Tag Archives: Security Industry Authority

Security guarding specialist SSGC appoints Haines Watts to manage “rapid growth trajectory”

One of Britain’s fastest-growing specialist security businesses has appointed a leading national accountancy firm as part of its planned expansion strategy that has so far seen a substantial turnover increase to over £60 million per annum.

Robust systems and bespoke technology has enabled SSGC, a niche provider of fully-vetted security officers, to deploy hundreds of individuals to secure and marshal the COVID-19 testing programme at centres right across the UK, building on the significant growth already achieved by the company throughout 2019.

Further, the business has now appointed Haines Watts, the accountancy firm with more than 50 offices nationwide, to manage its financial affairs as it draws up its long-term expansion plan after securing contracts which have underpinned the aforementioned robust and rapid growth in turnover.

Swindon-based SSGC has demonstrated its ability to rapidly provide hundreds of guarding personnel within very tight time windows, many of them former military personnel returning to front line duties as part of the national Coronavirus effort.

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Mike Lloyd, a partner at Haines Watts (left), with Guy Dungworth (a shareholder in SSGC) and David Stubbs (managing director at SSGC)

Reinforcing the front line

“Reinforcing our front line in the fight against COVID-19 has meant making some sound decisions as we rise through the ranks of security firms to be part of the top flight of specialist businesses,” said David Stubbs, managing director of SSGC, in conversation with Security Matters. “Appointing an equally top flight accountancy firm was always part of our long-term planning.”

Stubbs continued: “Growth has always been a major part of our strategy, but our ability to demonstrate a robust response to the Government’s needs during the COVID-19 lockdown suddenly accelerated those plans. We had already established a good relationship with Haines Watts, so a complete move to take advantage of a strategic finance partner that complements our own direction of travel will definitely help us when it comes to shaping our future direction.”

Mike Lloyd, partner with Haines Watts, responded: “We provide services to thousands of businesses, many of which, like SSGC, are going through a phase of significant growth in a short time. Expansion presents new and exciting challenges and secures a spot for SSGC as a major corporate player. This is a target the business was already heading towards before current events arose.”

Lloyd continued: “Accountancy services fall broadly into two distinct areas, namely compliance and planning. From the compliance side, we can make sure that SSGC meets all of the necessary legal and tax requirements. With planning, we can help optimise areas such as tax management, financial modelling and scenario forecasting in order to maximise the financial fluidity of the company under growth. We are already working with the directors on both fronts at this key time in the company’s evolution.”

Armed Forces Covenant signatory

A signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, SSGC is an ethical business committed to supporting the military community through remobilisation projects and is also being supported by other key partners in Skipton Business Finance and Squire Patton Boggs Solicitors in delivering on the Government’s call to action.

SSGC is a Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor Scheme registered business that was formed by MBO back in 2014

David Stubbs, himself a former military policeman, concluded: “This is a very exciting time for the business as we transition into the next phase of our development. Working with Haines Watts provides seamless access to the financial services and expertise we will be leaning on this year as we execute the next phase of our growth.”

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Spring Bank Holiday security patrol team in Southend save man’s life

The Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 25 May witnessed a security patrol team from Approved Contractor Scheme-registered Stambridge Security Services save a middle-aged man who was suffering from a potentially life-threatening heart attack at Southend-on-Sea Pleasure Beach.

Security Industry Authority (SIA)-licensed door supervisors Jamie Spiers and Patrick Bourke were on patrol at the Pleasure Beach when they received a call from a colleague at around 2.00 pm stating that there was a male in distress.

It was a busy and hot day. Spiers and Bourke found the unconscious man lying on the beach fully dressed and breathing erratically. He was having a cardiac arrest. Both officers are qualified First Aid trainers and immediately called the Emergency Services who advised that they should start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ie CPR).

Spiers started chest compressions while Bourke alerted Southend-based Stambridge Security Services’ Control Room staff to ensure that CCTV was capturing everything. The two door supervisors also took it in turns to administer rescue breaths.

