On Tuesday 21 February at South Cheshire Magistrates' Court, we successfully defended an appeal by Extreme Security Solutions Limited against a decision to refuse the company's application for Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) status.
The court heard that the company, based in Macclesfield, applied for the ACS in November 2015. A similarly-named ACS company, Extreme Security Limited, went into liquidation in January 2016 with significant debts and owing tens of thousands of pounds to HM Revenue & Customs.
After an investigation, the new company's application for ACS was refused in September 2016 on the basis that the director, Mark Longden, was previously the director of a company (Extreme Security Limited) which had gone into liquidation within the past 12 months.
Another reason we refused their ACS application was that the previous director, Amie Longden, was unlicensed for several months prior to obtaining an SIA licence in March 2016. Additionally, the SIA had discovered that the company supplied an unlicensed security guard to a local college over a period of several months.
The court heard that, when interviewed by our investigation officers, the unlicensed guard had stated he also had problems with alcoholism and debt. Julian King, representing the SIA, drew the court's attention to the disregard for public protection when the company supplied unlicensed staff to a location as sensitive as a college.
Mark Longden is the current director of Extreme Security Solutions Limited and a former director of Extreme Security Limited. He denied knowing that the new company had been supplying an individual who was unlicensed.
He accepted that Extreme Security Solutions Limited should have had better procedures in place to prevent the offence taking place, but claimed that the various problems with the company had now been resolved.
Longden denied that Extreme Security Solutions Limited was a "phoenix" company, and stated that the company had not been trading at the time of its ACS application - despite having declared on the application form that it held several contracts to supply security services.
Upholding the decision to refuse the company's application for ACS, the Magistrates stated that our evidence had been "clear and credible". In contrast, the Magistrates found that the evidence of company director Mark Longden had been "vague and inconsistent". Upon dismissal of the appeal, Extreme Security Solutions Limited were also ordered to pay the SIA's legal costs of £4,067.
Lisa Targowska, SIA Deputy Director Legal, said:
"The SIA will continue to vigorously defend court appeals of this nature. The aim of the Approved Contractor Scheme is to improve standards within the security industry, and we are determined to ensure that the scheme is not undermined by unsuitable companies who attempt to circumvent its requirements."
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA's main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (SIAuk).