Three London security company directors have been fined and given a criminal record for failing to disclose information to the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The prosecution is part of an ongoing investigation into the use of fraudulent SIA licences.
On Monday 8 March, two former company directors – namely Damien Burrell and Omar Nelson – were sentenced at Thames Magistrates’ Court. In a previous hearing on 17 July last year, both pleaded guilty to failing to provide information to the SIA. This is an infringement of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
Burrell, the former director of Pro-Active Event Staffing Ltd, was fined £233 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,323.50, plus a victim surcharge of £32 within 28 days.
Nelson, formerly the director of No.1 Security Ltd, was sentenced in his absence. He was also fined £233 and required to pay prosecution costs of £1,323.50 within 28 days, in addition to a victim surcharge of £32.
The third security director, Shahbaz Ahmed of HAR Services Ltd, also pleaded guilty to the same charge at Thames Magistrates’ Court on 22 October 2020. SIA investigators made repeated requests for information to Ahmed, but he failed to engage with the regulator. Ahmed was fined £80 and also required to pay court costs of £100.
SIA investigators found that these three security companies were sub-contracted to supply a security officer who attempted to use a fraudulent licence. These included Burrell’s company Pro-Active Event Staffing Ltd, Nelson’s company No.1 Security Ltd, and Ahmed’s business HAR Services Ltd.
SIA investigators pursued the directors in the wake of receiving a query from the client of an SIA Approved Contractor. After initially ignoring the SIA’s requests for information, Burrell and Nelson eventually provided information to SIA investigators.
On 23 March 2019, an HAR Services Ltd employee arrived at a student accommodation centre in London to start his shift. He presented an altered SIA Security Guarding licence. During routine induction checks, an employee noticed that the licence had been tampered with. The man fled the premises and this was duly reported to the SIA.
Nathan Salmon, criminal investigations manager at the SIA, said: “Nelson, Burrell and Ahmed did not carry out adequate due diligence of licensed security and, as a result, betrayed the trust of their client to whom they were contracted for the protection of London students. They have been prosecuted for failing to engage with the SIA. They thought that ignoring us would mean they would face no consequences. The reality is that it’s against the law to ignore a legal request for information. These three men now have criminal records and will not be able to work in the industry in the future.”
Salmon concluded: “The use of fraudulent SIA licences is completely unacceptable. I would encourage anyone who has concerns over such matters to report them to the SIA such that we can then investigate.”
The SIA’s investigations into the use of fraudulent licences continues.