Tag Archives: Security Industry Authority

First Response Group at heart of nation’s fight against COVID-19

First Response Group has been at the heart of the nation’s fight against the Coronavirus having been brought in by the University of Oxford to bolster security at the latter’s COVID-19 research facility.

The company was recommended for the highly important security detail after successfully demonstrating its expertise and reliability to the University of Oxford during the first national lockdown.

Founded in 2007 by directors Jamal Tahlil and Edgar Chibaka, First Response Group provides security, fire and facilities management services to a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors.

The COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial has been run by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams. It has been conducted in collaboration with multiple study sites across the UK and internationally, including a temporary research installation on the University of Oxford’s grounds.

After a full site risk assessment, First Response Group recommended a 24/7 security guarding detail consisting of three security officers on the premises during the day and two at night to ensure robust protection for the trial patients, research staff and the sensitive clinical data.

First Response Group’s Security Industry Authority-licensed security officers control all entrances and exits through the facility day and night. While safeguarding the safety and integrity of the project, the officers also ensure that distancing measures are followed, challenge anti-social behaviour and monitoring the area for suspicious activity.

Dedicated site supervisor

To ensure fast and consistent communication with the University of Oxford’s management, First Response Group allocated a dedicated site supervisor to provide a senior level presence at the site from Monday to Friday. The site supervisor acts as the main point of contact for the University of Oxford’s management, dealing with any issues as and when they arise in real-time.

Oto Velička, senior buildings and facilities manager at the University of Oxford, informed Security Matters: “I would like to thank the First Response Group for the outstanding quality of service the company provides for our COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial at the University of Oxford. When we approached the company asking for support, the management team immediately engaged with us on a highly professional level and was able to scope, suggest and implement a made-to-measure solution perfectly suiting our needs.”

Velička continued: “The on-site team members are highly competent, professional, co-operative and have a comprehensive understanding of our business needs and the sensitivity of our activity. They’ve proven over and over that we can rely on them for all of our security needs, bringing complete peace of mind to our operation 24 hours per day, seven days a week.”

Simon Alderson, CEO at the First Response Group, added: “Without question, this has to be one of the most high-profile security operations with which we’ve been involved in. Indeed, it’s one of worldwide importance. Being chosen to support the University of Oxford in this clinical trial is a ringing endorsement of the First Response Group. It’s an honour to have played a part in ensuring the security of the vaccine, staff and trial patients in the lead-up to its national roll-out.”

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London security directors prosecuted at Thames Magistrates’ Court

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.

Fraudulent licence

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.

Due diligence

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.

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Door supervisor handed suspended sentence in wake of SIA investigation

On Monday 11 January, Muyiwa John Adegbola, a door supervisor based in Manchester, pleaded guilty to fraud after allowing his brother-in-law to use his Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence card. He was sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court to 32 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. The SIA also prosecuted Adegbola for failing to provide information as part of its investigation.

On 7 June 2019, when SIA investigators were carrying out licensing checks with officers from the Cheshire Constabulary, they visited the Revolution Bar in Wilmslow and found a door supervisor who had an SIA licence bearing the name M Adegbola. However, when the male was asked to confirm his address as part of the checks, he was unsure of those details. When questioned further, he admitted that he was not Adegbola, but his brother-in-law.

SIA investigators seized the SIA licence card. Further enquiries revealed that Adegbola was employed as a door supervisor, but claimed to have lost his SIA licence at some point during Christmas 2018. He was sent a replacement, which was the licence his brother-in-law used in June 2019. Having discovered that Adegbola had provided his SIA licence to another individual, the SIA suspended it on 12 June 2019.

One week later, Adegbola contacted the SIA to dispute the suspension of his licence. He claimed to have lost his wallet with his SIA licence inside it and had reported this to the police. He also stated that he was on sick leave, implying that he could not have been working in June 2019. 

The SIA contacted Adegbola again to request further information. However, he failed to respond, which is an offence under the terms outlined in the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Fraudulent course of action 

Nathan Salmon, criminal investigations manager at the SIA, stated: “Mr Adegbola facilitated an unlicensed person undertaking a role as a door supervisor without the required training or verification. He did this by providing his own licence and continuing to receive remuneration, which he then passed on. This is a totally inappropriate and fraudulent course of action. While Adegbola thought he could lie and not be punished, the court saw through this and we’re pleased with the end result.”

In addition to the 32 weeks’ suspended sentence, Adegbola has been ordered by the court to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity as well as 80 days of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge. Adegbola’s SIA licence has been revoked.

 The SIA is prosecuting Adegbola’s brother-in-law on a separate basis.

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Incentive FM moves into Top 3% of Approved Contractor Scheme-registered security companies

Incentive FM, the specialist facilities management company, has recently completed the latest Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) audit process and has achieved an excellent score.

