July's essential information and updates from the SIA

SIA Update, July 2017

We begin our newsletter this month by reflecting on the last year since launching our new online licensing system. We want to encourage both businesses and individuals to register for an online account and make use of the services available.

This month, we sent out guidance on events and sub-contracting from HMRC to businesses across the private security industry. This guidance explains how businesses can exercise due diligence when keeping records for the use of labour providers.

We have an upcoming violence reduction workshop in Belfast in September. Sign up to this workshop and look out for the feedback from previous events, as we will be sharing this and more news soon.

In this month’s enforcement update you can read about the unlicensed door supervisor who was fined for using a forged SIA licence. Also featured is several SIA licence checks we undertook that resulted in arrests.

Find out when can you lawfully work in a licensable role in this month’s ‘Explaining the Licensing Process’ feature. We also introduce our new decision timescale indicator.
Finally, our Chair, Elizabeth France will be giving a presentation at the Professional Security Magazine’s Security Twenty-17 conference in Glasgow. There will also be an SIA stand during the day so if you’re around do can come and say hello. 

1 Year On
Women in Security Awards
Violence Reduction Workshops
Counter Terrorism Event Feedback
Improvements to the New Licensing System

Fined for using a forged SIA licence
SIA Licence Checks Result in Arrests

Explaining the Licensing Process
Decision Timescale Indicator

Events and Sub-Contracting Guidance

Security TWENTY17 – Glasgow
Security Events Website

SIA News

A year since we launched our online licensing system

It has been a year since we launched our new online licensing system. In that time we have made over 100,000 application decisions, 77% were processed within 25 working days and many straightforward applications were processed in under 10 days.

Some applications can be complicated and as a result take longer to process.  We accept licence renewals up to four months in advance of when a current licence expires and are actively encouraging people to apply early.

If an application for renewal is successful and is processed before an existing licence expires, there is no disadvantage as the new licence will expire three years after the current licence expires. The ‘unspent’ days are added to the new licence.

The majority of licence holders have an association with a business and many licence holders are deployed by approved contractors. We need businesses to play their part and support their staff. We are committed to helping companies do this.

We continue to improve our service to businesses which is consistent with our intention to regulate through responsible businesses. We have a dedicated enquiries channel and messages sent to us using the ‘I want to make a business enquiry’ function typically receive a response within 2 working days.

We have also refreshed our website to make information easily available for businesses and are running workshops to familiarise them with the online system. These workshops are open to all businesses, whether they are in the ACS or not. Please use the dedicated business enquiries channel to request a place at the workshop.

Here are three simple steps to make sure your business gets the best out of our services:
  • Create a business account
  • Use the online business enquiry function when you need to contact us
  • Encourage your staff to submit their applications early
For more information or assistance please set up or log into your online account and use the business enquiry function.
Watch our video on registering up for an online account

Women in Security Awards

The ‘Women in Security Awards’ were started in 2013 to celebrate and recognise the accomplishments, value and contributions women make within the private security industry and wider security industry.

We support the Women in Security Awards; as a regulator we are committed to equality and diversity within the private security industry.

The awards are given to women in the following categories:
  • Manager
  • Frontline
  • Technical
  • Contribution to Industry
The judges will consider how the nominee contributes to the wider world of security/profession/industry over and above her job spec. When submitting your nomination, please explain why, in your opinion, the person you are nominating should win the award.

Nominations close Friday 11 August 2017.

Nominations of women are very welcome, whether a CEO, chair, managing director of a security company; or a security professional working within the security department of a commercial company, public sector, private security industry or the wider world of security.

The judges are leaders in bodies across the wider security industry and past judges have been from the Security Industry Authority, International Professional Security Association, the Association of Security Consultants, the Security Institute and more.
To find out more about the awards visit their website

Violence Reduction Workshops

We are running a series of events across the UK to promote violence reduction measures, principally within the night-time economy. So far we have run successful events in Ipswich, Brighton, Manchester, Worcester and London.

