SIA Update - Special Conference Edition
Conference Edition
Welcome to this special edition of SIA Update. It focuses specifically on our stakeholder conference, held on 13 March 2018 at the Oval Cricket Ground in London.

This year’s conference looked particularly at public protection and the issue of labour supply in the private security industry. The day included presentations and workshops where delegates could have in-depth discussions about the themes of the conference.

The speakers covered a range of topics, including the way that Home Office priorities are reflected in the work we are doing to protect the public, and how we are using the powers we have under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (formerly the Proceeds of Crime Act).

We also heard from representatives from across the private security industry, as well as one of our partner agencies. The talks focused on the importance of continuous professional development to retain the good staff who already work in the industry, how business licensing might affect labour supply, and the work of the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).
The speakers brought a wealth of experience on a range of issues affecting the private security industry, and summaries and videos of their talks are available in this newsletter.

Part ONE
Security Industry Authority Report
Home Office Update
Protecting the Public – the work of Partnerships & Interventions

Workshops
Public Protection Workshop
Labour Supply Workshop

Part TWO
Continuous Professional Development
Labour Supply – a Personal View
The Work of the GLAA
Closing Remarks from SIA Chief Executive

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Conference - Part ONE

Security Industry Authority Report

Elizabeth France, Chair of the SIA

Elizabeth opened the conference with a warm welcome to the delegates. She spoke about the themes of the conference: public protection, and how this underpins everything we do. And labour supply, particularly the tension between the living wage and quality of staff as well as cost of supply; how this tension needs to be addressed and considered by us all.

She cited the Home Office’s key strategic priorities of tackling the global issues that are affecting the UK today including Brexit, countering terrorism, modern day slavery, public sector resourcing and more.

Elizabeth spoke about the current consultation feeding into a review of the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS). She reiterated becoming ACS accredited is one of the best ways for a company to improve standards. The review is to ensure that the scheme remains fit for purpose. She added that there would not be dramatic changes in the ACS, as the basic foundation is sound. We will be taking the review forward over the coming months.

Elizabeth re-affirmed that we are working with partner agencies to root out non-compliance, and sharing those outcomes with the wider community. She added that we have more capability to do this now that we are able to prosecute under the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

Elizabeth highlighted ongoing improvements to our licensing system and talked about work underway to develop counter-terrorism awareness training that is specific to the private security industry. She also mentioned our forthcoming review of licence-linked qualifications, and that we will need engagement from the private security industry in this area.  
Watch Elizabeth France’s highlight video here

Home Office Update

Cecilia French, Director of Safeguarding, Home Office

The Director of Safeguarding at the Home Office, Cecilia French, told the conference that the nature of crime has changed as new crimes are emerging. She explained that the private security industry has an important role to play to protect the public from harm and contribute to the counter-terrorism agenda.

Cecilia added that despite the fall in the crime rate there is an increase in low-volume, high-harm crime such as the terrorist attacks committed in 2017. Knife and gun crime has also risen as well as acid attack incidents. She outlined the priorities to tackle the evolving nature of the terrorist threat: reducing crime; protecting vulnerable people and the security threat undertaken by sophisticated networks (such as organised crime and cyber-attacks). She said training on counter-terrorism such as Project Argus and the Eyes Wide Open video is available and the take up is positive.

In her presentation, Cecilia said that protecting vulnerable people is a top priority for the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister. She stated that the Home Office is concentrating on areas of vulnerability in mental health and in particular aggression, drunkenness and drugs. Cecelia explained the vital role the security industry plays in supporting this work. She said that door supervisors, security guards/CCTV operators may notice patterns and recognise strange behaviour that they can report to the Police.

Cecilia commented on raising the standards of the ACS and working to reduce violence within the industry by removing those businesses that cheat the system and try to undercut professional private security companies.

To conclude, Cecilia said the private security industry has grown mature and has greater flexibility to deal with the changing nature of crime and terrorist incidents. Importantly victims themselves are feeling the impact of that.