Following the rigorous audit procedure, Incentive FM achieved a score of 129 points out of a possible 145 which now moves the business into the Top 3% of around 650 companies who hold ACS registration with the regulator.

Andrew Robbins, associate director of security and risk at Incentive FM, told Security Matters: “This achievement has been gained through the delivery of our clear strategy over the past three years, as well as the sheer hard work and dedication of our senior management and site-based teams who’ve demonstrated a clear commitment to delivering a premium security service to our clients through focus and continuous improvement.”

Robbins added: “We’re extremely proud of all our staff members who’ve helped the business to achieve ACS status for the fourteenth year in succession. The last 12 months has realised many challenges due to the new scoring mechanism adopted by the SIA’s auditors and, of course, the global pandemic, but we’ve persevered and passed with flying colours.”

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Kings Secure Technologies awarded security guarding services contract by international courier Hermes

Security services and solutions provider Kings Secure Technologies has been awarded a contract by courier business Hermes for the provision of security guarding services across its entire UK property estate. 

Throughout an intensive tendering process, Kings Secure Technologies demonstrated its ability to deliver first-class security teams covering all of Hermes’ sites, in turn affording the client complete confidence in service delivery and management. As part of the mix, Kings Secure Technologies will be realising its commitment to continued innovation and improvement.

Commenting on the contract win, Carrie Eastwood (director of security personnel at Kings Secure Technologies) explained to Security Matters: “Hermes UK is an internationally-recognised company and we’re delighted to have been selected to work with them. We now look forward to building a strategic partnership with Hermes and delivering first class security services for the benefit of the company’s operations, personnel and assets.”

John Ferguson, head of loss prevention at Hermes, responded: “This contract award demonstrates that Kings Secure Technologies is continuing to strengthen its positioning the UK security services market. We’re pleased to work with a leading company that values safety and security and continually invests to protect its resources and people.”

Headquartered in West Yorkshire with satellite offices in Scotland, the Midlands, London and the South East, Kings Secure Technologies focuses on delivering cutting-edge innovative solutions that ensure a full end-to-end risk management approach for its clients. 

The company’s Technology Monitoring Centres work in tandem with the DYMENSION data and incident trend app to provide clients with round-the-clock monitoring and intelligence-led analysis and reporting, actively preventing criminal activity at myriad locations across the UK.

Disrupting child exploitation

In parallel, Kings Secure Technologies has recently joined forces with leading children’s charity Barnardo’s to help disrupt child exploitation in the city of Bradford’s night-time economy.

Child exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or otherwise deceive a child or a young person under the age of 18 into sexual or criminal activity. Offenders target children and use emotional, financial or physical power over the child in an effort to abuse them.

Given its extensive network of security officers operating across the UK, Kings Secure Technologies recognised that it could help to prevent child exploitation in Bradford and, on that basis, has linked with Barnardo’s to work the latter’s Trusted Relationship Group Work Programme.

The team from the Trusted Relationship Group Work Programme will be operating alongside Kings Secure Technologies’ security officers, initially in the West Yorkshire region, and teaching them how to look out for the signs of child exploitation, speak out on the matter and adopt a zero tolerance approach.

Kings Security Technologies’ Security Personnel division provides security guarding services on a 24/7/365 basis. Each of its security officers is Security Industry Authority-licensed and trained. They’re often the ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, with an increased presence during the hours of darkness. It follows that developing the Kings Secure Technologies guarding team member to be fully aware of chiled exploitation is key to the company’s safeguarding efforts.

Tackling the issue

Marianne Wadsworth, who leads on the Trusted Relationship Group Work Programme for Barnardo’s, stated: “Exploitation is occurring. It’s an issue that we can all help to tackle just by opening our eyes and allowing ourselves to really see what’s happening before us and speaking up. The victims of exploitation often don’t recognise they’re being exploited so we should all know the signs to look out for and feel confident to report any concerns.”

Barnardo’s is the UK’s largest children’s charity. Established by Dr Thomas Barnardo, the charity celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2016. Each day, the organisation works to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and, every year, helps thousands of families to build a better future.

Last year, more than 300,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through upwards of 1,000 services across the UK.

The charity works with young carers, care leavers, young people at risk of child sexual exploitation, disabled young people, foster carers and adoptive parents and provides training, skills and parenting classes.

Bob Forsyth, CEO at Kings Secure Technologies, concluded: “Our partnership with Barnardo’s is an exciting development and demonstrates how, as a business working within the night-time economy, we can play an active role in safeguarding children and young people. The training provided by Trusted Relationship Group Work Programme initiates advice, support and guidance on how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation, county lines, modern slavery and human trafficking. It’s absolutely vital.”