These events have brought together private security operatives and businesses to discuss local initiatives, safer restraint guidance and good practice to prevent harm to security operatives and the public.

At each event, we hear from representatives of the police and local authorities about town centre initiatives. The briefings are FREE to attend - the next event will take place as follows:
The briefings are FREE to attend - the next one will take place as follows:
Belfast – 5 September 2017

More events will be added.

The Belfast event will run from 10:00pm to 14:00pm, and will include a free networking lunch.

If you want to find out more about reducing the risks from violence in the night-time economy then these events are for you. Spaces are limited so email us and book your place today.
Sign up to book your place

Counter-Terrorism Training in the South East

Our SIA Partnerships and Interventions South East Team ran their 5th Operation Griffin Counter Terrorism training sessions this week. The first of these took place in Maidenhead where over 180 staff from companies in the region and individual licence holders attended.

The Maidenhead event was jointly hosted by the South East Counter Terrorism Unit. In Dunstable, we hosted the training with the Protective Services Command, Norfolk and Suffolk. This event was well attended with 70 delegates.

This Project Griffin training builds on existing partnerships between counter terrorism police, emergency services and local companies, helping businesses improve their security and preparedness plans in order to better protect their staff and customers.

Look out for more locations and dates soon
Find out more about Project Griffin

Improvements to the New Licensing System

We are putting in the latest of our series of technical fixes and improvements this weekend.

These are intended to ensure the smooth running of our online licensing system, and give a better user experience. Many of these changes affect the back end of the system.

As a result, our licensing site from 8 p.m. on the evening of Saturday 29 July. The system will be unavailable until 6 a.m. on the morning of Sunday 30 July.

While the system is undergoing identified system improvements customers will not be able to make licence applications. Applicants will not be able to log into their online accounts to follow the progress of their applications.

Address check failures can now be checked by LM businesses
Previously, if an application was made on an individual’s behalf by a Licence Management (LM) business but failed an internal electronic address check, the system automatically requested   documents to be sent to us for checking.
From now on, documents will be considered satisfactory if the LM has checked and confirmed them.  If we decide that we still need to see the documents, we will do so by raising a Further Information Request (FIR).

Group A document exception applications can now be processed by LM businesses
When an applicant linked to a business has a valid Group A exception, the business will now be able to complete their application.
If the business is using Licence Management (LM) they will need to check:
  • Five Group B documents.  This is a requirement if a Group A document is not provided.  You can find a list of acceptable Group B documents on our website
  • Full name and date of birth; at least one of the five documents must confirm this
  • Current address; at least one of the five documents must confirm this
If the business is using the Licence Assist (LA) or Licence Pay Only (LPO) service, the Next Steps notification that we send to the applicant will confirm which documents they need to send to us.

Applications on last day before expiry now permitted
Applicants will now be able to apply for renewal on the last valid day of their current licence.  But we are still strongly advising people to apply as early as possible; licence-holders can apply for a renewal four months before their licence runs out.

‘Unlink’ button will now appear correctly
We have fixed an issue whereby business users had no options showing under the ‘Actions’ button when they set the ‘All’ filter on the ‘My People’ page.   In future the ‘Unlink’ button will appear correctly.

Service Request responses will go to businesses
If a business user raises a Service Request on behalf of an individual, the response/resolution will now be sent to the business.  This will allow all their business users to read the response.
An email will no longer be sent to the user’s individual address, but it will be sent to the email address that is registered with us for the business that raised the Service Request. 

Payment issues resolved
Some business users and individuals have recently experienced issues with making payments.  We have fixed the problem, and you should now be able to make payments as required, as long as you are using a valid payment method.

Unread message counts to include FIRs
Further Information Requests will now be included in unread message counts.

‘Contact us’ messages from watchlist users
When a business that is only set up to use watchlists submits a message via ‘Contact Us’, the message will now be displayed correctly on their message view.  This issue has not affected businesses using our Licence Management, Licence Assist or Licence Pay Only services.