Protecting the Public – Partnerships & Interventions

John Sandlin, the SIA's Regional Investigations Manager for London

John explained how our six criminal investigation teams across the UK investigate cases of non-compliance with the Private Security Industry Act (2001) and the Approved Contractor Scheme that is part of the act.  He also outlined their partnership activities:
  • Operation Ganges - working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to carry out inspections of licensed premises in Southwark.   As a result, two cloned licences were discovered and the operatives arrested for immigration offences.
  • Operation Symi – working jointly with HMRC to educate approved contractors on compliance with both ACS standard criteria and taxation law. Carrying out joint visits and running awareness raising sessions for our staff and ACS assessors.
  • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) - working with The Children’s Society to raise awareness within the private security industry of what operatives should look out for and how to report it.
  • Impact of CSE training - We recently published a news release that featured a case study of a young child who was waiting at a bus stop in the early hours of the morning in the Midlands. A private security guard approached her and found that she was running away to London. West Midlands Police and her parents were informed. It turned out that she was groomed online, and an adult had paid for her bus fare.
Watch John Sandlin’s highlight video

Protecting the Public – Partnerships & Interventions


Pete Easterbrook, SIA Criminal Investigations Manager

Since the first criminal investigations in September 2005, the nature of their work has changed to include the Fraud Act and the Identity Documents Act 2010. Pete explained that the capacity of the team has increased, as has the number of investigations. At the time of the conference there were 45 live criminal investigations involving 130 people.

Pete stated the importance of the theme of protecting the public is not just a phrase. It goes right back to the reason why the private security is regulated. He referred to the recent successful convictions of
Karl Morrison (October 2017) and IG Security Ltd (February 2018).
 
Pete spoke of our new financial investigators who can investigate cases and pursue a confiscation order of convicted criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He explained that we can now target an individual’s ability to retain their assets, and their means of criminal offending. In essence crime does not pay.
 
He cited the example of
Sightguard Security Ltd on the Isle of Wight who were recently successfully prosecuted. We then secured a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This case is particularly newsworthy because Sightguard Security put the public at risk as the management of security at ports and harbours is high up on the counter-terrorism agenda. Pete added that other priorities include tackling organised crime and that fraud has an impact on the public purse as it distorts the market. Pete emphasised that we are working closely with our partners to address this. He explained that the outcomes of these investigations cannot always be shared, to ensure any on-going investigations are not compromised.
Watch Pete Easterbrook highlight video here
Workshops

Public Protection Workshop

During the public protection workshop, the following questions were posed to delegates:

1. How is the security industry responding to the emerging threats to public protection?
2. What does the industry see as the SIA role in this area?
3. What are the barriers that make it difficult for the industry?

Labour Supply Workshop

What are the pressures on the labour market that deter people from a career in security?
  1. How do good businesses attract and retain good staff?
  2. What is the role of the key players, including the regulator, in making the industry attractive?
We received a range of interesting and valuable feedback. We are collating this now and will publish a full report of our findings at a later date.
Conference - Part TWO

Continuous Professional Development

Rick Mounfield (Security Institute)

Rick Mounfield began by explaining the Security Institute and its context.  It is the UK’s largest professional membership body for security professionals, with 2,500 members operating in 51 countries.  It is a not-for-profit organisation, and concerns itself particularly with continuing professional development (CPD) and mentorship.

Rick used the metaphor of a family to represent the relationship between the SIA, security industry employers, and the security operative. The SIA and the industry are the parents in this example, and the operative is the child. He suggested that the SIA, as the regulator, should enforce legal compliance, reward high standards, and recognise innovation.  The employer should provide 'love' (ensuring the wellbeing and loyalty of the operative), career guidance and development through continuing professional development, and encouragement so that operatives can achieve.

The operative then has a responsibility to take charge of their own development, and seize opportunities that are offered to them: “Without continuing professional development, you can’t call yourself a professional.”  Rick gave some examples of activities, including following trade press, attending conferences, and joining professional membership organisations.  He encouraged businesses to talent-spot amongst their staff.