*Further information on the work of Kings Secure Technologies and the breadth of services provided by the company can be found online at www.kingsltd.co.uk

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First Response Group listed in Sunday Times ‘10 Fast-Track Ones to Watch’

Yorkshire-based security and facilities service provider the First Response Group is featured in the latest Sunday Times ‘10 Fast-Track Ones to Watch’ listed. The business has been recognised as one of the companies set to grow rapidly and shows the potential to secure its place in the ‘Fast Track 100’ in the future.

Businesses are identified based on factors such as past sales, growth forecasts, international expansion and external investment. This summer, the Leeds-based company competed a £6 million refinancing agreement, allowing it to continue the strong growth it has experienced over the last few years.

A series of targeted acquisitions – coupled with recent high-profile tender wins in the insurance, corporate and construction sectors which accelerated the company’s growth – triggered the need to increase available working capital for business continuity and future investment.

Founded back in 2007 by directors Jamal Tahlil and Edgar Chibaka, First Response Group provides security, fire and facilities management services for customers including Aldi and the NHS. Sales this year have risen by 51% to hot a total of £18.6 million.

Simon Alderson, CEO at the First Response Group, said: “It’s an honour to be named as one of The Sunday Times’ ‘10 Fast-Track Ones to Watch’. The extraordinary growth we’ve seen over the past few years has firmly established the First Response Group as a rising star in the security industry, and this achievement recognises the dedication and hard work shown by our entire team.”

Alderson added: “This summer’s funding, coupled with our mission to provide the best service and innovation possible by cultivating a culture of employee inclusion and happiness, will continue to position First Response Group as a leader in the security and FM solutions markets.” First Response Group holds the coveted National Security Inspectorate Guarding Gold accreditation and, as an Approved Contractor Scheme Pacesetter, is ranked in the Top 15% of firms registered on the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme.

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Door supervisor found guilty of working while SIA licence suspended

On Thursday 29 October at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, door supervisor Jacqueline Taggart was found guilty of working while her Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence was suspended.

Prosecuted by South Yorkshire Police, Taggart was sentenced to 60 hours of community service to be completed within a period of 12 months. She was also required to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £85.

Sheffield-based Taggart was supplied to the Foxwood Embassy as a door supervisor by JKL Leisure and Pubs Ltd. SIA investigators and South Yorkshire Police licensing officers visited the venue and reviewed CCTV footage (and the venue’s signing-in book) on 20 March 2019. They found that Taggart had worked illegally on five occasions between 18 November 2018 and 8 March 2019. The SIA had suspended Taggart’s licence on 10 April 2018 and eventually revoked it on 8 August last year. South Yorkshire Police took the lead on this prosecution with the support of the SIA.

SIASheffieldGavel

Nigel Davies, the SIA’s regional criminal investigation manager for the East Region, said: “We’re pleased to have worked with our enforcement partner, namely South Yorkshire Police, to prosecute Taggart. She was clearly told that it would be illegal for her to work in the private security industry while her licence was suspended. Nonetheless, she completely ignored this warning, lied to her employers about her licence and, subsequently, put the Foxwood Embassy’s patrons at risk. Actions such as this serve to undermine the integrity of, and confidence in, the SIA’s licensing regime. Taggart now has a criminal record.”

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Poole security boss prosecuted for deception and providing unlicensed security

On Friday 23 October, John Westwood (a Poole security boss) was prosecuted at Poole Magistrates’ Court for supplying an unlicensed door supervisor to a ‘pop-up bar’ for an event at Bournemouth’s The Square on 5 August last year.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) prosecuted both Westwood and his business, namely One 2 One Security Ltd, for deception and deploying an unlicensed door supervisor. This prosecution is the culmination of the investigation of John Westwood, One 2 One Security Ltd and the unlicensed door supervisor, Lloyd Biggs, who worked for Westwood on that night.

Westwood was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £350 as well as a victim surcharge of £35, all to be paid within four months. One 2 One Security Ltd will be sentenced at a hearing to be held on Wednesday 18 November.

The SIA’s investigation began when a routine licence inspection by enforcement partner Dorset Police found that Lloyd Biggs had not completed the mandatory signing-in sheet. This raised the police licensing specialist’s suspicion and he asked to see Biggs’ SIA licence. Biggs said his licence had shattered and that he had contacted the SIA to request a replacement.

However, the police officer noticed that what Biggs had appeared to be an SIA licence in an armband displayed with the picture facing inwards. The officer asked to see the licence and discovered that the name displayed was J Westwood and that the licence had expired in July 2008.