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Air Ambulance on scene

Spiers said: “Thankfully we were in the right place at the right time. We took turns in helping the man to breathe because it was so tiring. It took about 15 minutes for the paramedics to arrive. We were relentless, consistent and we did not stop. When the Emergency Services arrived they took over and used a defibrillator. The Air Ambulance also came to the scene.”

Once Spiers and Bourke had handed the man over to the Emergency Services, they cordoned off the busy Pleasure Beach. As it was a Bank Holiday, the traffic was very heavy so they directed cars away from the scene to enable the Emergency Services to transport their patient to Southend Hospital.

Three days later, a security operative at Southend Hospital called Spiers such that he could chat to the man whom he and Bourke had saved. He was very thankful.

On that note, Spiers stated: “I’ve been a door supervisor for 12 years and I was born and bred in Southend. Patrick and I have worked together in crowd control and always focus on making sure we can create a safe environment. I’m just glad we could help. Who would have thought that Patrick and I would save a man’s life?”

Critical and key workers

There are upwards of 400,000 licensed security operatives in the UK and, like Spiers and Bourke, many continue to work as critical and key workers in safeguarding and protecting hospitals and sheltered accommodation, supporting social distancing in supermarkets and transacting other essential operations.

Ian Todd, CEO at the SIA, said: “It’s important to remember that many individuals in the security industry are working as critical and key workers during this emergency period. The scenario in which Jamie and Patrick were involved is testament to the fact that, despite the challenges, many operatives and businesses are going the extra mile to serve their communities.”  

The SIA is actively promoting the industry’s dedication and commitment through the #SIAHeroes campaign. The Regulator is sharing inspiring stories of security operatives who are keeping the public safe and secure at this critical time.

*Read all of the #SIAHeroes stories online here

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New Security Industry Authority licence-linked qualifications postponed to April 2021

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has decided to postpone the introduction of new licence-linked qualifications until April 2021.

The SIA has spoken to industry, awarding organisations and training providers who have outlined the difficulties they face during the current pandemic.

In view of these challenges, the September 2020 launch date for the new qualifications is deemed to be unachievable.

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The SIA has therefore set a revised target date of April 2021 for the introduction of the new licence-linked qualifications.

The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK, 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 SIA or to sign up for e-mail updates visit: www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority), LinkedIn and Twitter (@SIAuk)

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NSI supports World Accreditation Day 2019

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) offered its full support to World Accreditation Day 2019 (#WAD2019). A global initiative celebrating accreditation, the event (which took place on Sunday 9 June) focused on accredited bodies like the NSI adding value in supply chains. 

From a security and fire safety sector perspective, installers and service providers of security and fire safety systems and security guarding solution are a vital ‘link in the chain’ with their expertise at the point of delivery, keeping people safe, ensuring security solutions harness suitable technology and that they’re fit for purpose.

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Whether it be in the design, installation and commissioning of intruder alarms, access control systems, fire detection or suppression systems and CCTV or the monitoring of myriad guarding services, Best Practice in service provision by NSI-approved companies ensures that quality solutions are delivered to customers.

World Accreditation Day marked the work underway to launch ‘IAF CertSearch’, a website designed to provide buyers with the ability to verify management systems certificates such as ISO 9001 (itself a key component of NSI’s Gold approvals). This facility will help to distinguish certificates issued by accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs), such as the NSI, from certificates issued by non-accredited CABs and to check the authenticity of a certificate.

Richard Jenkins, CEO at the NSI, commented: “World Accreditation Day plays an important role in promoting the value of accreditation and accredited conformity assessment. As an accredited certification body, the NSI conforms to ISO 17021-1 and ISO 17065 in the delivery of Certificates of Approval to over 1,800 approved companies operating in the UK and Eire. The worldwide system of accreditation spans economies accounting for 96% of global GDP*. The NSI is proud to play its small part in this ecosystem underpinning Best Practice, competency and consistent quality within our sector, as recognised by, among others, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Security Industry Authority, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, BAFE and industry and insurer stakeholders.”