Rick finished with an appeal to the sector to collectively create a career development pathway linked to qualifications and promotions.  He said that the SIA provides the foundation, but that the industry should take responsibility to encourage growth from that point:

 
“If we can change the perception of front line security operatives, we can change perception of the whole industry.”   
Watch Rick Mounfield’s highlight video here

Labour Supply – a Personal View

Abbey Petkar (Managing Director, Magenta Security)
 

Abbey contrasted these unregulated, unprofessional companies with SIA Approved Contractors.  He referred to a two-tier system – approved contractors and the rest – that does not provide a level playing field for compliant businesses.  His view is that the SIA should consider making the Approved Contractor Scheme mandatory via secondary legislation.  He also said that there should be more emphasis on letting buyers know what they are buying, so they make choices based on added value and quality, not just on price; “Use an approved contractor; if not, make sure you perform due diligence.”

Abbey Petkar introduced himself as Managing Director of Magenta Security Services, and also Press Officer for the Small Business Network (SBN).  He began by saying that pop-up companies are avoiding regulation, and thereby tarnishing the reputation of the sector and compromising public safety.  He also referred to a high rate of company failures.  These are often linked to 'phoenix' operations that go bankrupt prior to setting up again with the same directors and staff, who are often unlicensed.  Many of these companies treat their staff poorly, or exploit operatives with immigration issues.

Abbey finished by saying that quality must drive the industry and that companies should engage more with issues around raising standards in the sector.  They should then take their concerns and ideas to the SIA.  His opinion is that working with the SIA can give the industry a future.   

Watch Abbey Petkar’s highlight video here

The work of the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority

Darryl Dixon (Director of Strategy,
GLAA)


Darryl Dixon began with an explanation of where the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority sits amongst the arms-length bodies reporting into the Home Office.  He then explained that the GLAA came into being following the death of 23 Chinese nationals in the Morecambe Bay tragedy, to address labour exploitation in agriculture and to create a licensing regime.

Darryl said that the GLAA differs from the SIA in that it licenses businesses, not individuals. He then explained the GLAA’s licensing approach, which involves checking information against that held by other government departments. He went through the key areas of its licensing standards, including payment, workers accommodation, hours worked, under-age working etc.  He highlighted “debt bondage, harsh treatment or intimidation” as an area that had required additional legislation.  The GLAA was given wider powers under the Immigration Act 2016; however, some of these are only applicable to particular jurisdictions within the UK.

Darryl talked about GLAA’s work on behalf of victims as a “first responder”, and said that SIA investigations into unlicensed activity may identify cases of forced labour that can be referred to the GLAA.  He said that the GLAA is trying to raise awareness of forced labour within the private security industry, and that publicity around the issue can reflect very badly on businesses at the top of the supply chain.  To that end, they have produced a guide: 'Labour Exploitation – Spot the Signs'.

Darryl explained that the GLAA could not prosecute its way out of the problem; it is proactively trying to identify exploited families.  He finished by asking delegates to think through the economics of a standard hand car-wash, which cannot pay staff the minimum wage, and to avoid using obviously exploitative businesses where possible.

During the question and answers session, someone asked if you can report a situation like a hand car wash that is clearly exploiting its workers.  Darryl stressed that if you are worried about the abuse or exploitation of security operatives you can report it to the GLAA by emailing
intelligence@gla.gsi.gov.uk. More information is also available on their website. 
Watch Darryl Dixon’s highlight video here

Closing remarks

Alan Clamp (CE, SIA)

Alan began by reminding the audience of the various presenters that they had heard over the course of the day, and summarised some of their key points. He highlighted some of the key priorities we are working on such as counter-terrorism, exploitation and safeguarding. The Home Office also referred to these issues and focused on the close overlap between the SIA and Home Office. Alan pointed out that the Home Office knows and understands the vital role private security plays as first responders, in times of problems.

Alan mentioned the workshops and that the feedback from these sessions was an important way for the private security industry to talk to us as the regulator. There was also discussion around the fact that a job in private security is often not seen as a career but that continuous development and training could change this.

From the labour supply workshop there were questions about how far the Approved Contractor Scheme is understood by buyers. The importance of quality security as well as the risks of poor security provision was also deliberated. This was linked to pressures within the labour market and the option to buy based on price over quality.

To sum up the day, Alan emphasised that we should be working together. He thanked the speakers and the organisers.  Finally, he thanked delegates for being present, and said:

 
“Your contributions will enable us to make a greater contribution to public safety.” 
Watch Alan Clamp's highlight video here
Watch all our conference highlight videos
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