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SIA Update
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As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, this month has brought with it unforeseeable events and changes. In this newsletter, we share our Chief Executive’s update with news that affects approved contractors, security operatives and the wider industry.
 
In our public protection section, we hear about #SIAHeroes who have been resilient in the face of COVID-19 and have gone above and beyond to protect the public and key infrastructure.
 
This month’s enforcement update features a story on the partnership work that resulted in a fraudster being prosecuted at Snaresbrook Crown Court. We also give an update on a previous case which involved a Proceeds of Crime Order (POCA) against Maria Francis. She is a now-disqualified security director who was prosecuted for supplying unlicensed security.
 
In the ‘Licensing Matters’ section this month, our ‘Explaining the Licensing Process’ article looks at when you can lawfully work in a licensable role, and provides clear guidance on this. 
SIA NEWS
Chief Executive's updates during COVID-19 crisis

Read our Chief Executive’s COVID-19 briefing which incorporates updates on the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) and changes to the rules for the issue of Licence Dispensation Notices (LDN). We have also taken steps to reduce the need for those renewing their licence to have to go to the Post Office.
 
This is supported by an updated question and answer document. Please review it regularly (Document: PDF, 230KB).
Read our Chief Executive's updates here
COVID-19 government guidance

The government has issued guidance for businesses that are facing challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is regularly updated and you can access funding information and support.
 
This business support resource is also for the self-employed and sole traders. It explains the responsibilities of an employer, how to manage your business during the coronavirus pandemic, what to do about business closures and more.
 
The business support information for COVID-19 also offers details on:
  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants available
  • Applying to the ‘Job Retention Scheme’ to get up to 80% pay if you/your employees can’t work.
  • The self-employed receiving up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months.
This information is useful to small, medium and large security businesses that are facing financial insecurity. Visit the GOV website for more information and resources. 
Find out more about the Government’s business support
Changes to Licence Dispensation Notices (LDN)
 
If you work for an approved contractor, we have made it easier for you to start or continue working in the current crisis. As of 17 April 2020, Licence Dispensation Notices (LDN) may be issued to a security operative whose application is at Next Steps and has been paid for, rather than waiting until it reaches Checks in Progress.
 
The duration of the LDN has also been extended from 10 to 20 weeks before needing to be renewed. This applies to both first and subsequent LDNs.
 
We will keep these arrangements under review. More information on this change and guidance on the use of Licence Dispensation Notices is now available on our website.
 
This change was mentioned in our Chief Executive's message and the guidance is available for more information (Download PDF, 418 KB).  
Find out more about LDNs in general here
Remote training pilot

We are working with awarding organisations to pilot ways in which licence-linked qualifications may be delivered remotely. The current lockdown means that training is virtually impossible. This in turn may have an effect on the supply of labour into the industry as we don’t know how long social distancing measures will be in place. We have worked with the qualifications’ regulators and awarding organisations to devise a pilot to determine whether licence-linked training and assessment can be delivered remotely and within robust quality standards.
 
The pilot is starting with a small number of in-house training teams and private training centres.  It will cover the qualifications for:
  • Security Guarding
  • Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
  • Cash and Valuables in Transit
We are taking it forward with three awarding organisations in the first instance, taking into account their readiness to deliver. The work is a pilot, and a decision on whether or not we continue to roll this out will be made only after we have assessed any additional risks identified.
 
Tony Holyland, our Head of Quality & Standards said:
“I wish to congratulate all of the team for getting the pilot initiated. It is really important that we respond to the needs of industry in innovative ways. Equally we need to be sure that we are not watering down our requirement, and this pilot is a great way to test our safeguards. If it’s successful it will really benefit the private security industry and individuals wanting to work in security during this challenging time. I’m looking forward to receiving the results of the pilot.” 
It is anticipated that about 60 learners will take part in the virtual learning pilot and we will evaluate the results of the pilot when complete. We have given detailed guidance on how aspects of the course delivery should work, including how long each course should take to complete, and the rules around conduct of assessment. OfQual has agreed our approach, and is happy to support the awarding of qualifications on the basis of the adapted measures that we have taken.
 
During the pilot, learners will take the courses on laptops provided by their employers, or using their own devices, so they can continue to follow social distancing rules. We will report back on the success of the pilot in due course. 
Read more about this pilot in our chief executive's update
Retailers' guidance 

We've put together the following advice for retailers hiring security guards to manage queues outside retail premises.
 
Many shops are asking customers to queue outside their premises to support social distancing. If you employ people to manage a queue like this, they may need to hold an SIA licence. If they do, and they don’t have one, they will be breaking the law.
 
Any person contracted from a third party supplier who performs a licensable activity must have a licence (or a Licence Dispensation Notice that we have issued to an approved contractor). If the role includes any licensable activities such as preventing disorder or theft, they may be required by law to hold an SIA licence.  
 
This simple guide is intended to help you decide if the person who is supervising the queues should be licensed (Document: PDF, 228KB).   
Download the guidance here
PUBLIC PROTECTION
Over the last few months, we have been sharing the stories of security operatives who have gone above and beyond to protect the public using the hashtag #SIAHeroes.
 
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began the private security industry has responded quickly and many security operatives and businesses have been working as critical and key workers to protect the public and key infrastructure.
 
We wanted to recognise the role private security is playing during the #COVID19 pandemic and share examples on social media, in private security media and local press.  Many of you have sent us stories and some of these are featured here.
 
We will continue sharing these stories - send us your stories about the work you and your colleagues have been doing to respond to this emergency.   

Here are some of the most recent stories:
Lone worker security guard keeps calm and carries on through COVID-19
 
Gavin Walker is a security guard working at a sheltered housing scheme for young vulnerable adults aged 16-24 in Ipswich. He is working 63 hours a week, many of them at night, patrolling the estate and monitoring the CCTV reel.
 
