Essential information and updates from the SIA

October 2017

This month we are launching a new leaflet-style guide for buyers of private security. This explains the benefits of the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) and the importance of buying quality security services.

We have improved the online application process and made several changes that will make it easier to apply for a licence, including the removal of pre-populated identity information, being able to cancel applications and more.

This October we held a licensing application surgery with London’s Night Czar and the Ministry of Sound. This was a joint event to provide practical help to anyone applying for a licence. Licence applicants came along and received one-to-one help and support with their application.

In this month’s enforcement update you can read about the unlicensed door supervisor who was given a suspended prison sentence for working without a licence. We have also included an update on the case of Mark Pursglove who is awaiting sentencing. His accomplice, Rachel Williams, has already been sentenced.

Our ‘Explaining the Licensing Process’ article this month explains why you need to provide a photograph of yourself when you apply for a licence and what requirements that photograph needs to meet.
Featured this month are webinars from HMRC on completing your Self Assessment tax return. The first webinar looks at how to complete your online tax return and the second looks at self-employment and how to make HMRC payments.

Finally, please save the date for our annual SIA Stakeholder conference. It will take place on Tuesday 13 March 2018, in central London - more information and details to follow soon.



Explaining the Licensing Process


SIA News

Do You Buy Security? - The Regulator’s Guide to Buying Private Security

We have a new guide to buying private security. This leaflet highlights the importance of buying quality security and the fact that buying cut-price security can put a company’s brand at risk.

In particular, it looks at the benefits of buying quality security and emphasises that the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) can offer quality assurance. Approved contractors can use this guide to inform buyers so they can make better quality security purchases. Approved contractors can also consider using the leaflet for the following:
  • Informing buyers of the importance of buying quality security
  • Advising on the added value of using an SIA approved contractor.
  • Pre-tendering and tendering assessments
Through this guide, we want to encourage purchasers of security to buy responsibly.
Download the regulator’s guide to buying private security

Changes to Online Applications

To improve the service we offer we have simplified the online application process. This will reduce the number of user errors made when applying for a licence. We have made two changes:
  • Removing pre-populated identity information
  • Allowing you to cancel your application
Removal of pre-populated identity information
The first of these changes is to help reduce the number of applications that do not progress beyond the ‘Next Steps’ stage because the UK passport or driving licence is not up-to-date (i.e. it has expired). This error can occur because you have not given us the correct, updated information. We cannot progress your application until we have this information.

From Sunday 5 November UK passport and UK driving licence numbers will no longer be pre-populated in new, renewal or additional sector applications. 

When you are applying for a licence, you will need to have this information available.  Making this change will mean that we can progress more cases from the ‘Next Steps’ stage to ‘Checks in Progress’ more efficiently and avoid the need to contact you for clarification.

Please note that any application in draft prior to this change will retain the information as long as the user has saved the application before exiting the draft.

Cancel Applications
The second change is the introduction of a new feature ‘Cancel Application’. Many of you have requested this change. It will allow you to cancel an application before you have paid the licence application fee. SIA approved contractors, using the Licence Management or Licence Assist services, will also be able to cancel applications that have not yet been paid for.
Read about what documents an applicant needs to provide

Changes to Watchlist Upload Limits and Photo Expiry

We constantly review our licensing processes to make sure that they are proportionate and easy to use.  Where possible we will remove or amend basic restrictions if businesses tell us that changes would be helpful.

Following your feedback, we have increased the number of operatives that you can upload in one CSV file to a watchlist, from 500 to 1,000.  This change affects businesses who will now be able to upload fewer CSV files when building large watchlists within their SIA online accounts.
These changes went live on Thursday 19 October.

We have also updated our policy relating to when we request new photos of an applicant.  We will now only ask for a new photo every 8 years, 8 months.  This is three years longer than the previous photo renewal period, and brings us into line with other regulators and statutory bodies.
Read all about our use of photographs
For further instructions on how to create a watchlist, please watch this video

Licensing Application Surgery with London’s Night Czar and Ministry of Sound

On Thursday 12 October, Amy Lamé, Night Czar of London, invited us to co-host her night surgery at Ministry of Sound.

This event was arranged when our director of Partnerships and Interventions, Dave Humphries, met Amy Lamé. Amy noticed the high number of customer queries that were coming in and wanted to do something to support the private security industry. As a result, we organised a joint event to provide practical help to anyone applying for a licence.

To begin the event, our Head of Customer Support gave licence holders and applicants some context as to why it was necessary to move to an online licensing system. She also explained how best to use an online account.

After this introduction, every licence applicant or licence holder was able to have a one-to-one session with one of our licensing experts.

Over 100 people attended the event. Our customer support team helped them with issues relating to criminality checks, evidence of overseas criminality, sworn oaths and more. We made several licensing decisions on the day, and we took the details of applicants who needed follow up calls.  

We are considering doing further events across the UK and will send you further information if we do.

Enforcement Update

Unlicensed door supervisor given suspended prison sentence for working without a licence

On 26 October, at Leamington Spa Magistrates Court, Karl Alexander Morrison, now known as Karl O’Brien, was found guilty of working without an SIA licence.

Morrison was found working without an SIA licence at an illegal traveller’s encampment in Coventry, by our investigators, following intelligence received from Warwickshire Police in April 2017.

From a subsequent investigation, it was discovered that Nottinghamshire Police were also gathering evidence of Morrison working without a licence, at a pub in Sutton in Ashfield.