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Richard Jenkins

NSI Gold Approval combines Quality Management Systems approval ISO 9001 with specific product standards pertinent to services provided, in addition to NSI Quality Schedules and approval criteria specifically designed for the security and fire systems and guarding services sectors. The NSI adopts a ‘treat recommendations as mandatory’ stance with regard to all standards and Codes of Practice, affording buyers confidence that NSI-approved companies adhere to the latest Best Practice at all times.

For full details of the range of NSI approvals to international and British Standards and industry Codes of Practice visit www.nsi.org.uk

*Source: World Economic Forum

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Security Industry Authority promotes safer security at Reading’s student haunts

On the evening of Saturday 8 December, the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) South East Partnerships and Interventions Team and Thames Valley Police officers called at Reading’s top student pubs and clubs to share Best Practice guidance on safer physical intervention for door supervisors as a reminder of how to keep their clients and themselves safe.

The initiative marked the Reading launch of a campaign designed to improve students’ safety during the Christmas party season. The SIA team members shared posters and leaflets on ‘Safer Physical Intervention for Door Supervisors’ with four top student pubs. The information features guidance and illustrations of Best Practice for safer restraint. This is intended as a quick reminder for door supervision licence holders and relates to the training they received in physical intervention.

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Kevin Young, the SIA’s regional investigations manager for the South Region, stated that the initiative is a positive way in which to promote safer working practices at venues where acts of violence or aggression could occur.

“We want students and young people to have a great night out and go home this Christmas unharmed. Of course, we also want to ensure the safety of the licensed door supervisors who work at these venues, the majority of whom do a very good job in what can be challenging circumstances. This latest initiative builds on an existing partnership between the SIA and Thames Valley Police designed to reduce the levels of violence induced by what can ve high levels of alcohol consumption at Reading’s nightspots.”

The initiative is supported by Thames Valley Police (Reading) and the University of Reading.

In addition, the campaign seeks to persuade businesses and door supervisors in Reading’s night-time economy to report incidents to the police such that the SIA can form an accurate picture of the level of violence that takes place against students and door supervisors. Incidents can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the Regulator’s website.

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East London security bosses sentenced for supplying unlicensed officers to Upton Park development

On Thursday 22 November, Martin Makesa (49) of Bettons Park in East London, the sole director of London Guard Security Limited, and Emily Kamau (35) from Stratford and a former company director, were sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court. They were found guilty of providing unlicensed security officers which is an offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Makesa and Kamau received a sentence of three months’ imprisonment (suspended for 18 months) and have been required to do 80 hours’ unpaid work. They were ordered to pay £2,000 each and disqualified from holding company directorships for five years. The pair are also required to pay a victim surcharge of £115 each.

The company, London Guard Security Limited, was ordered to pay £12,134 and now has 12 months to make the payment. This follows on from the prosecution of Makesa and Kamau by the private security industry’s regulator, the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Makesa and Kamau were found guilty on Friday 26 October following a two-week trial. Full costs were awarded by the court to the SIA.

An SIA investigation began because Makesa’s business, London Guard Security Limited, was sub-contracted to provide SIA-licensed security officers by Crystal Security Services Ltd at the redevelopment site of Upton Park, the former home of West Ham United FC. Emily Kamau was a manager of London Guard Security Limited at the time. Crystal Security Services Ltd had a contract with Barratt Homes (London), the developers of the site, to provide security while filming was taking place at the site.

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Unlicensed and untrained operatives

Nathan Salmon, the SIA’s criminal investigations manager, commented: “The defendants in this case sought to satisfy a sub-contract by using unlicensed and, ultimately, untrained security operatives. However, this offered little protection to their customer Crystal Security Services Ltd or to the general public. This created uncertainty regarding the suitability of those operators to perform the role, and whether they had previous criminal offences and/or the right to work in the UK. In addition, the defendants sought to frustrate proceedings by making unproven allegations and providing fraudulent material during the trial. These assertions were, quite rightly, rejected by the Jury and the defendants were convicted.”

