the SIAs power to prosecute offences which is the ultimate sanction that can be applied. The following options can be used against individuals, companies, and sometimes both.

SIA advice Short of a formal warning, the SIA can advise individuals or businesses of steps required to cease offending and check to ensure this has been followed.

SIA verbal warnings These are recorded and may be taken into account in future enforcement decisions or as non-conviction information in a licence decision.

SIA written warnings These are issued where an offence under the PSIA 2001 has been detected. A written warning may be taken into account in future enforcement decisions or as non-conviction information in a licence decision.

Improvement notices These are non-statutory sanctions in breach of offences, under the PSIA 2001. It sets out the improvements required and is discharged when SIA are satisfied the improvements have been made.

While these responses do not result in criminal convictions, they can have an effect on individuals or businesses. For example, if someone has been given SIA warnings for working without a licence, this may affect whether or not they are granted a licence at a later stage. Similarly, if a company is subject to an improvement notice for non-compliance, this may affect the company’s inclusion in the Approved Contractor Scheme.

Prosecution

Where enforcement actions short of prosecution are not appropriate, the case can be referred for formal investigation. This means the investigation will be undertaken by the SIA with a view to prosecution, or in partnership with other law enforcement agencies. Although prosecution is not SIAs only option, when offences are suspected under the Act, Prosecution may follow in the criminal courts. Offences can be committed by both individuals and companies and can result in high penalties including confiscation of assets, fines and imprisonment. Where the SIA considers that wider criminal offending affects the integrity of the regulatory scheme, such offences may be considered.