Gavin has been wearing a mask since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and has had to enforce a ‘no visitors’ policy at the scheme. He says that the residents have struggled with this ruling, as many young people would. As a result, Gavin has faced an increase in verbal abuse and threats of violence, and he was recently spat at. The police were notified, and the person who spat at him was arrested. Sadly, spitting has frequently been reported as a form of retaliation against security guards during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Gavin has not had much support as a lone worker security guard, and worked four long days over the Easter bank holiday to make sure the site was secure at all times. On several occasions Gavin has had no choice but to call the police to enforce restrictions at the facility. He doesn’t want to do this because he knows it can put added pressure on fellow key workers, but often has no choice.
 
When we spoke to his partner, Jemma Williams, she spoke of Gavin’s exceptional commitment. She said:
He does all of this to look after others, whether it be the youngsters at his work place or his family at home who he rarely gets to spend time with due to working so much.” 
Manchester Door supervisor continues to manage queues during COVID-19 after being spat at by shoplifter
 
Hannah Madden is a door supervisor based in Manchester. As a result of this emergency she has been sub-contracted to work as a security guard at the Lidl just outside Manchester.
 
Before COVID-19, Hannah could be seen on the door of bars and clubs across Manchester. With six years’ experience, Hannah is used to de-escalating confrontations.
 
However, on Sunday 29 March, Hannah was at work when she and the store manager witnessed a man attempting to shoplift. Hannah explained that if he handed over the items, he would be barred from the store and that they would take no further action.
 
The man handed over some stolen items, but became aggressive when he was asked for additional items in his bag. His response was to throw food cans at her, use racial slurs, and spit at her.

Fortunately, Hannah was able to avoid the cans of food. She ran after the man and detained him, but was furious after the incident and described it as disgusting.
 
Similar reports are heard across the country, yet security operatives like Hannah are choosing to work to protect the public and key infrastructure.

The SIA is hailing security operatives who are supporting the national effort against the pandemic as #SIAHeroes. 
Read these stories on our #SIAHeroes page


City of London Sheriffs' award for bravery

 

City livery company The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals has launched The Sheriffs' Award for Bravery. This annual award recognises individuals who, without thought to their own safety, have acted to confront danger to another person or property, and the award celebrates acts of selflessness as an inspiration to others.
 
This is a highly prestigious award with the recipient receiving a trophy, a framed certificate and a cheque for £2,500 from the Sheriffs. The names of the recipients of the Award are permanently inscribed on an Honours Board and in a Book of Honour, both of which are on permanent display at The Old Bailey in the City of London.
 
Nominations for the Sheriffs' Award for Bravery are sought from across the UK and are open to any person including members of the public, the Emergency Services, and the Armed Forces.
 
The City of London Corporation has two Sheriffs and they are based at The Old Bailey. The closing date for entries is 01 August 2020. (Document PDF, 358 KB). 
Download the application form here

CPNI issues security guidance

 
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has issued guidance on good personnel security practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
This is intended to remind businesses to continue to address risks, even when usual security practices may be suspended or changed. Sadly, the threat to security from sophisticated hostile intelligence actors through to low-level criminals continues, and could even increase in the current environment. (Document: PDF, 885 KB).
Read the guidance here
ENFORCEMENT UPDATE

Fraudster prosecuted following partnership working in Liverpool 


Stephanie Hunter, our Partnerships and Interventions regional investigator in Merseyside, built a relationship with the local Home Office Immigration Criminal and Financial Investigation unit. One of the outcomes of this relationship was working in partnership on a case that resulted in the prosecution and subsequent suspended jail sentence of a criminal in November 2019.
 
This case came to a head in April 2019, when Shahzad Rasul was arrested by the Home Office Immigration’s Criminal and Financial Investigation Unit in relation to fraudulent passport offences. On his arrest his mobile phone was seized and it was found to contain images of an SIA Door Supervisor licence.
 
There were two images: one featured his photograph, and another was an image of someone else. We provided disclosures to support the Unit, and they brought criminal proceedings against Rasul. On 11 November 2019, he appeared before Snaresbrook Crown Court in London where he pleaded guilty to fraud offences relating to passports and the SIA licence. He received a custodial sentence of 10 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. He also got a criminal record.
 
Lucia Howland, our Regional/Criminal Investigation Manager for the north, said:
“This is a really good example of government agencies working together. We were delighted that this case came to court, because fraud is not a victimless crime.”
Read about our enforcement activity

POCA order for Maria Francis 


A Shrewsbury security boss, whose former business partner has already been jailed for supplying unlicensed security guards, has been served with a confiscation order and disqualification in relation to the same offence.
 
Maria Francis, of Shrewsbury was ordered to pay £1,800 within three months by Shrewsbury Crown Court on Monday 09 March. If Ms Francis fails to pay the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation order she could face a jail sentence. She was also forbidden to hold a directorship for the next two years, and now has a criminal record.
 
This court order brings to an end a series of court appearances by Ms Francis following our successful prosecution. In June 2018 Maria Francis pleaded guilty at Shrewsbury Crown Court to supplying unlicensed security guards, which is an offence under the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA). In July 2018 she was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and the company was fined £2,700 and ordered to pay £500 in costs.  
Read the full story here
LICENSING MATTERS

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 that is at ‘Checks in Progress’ OR (in light of the COVID-19 pandemic) is at ‘Next Steps’ and has been paid for
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.
Use our licence identifier tool
UPCOMING EVENTS
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many events have been postponed and cancelled. As and when new dates are announced we will share them with you.  
Security events website  
 
We recommend that you monitor the All Security Events website
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All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the information contained in this communication is accurate at time of release.
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