Enforcement Update

Unlicensed door supervisor fined for using a forged SIA licence

On 20 June 2017 at Chester Magistrates’ Court, Stacey Sam Harrison, a door supervisor, who worked using a forged licence for over five years was successfully prosecuted

In August 2016 our investigators inspected security staff at a taxi company in Chester. This individual was operating as a taxi marshal, working to make sure that the taxi queue did not get out of hand.

After inspecting further our investigators observed that the SIA licence displayed on the security operative’s arm was different to the name his colleagues called him. They checked the Register for Licence Holders (ROLH) and found out that the licence the security operative was wearing had expired in 2014. The expiry date on the licence card he was wearing also appeared to be altered, so the investigators made a formal request for the SIA licence to be returned.

Further questioning revealed that this security operative was in fact Stacey Sam Harrison, a family member of the original licence holder. The date of birth and address Stacey had originally provided were his own. Checks revealed that Stacey Harrison had never held an SIA licence.

After being interviewed under caution in January 2017, Stacey Harrison admitted taking the expired licence. He said he found the licence at a family member’s house and made amendments to it. These amendments were to the expiry date and sector. He adjusted the sector as he wanted employers to think he had a door supervision licence, as his employers were seeking door supervision contracts.

During the interview, it became clear that the activity he was employed for was licensable. He also told investigators that he worked at another taxi company regularly and, on occasion, at the Racecourse in Chester for the same employer.

Following the initial inspection, in August 2016, the directors of the company were interviewed by our SIA investigators. This interview revealed that Stacey Harrison had been working for the company, unlicensed, from 2011 to August 2016. Our investigators also discovered that the directors knew Harrison under a different name, and that Harrison had led them to believe he was licensed at all times. One of the directors produced a copy of the licence Harrison had supplied to them, which appeared to have been subject to similar alterations to that handed to our SIA investigation officers.

Harrison pleaded guilty to working without a licence. He claimed that he did not have a job at the time, and couldn't afford the £500 required to obtain a licence. He apologised to the Court for committing these offences.

The judge commented that licences exist for a reason and that the offences committed by Harrison were serious, especially forgery of a licence. Harrison was fined £360, reduced to £240 due to his early guilty plea. He was also ordered to pay £250 in costs, and a victim surcharge of £30.

Criminal Investigations Manager, Pete Easterbrook commented that:
“Working as a security operative without an SIA licence is a serious offence. However, Stacey Harrison took this one step further and altered the SIA licence of a family member and attempted to pass this off as genuine. This is fraud and will not be tolerated by the SIA or the security industry, especially those frontline operatives who have worked hard to genuinely obtain their SIA licence.

The conviction of Mr. Harrison for these offences serves as a reminder that those who seek to undermine the law in this way are very likely to be found out and will face the consequences of their actions in court.”

SIA Licence Checks Result in Arrests

Following SIA licence checks with local police at events in Gloucester in early July, several individuals were identified working without valid licences and some with suspected cloned licences. A criminal investigation was immediately launched which led back to a business in South Wales and only days later the SIA, supported by South Wales Police, entered business premises to exercise inspection powers under the Private Security Industry Act. The inspection resulted in two arrests, the seizure of business records and the further arrest by police for suspicion of the supply of a controlled substance.
Go to SIA Prosecutions

Explaining the Licensing Process

When can you lawfully work in a licensable role?

You can lawfully work in a licensable role in the following circumstances:
  1. You hold a current, active licence for that activity, or
  2. You hold a current, active licence for a different activity and our rules allow you to work in your role with that licence (for example, you hold a door supervisor licence and you work as a security guard), or
  3. You work for an SIA approved contractor and they have issued you with a personal licence dispensation notice (LDN).
For the LDN to be valid *all* of the following conditions must be met:
     a. You have an application for an SIA licence that is at the ‘Checks in Progress’ stage
     b. Your application is for a sector in which the company is approved
     c. We have authorised the company to issue licence dispensation notices