Guilty plea

Dorset Police passed this information on to the SIA and, when the regulator questioned Biggs, he said he had only worked for Westwood on that occasion. When asked about displaying John Westwood’s expired licence, Biggs said that he didn’t tell Westwood he was without an SIA licence. He claimed that Westwood told him to collect an armband to avoid suspicion. Biggs then said he had accidentally picked up an armband with Westwood’s expired licence, but could give no explanation.

Biggs appeared at Poole Magistrates’ Court on 14 March this year when he pleaded guilty to working as an unlicensed door supervisor. He received a £140 fine and was ordered to pay £150 in costs and a victim surcharge of £31. He now has a criminal record.

Nathan Salmon, the SIA’s criminal investigations manager, said: “Both John Westwood and Lloyd Biggs broke the law. They’ve been successfully prosecuted and now have criminal records. They had no credible explanation for why Biggs was wearing Westwood’s licence and thought they could lie to the SIA and the police. The evidence was clear and they were found out.”

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Jodie Stevens joins Venture Security in compliance manager’s role

Hampshire-based security solutions provider Venture Security has bolstered its senior team with the appointment of Jodie Stevens as compliance manager. In her new role, Stevens will be responsible for overseeing all regulatory, privacy and compliance matters within the organisation and ensuring that the necessary British Standards are applied.

That process and procedure includes managing Venture Security’s many accreditations, such as its National Security Inspectorate Gold status, CHAS and ACS Pacesetters memberships and the business’ continued registration on the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme.

Prior to joining Venture Security, Stevens spent 11 years working at Heathrow Airport within airfield operations, safety and transformation. As such, she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the airfield, maintaining safety processes and dealing with any accidents and incidents as required, more recently being focused on improving the efficiency of ground operations. This followed on from an 18-month spell in a similar role at Southampton Airport.

Commenting on her new appointment, Stevens said: “I’ve known the team at Venture Security for many years now. I actually hold an SIA licence myself and, in my spare time, have supported the team with guarding operations at Stonehenge, Salisbury Racecourse and for other regional events so I already have a lot of knowledge about the company and how it operates.”

Stevens continued: “Being furloughed due to COVID-19 and a recent restructure led me to reflect on my role at Heathrow Airport and it just seemed the perfect time to make the move to join Venture Security. It’s a great fit for my skills and experience and I look forward to the opportunity of making a tangible difference at what is an ambitious and growing company.”

Jodie Stevens

Upholding standards

Paul Howe, managing director at Venture Security, responded: “Jodie is exceptional at what she does and will be a valuable member of the team. As a company, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality of service possible and that comes down to employing the best people, organising the best training and investing in industry-leading systems and processes. We’re currently undergoing significant growth as a business and upholding standards throughout will be central to our success.”

Based in Andover, Venture Security is ranked within the top 1% of security providers in the UK. The award-winning company was founded in 2006 and works with both corporate and residential clients, providing services including security guarding, mobile patrols, locking and unlocking for premises, key holding and alarm response.

As well as working with businesses, the team manages security for a number of high-profile regional venues and events, also working with councils and BIDs to tackle anti-social behaviour in public spaces.

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Company boss found guilty of supplying unlicensed security staff to school

In a prosecution brought by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), a Lancashire security company director who provided unlicensed security staff to a school has had his case referred to a higher court for sentencing.

Martin Coe, the former director of Evolution Security Services NW, was found guilty following a two-day trial held at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 October.

SIA investigators discovered that unlicensed security officers had worked for Coe on numerous occasions at Baines School in Poulton, the Wyre Light pub in Fleetwood and at the Poulton Industrial Estate.

The District Judge presiding over the trial found Coe guilty of the supply of the two unlicensed security operatives. During the trial, the SIA had called three witnesses, whom the District Judge referenced as being “professional and credible”. By contrast, the District Judge noted in her summing up that Coe’s evidence was “not credible”.

The matter was adjourned to Preston Crown Court for sentencing and to start the process of recovering assets from Coe under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Coe had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to failing to provide information to the SIA despite being legally required to do so.

Serious matter

Nathan Salmon of the SIA’s criminal investigations team said: “Martin Coe refused to co-operate with an SIA investigation and has wasted court time by denying the charges against him. Providing unlicensed security staff to a school is a very serious matter. This is reflected in the fact that the District Judge in this trial has referred Coe’s case to a Crown Court for sentencing.”

Salmon continued: “The public rightly expects the very highest standards from those who protect them. There is reassurance that Coe will now be banned from working in the security sector. In addition, we will be pursuing the recovery of any profit he has made from his crimes.”

Neil Reddington and Gavin Macaskill had originally been found working at the Wyre Light in May 2019 by a licensing officer from Lancashire Constabulary who was following up on reports of unlicensed operatives being deployed at the venue. Both men were employed by Evolution Security.

Reddington was sentenced at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court back in February. The sentencing of Coe was due to take place at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday 4 November.

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