SIA investigators carried out routine checks twice on 30 August 2016. Upon arrival on the first occasion, several security officers ran from the site. It was strongly suspected that they were unlicensed. On the second visit, several security officers were found to be working on expired licences and using an invalid Licence Dispensation Notice (an SIA licensing mechanism).

A subsequent investigation found that a security officer (employed by London Guard Security Limited) had handed Mr Makesa his expired SIA licences on the understanding that he would be given employment and would be re-licensed by London Guard Security Limited. This did not occur and, instead, this individual’s personal details were used as a cover to deploy a different, unlicensed security officer to the site on multiple occasions.

Regulatory framework in place

His Honour Justice Southern said at court: “Parliament has seen the need to put in place a regulatory framework to ensure that only those who have been properly trained and assessed as competent and suitable are deployed to work as security officers. In committing these offences, you have circumvented those requirements and, in so doing, have fundamentally compromised and undermined the integrity of the regulatory framework and so deprived the public of the protection that it is designed to provide.”

His Honour Justice Southern continued: “These offences are aggravated by the way in which they were carried out in that documentation was falsified to cover up the fact that a systematic and deliberate disregard of these requirements was being pursued by you for personal financial gain. For these reasons, the offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified. Also, as in committing these offences you employed false representations as to identity and were knowingly concerned with the production of false documentary records.”

Representations were made to the judge as Mr Makesa has recently acquired a legal qualification and that a conviction would curtail his ability to practise law. With this conviction, Mr Makesa will also be unable to hold an SIA licence in the future.

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Small Business Network advocates use of private security firms to support police

Following the latest budget, which highlighted increased funding for terrorism prevention despite recent cutbacks in other areas of police funding, the Small Business Network (SBN) of professional security companies has highlighted an opportunity for the private security industry to support public services.

“While the Budget saw extra money for the prevention of terrorism, the selling off of other police assets and the reduction in officers on the street has made life difficult when it comes to the prevention of other criminal activity,” commented Abbey Petkar, spokesperson for the SBN and managing director of Magenta Security. “The police are doing a fantastic job with limited resources and, for our part, we are perfectly placed to support them.”

Through client contracts already in existence, security companies across the UK can deliver for their clients while working in partnership with local police forces to spot and stop criminal behaviour.

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Abbey Petkar

“Whether it be a CCTV supplier, an alarm company or security officers, the industry is already working to prevent criminal activity. We are on the look-out for vulnerabilities in the community that could affect clients as well as opportunists looking to make the most of any situation. A closer working relationship with the police can only improve this,” continued Petkar.  “In fact, there’s even an opportunity for those companies who have been properly certified to undertake work on behalf of the police, supplementing their forces and needs as appropriate.”

Ultimately, the SBN believes the current challenges faced by police forces across the country are an opportunity for the security sector. The Security Industry Authority’s ongoing desire to improve quality in the sector means the companies exist with the requisite skills and oversight to support public services in a professional and cohesive way. The SBN fundamentally believes that public security should not just be the responsibility of the police. Instead, everyone should do their part, working together to ensure safety for all.

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SSAIB appoints Dougie Callander as new manned services scheme manager

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has named Dougie Callander as the organisation’s new scheme manager for manned services after predecessor David Taylor made the decision to step down from the role over the summer.

With over 19 years of experience in the security industrym having entered the security world straight from school, 37-year-old Callander has spent the last decade working as a regional investigator for the Security Industry Authority (SIA), where he also completed a seven-month stint acting as regional investigations manager for the Regulator’s compliance and investigation department during 2012-2013.

While working for the SIA, the new Scotland-based scheme manager also played an integral part in a multi-agency team co-ordinating the regulation and quality assurance at high-profile events such as the London 2012 Olympic Games, the G8 Summits in Northern Ireland (2013) and Cardiff (2014), the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 Ryder Cup tournament.