Morrison was sentenced to 8 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £115 (to be paid within a fortnight).

Pete Easterbrook, our Criminal Investigations Manager said:
“As the SIA investigated Morrison, our investigators found him to be a volatile and aggressive individual. I am of the opinion that had he continued to work in a security related role, it is likely that the public would have been exposed to considerable risk.  I am pleased that this risk has now been addressed, and I would like to thank both Nottinghamshire Police and the witnesses in this case for supporting the SIA to secure this conviction."

The case began in April 2017 when Warwickshire Police alerted our West Investigations Team that Morrison was unlicensed, an offence under the Private Security Industry Act (SIA) 2001.

Our investigators looked up his licensing history and found that he had a pending application to work in the close protection sector under the name Karl O’Brien. He had also asked for an overseas criminality check exemption, claiming he lived abroad from 2011-2016.

To receive an overseas criminality check exemption, we must agree to this as we only accept this in exceptional circumstances. If agreed, you need to send us a character reference and a signed and sworn oath from an EU registered solicitor to prove there are no criminal convictions for the relevant period.

However, when we contacted the Prison Service, they confirmed he had been in prison at various times and resident in the UK during those years. We suspected that Morrison had applied under a different name because his previous offending would have meant he would not be granted an SIA licence.

Morrison failed to send us a character reference or sworn oath and no further action was made to his application.

In May 2017, we began the process to prosecute Morrison.

Pete Easterbrook, our Criminal Investigations Manager also added:
“I share the concern expressed by the court that someone with Karl Morrison’s offending history was found working in the security industry. I am satisfied that the sentence imposed in this case reflects the seriousness of the offences he committed.”

“This case serves to highlight that there that there is no place whatsoever within the security industry for those who deliberately undermine the safeguards that regulation provides - those who do can expect to be dealt with robustly.”

Barred security director and accomplice up for sentencing following guilty verdicts

On 12 October 2017, at Caernarfon Magistrates Court, Mark Pursglove was referred to the crown court to be sentenced for working without an SIA licence. Rachel Williams was sentenced for aiding and abetting offences. This sentencing follows the prosecution of Mark Pursglove and Rachel Williams on 14 September 2017.

Mark Pursglove was prosecuted in 2016 because he had supplied unlicensed security operatives. Once his company was found guilty, Mark Pursglove continued to act as a director despite being unlicensed, and positioned Rachel Williams as the frontwoman of the business to conceal this fact.

Our investigators probed further, and built an intelligence-led case against Mark Pursglove and Rachel Williams. They were then found guilty at Llandudno Magistrates Court on 14 September.

In this latest hearing, we made an application for the sentencing of Mark Pursglove to be committed to the Crown Court in order to pursue the confiscation of assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).  As a result, the sentencing of Pursglove has been adjourned till November at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Rachel Williams received a community order of 150 hours of unpaid work, to be completed within the next 12 months. She was also ordered to pay £3,500 in costs and a victim surcharge of £85.

Nathan Salmon, the Head of our Criminal Investigations Team, said:
“The SIA will always determine who is actually responsible for committing an offence. Those guilty of offences cannot hide behind others. Using Rachel Williams to front his businesses did not protect Mark Pursglove from prosecution.

This strong conviction shows that security regulation exists in order to protect those who use contracted security services and the general public, and ensures the effectiveness of security businesses that operate within the industry.”
Find out more about our prosecutions

Licensing Matters

Explaining the Licensing Process

When you apply for an SIA licence, we ask you for a passport-sized photograph of yourself. Depending on the specific circumstances of your application, this photograph may be taken by counter staff at a post office, uploaded by your employer, or be physically posted to us by you.

People sometime ask why we do not just use photographs that have already been provided to other government agencies – for example, Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) or the DVLA. The answer is: before we can issue you with a licence, we must confirm your identity. One of the ways in which we do this is by comparing the photograph you provide with the photograph on your identity documents. There is little point in doing this if the photograph we are checking and the photograph we are checking it against are the same photograph.

If you are applying for a front line licence, the photograph you provide will be printed on the front of the licence. The photograph must therefore meet our requirements: if it does not we will reject it and your application will be put on hold until you supply us with another photograph.
Read more about our photograph checklist
Watch our video on registering up for an online account

Business Matters

HMRC Self Assessment Tax Return Webinars

HMRC know that for many people completing an online tax return can be challenging.  They have put together two webinars to help you complete your Self Assessment tax return.

The first webinar looks at how to complete your online tax return: from signing in and filling in the self-employment section, to viewing your calculation and budgeting for your payments - this webinar has it all.

The second webinar looks at self-employment and how to make HMRC payments. It will cover your income tax bill, the different types of National Insurance you may have to pay, and what happens when you’re employed and self-employed at the same time. They will also tell you about budgeting for your first bill, and how to pay HMRC.

Sign up for the webinar on how to complete your online tax return

They offer several products and services that are relevant for private security businesses and self-employed licensed operatives. These resources are all available online:

Sign up for the webinar on self-employment: your payments to HMRC
Registering for Self Assessment

Upcoming Events

SIA Annual Stakeholder Conference

Save the Date
Tuesday 13 March 2018,
Central London

More information to follow soon

Security Twenty 17, London (Heathrow)

Thursday, 2 November
Park Inn by Radisson Hotel
Heathrow, London
Find out more about Security Twenty 17, London

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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