You cannot lawfully work while you are applying for a licence if:
  • You don’t work for an SIA approved contractor, or
  • You work for an approved contractor but some or all of the conditions above have not been met.
Please also note that:
  • Licence dispensation notices are not issued by us, they are issued by your employer (assuming they are an approved contractor)
  • Licence dispensation notices are only valid while we are processing your application.
  • If your licence has been granted and you are just waiting for it to arrive in the post, you are legally allowed to undertake licensable activity. This is because you are considered to be licensed from the point at which we make our decision.
  • There is no such thing as a “temporary licence” or a “temporary licence number”. All SIA licences are valid for three years except for front line vehicle immobiliser licences which are valid for one year. The duration of SIA licences is set in law and we do not have the power to vary this.
  • It is not your job title that determines whether or not you need a licence, it is what you do. If you undertake the licensable activity of a manned guard, a vehicle immobiliser or a key holder without a valid licence or a properly issued licence dispensation notice, you will be breaking the law, no matter what you're called on your business card.
Find out more about LDNs

How Long Does it Take to Get a Licence?

We have a published service standard that answers this question to a degree, but for various reasons that answer is often misunderstood. To be clear:
- We do not guarantee that we will process your licence application within 25 working days.
- There is no standard timescale for licence applications.

The time taken to process your application will be affected by many different factors: your nationality (insofar as it affects your right to work in the UK), your address history, your criminal record if you have one, whether you’ve spent time outside the UK, and so on. Every application carries with it its own specific set of circumstances that must be taken into account.

Because of this, each application will be processed according to its own individual timescale. Some will be processed in days, others weeks, and some may take months – for example, if we have to wait for the outcome of a court case before we can make our decision.

Our timescales are also affected by the number of applications being processed at the time, the current response times of the various other agencies involved (for example, the criminality disclosure bodies) and the health of our I.T. systems, which are critical to our daily activities.

Decision Timescale Indicator
We have developed an online tool that will provide a more useful answer to the question. This tool uses data drawn from the previous 3 months to estimate how long your application will take.

Please remember that YOU make a big difference to the speed of your application. We use the information you give us and if this is incorrect or incomplete then your application will be delayed, so please take the time to review your application BEFORE you submit it because once you’ve submitted it you won’t be able to change it. You should also respond quickly to any requests from us for further information.
Go to our Decision timescale Indicator

Approved Contractors

Events and Sub-Contracting Guidance

With the event season entering a busy period, we want to remind you of your responsibilities when using sub-contractors (including the use of sub-contracted labour) when providing security industry services.

As approved contractors you can only sub-contract provision of security services (for which you are approved) to other approved contractors.
You need to be able to demonstrate that any ‘sub-contracted labour’ used on licensable security activities not only hold a valid licence but have also been screened to British Standard BS7858, including sub-contracted labour provided by an approved contractor.

We are aware that some approved contractors will use ‘sub-contracted labour’ to meet operational demands.

You may have several income streams, and some may fall outside the scope of the SIA and the ACS. The provision and supply of labour may be one and therefore there is no guarantee that the individual(s) supplied meets the requirements of the ACS

As an approved contractor you need to be confident that the individuals deployed are who they say they are, are fit and proper, hold a valid licence and are legitimate.

Please ensure you follow HMRC guidance regarding due diligence record keeping for the use of labour providers.

Details on due diligence for the use of labour providers can be found on the HMRC website.
Download HMRC guidance on Due Diligence for Labour Providers

Upcoming Events

Security TWENTY17 - Glasgow

Professional Security Magazine runs the Security Twenty17 regional conferences and exhibitions across the UK.

On Tuesday 5 September, Elizabeth France, our Chair will be giving a presentation at the Professional Security Magazine’s Security Twenty-17 conference in Glasgow. We will also have a stall where you can talk directly with an SIA staff member during the day.

This is the first time that PSM have held such an event in Scotland.  It is a good opportunity to meet with staff from the SIA and also to network with colleagues in the private security industry.  Admission is free but registration is required.
Find out more about this event online

Security Events Website

Find out key information about events that may be of interest to the security industry by visiting the All Security Events website.
Visit the Security Events website

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