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Dougie Callander: new role at the SSAIB

After building up a wealth of experience in his previous employment at the SIA, Callander is now looking to use what he has learnt so far to “bring a new dynamic to the SSAIB.” He told Risk Xtra: “While working for the SIA and within the security industry over the last ten years, I’ve been aware of the excellent reputation that the SSAIB enjoys within the industry and the work the organisation has done to help raise the performance standards within the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS). Most importantly, I also know of the part the SSAIB has played in safeguarding the integrity of the ACS by ensuring that all assessments are fair, proportionate and transparent. For me, it’s essential that the SSAIB continues to perform to the high standards already set.”

Callander added: “I like to think I’m a champion of change. I always promote Best Practice. Therefore, I believe that my unique and diverse background, as well as my knowledge of the SIA and the ACS, will bring a new dynamic to the SSAIB. I’ll be able to offer fresh ideas on ensuring that we continue performing to a consistently high standard.”

Departing manned services scheme manager Taylor – who joined the SSAIB back in June 2014 – will continue as a part-time manned services assessor for the time being. The organisation would like to thank him for all of his hard work during his time as manned services scheme manager.

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Magenta Security Services achieves Cyber Essentials accreditation

Magenta Security Services has been recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) after taking significant steps towards protecting its online systems. The effort expended has seen the Hounslow-based Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor added to a list of endorsed organisations on the NCSC’s website and accredited with a Cyber Essentials certificate.

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed, industry-approved scheme aimed at helping organisations protect themselves against common types of cyber attack. At its basic level, the scheme advocates businesses implementing certain technical controls in order to bolster overall system security.

To earn its Cyber Essentials certificate, Magenta Security was required to have all of the business’ digital defences assessed by an independent accreditation body.

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Abbey Petkar

Having self-implemented the technical controls already, its systems and software also met a detailed set of requirements with various forms of evidence provided to back this up.

Finally, a self-assessment questionnaire was completed as proof of understanding the new implementations and configuration of its systems.

Abbey Petkar, managing director of Magenta Security, explained to Risk Xtra: “Following many recent high-profile data breaches as well as the General Data Protection Regulation deadline, there has been a substantial increase in business awareness of the need to boost online defences. Magenta Security is protecting its clients in every possible way.”

Magenta Security also runs operations in Swindon, Birmingham, Manchester and Kent, providing security guarding solutions, mobile patrols and electronic surveillance.

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Belfast door supervisor prosecuted for working without SIA licence

On 15 May at Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast, Gareth Henry was prosecuted by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and found guilty of working without a licence.

The SIA was alerted to Henry’s behaviour last October by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). They had received reports of Henry using excessive force at a bar on Dublin Road in Belfast. SIA investigators visited the venue where Henry worked and found that he was working without a licence.

The investigators discovered that Henry had previously held a licence, but that it had expired in 2013. He was cautioned for working without a licence in 2016 by the PSNI and in response submitted an application to the SIA, which was refused. At this point, Henry changed jobs.

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In December, SIA investigators interviewed the general manager at the bar where Henry was working. Further enquiries revealed that Henry had been working at the bar for over a year. When SIA investigators interviewed Henry, he admitted to working without a licence. The SIA consequently prosecuted him.

Laganside Magistrates Court found Henry guilty. He was ordered to pay a fine of £250, fixed costs of £92 and an offender’s levy of £15

SIA criminal investigations manager Pete Easterbrook said: “The SIA exists to protect the public. Our licensing regime is designed to ensure that those individuals who may represent a risk to the public are not able to work lawfully in the security industry.  The fact that this case was brought to our attention through an allegation of excessive force only serves to highlight the risk posed to the public through the use of unlicensed security operatives.”

Easterbrook concluded: “Despite having been previously cautioned for working without an SIA licence, Gareth Henry continued to work as a door supervisor and took steps to avoid being detected. This prosecution serves as a reminder that undermining the safeguards provided by regulation is entirely unacceptable. Those doing so can expect to be brought before a court.”

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