Tag Archives: SIA

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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SSAIB named as sponsor for 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has been named as one of the sponsors for this year’s ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards.

The 2021 ceremony will take place on Wednesday 16 June and marks the seventh occasion that the exceptional actions of on-duty front line security personnel have been celebrated at this annual event.

The SSAIB joins other five sponsors – namely Centralus, the First Response Group, Orka Works, Security & Vetting Solutions and TrackTik – in supporting the event. The organisation will also put its name to two Security Officer of Distinction Awards which will be bestowed upon officers who’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ for both their employer and the client to whom they’re contracted.

SSAIB CEO Alex Carmichael commented: “We’re thrilled to be able to lend our support to the 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards. We’re one of the UKAS-accredited certification bodies working with the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme. That being so, we see first-hand the outstanding work that security services personnel do on a day-to-day basis. It’s great that an awards event such as this exists in order to give them industry recognition and reward them for their exceptional efforts.”

*Nominations for the 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards can be made up until the closing date of Friday 26 March. A copy of the nomination form can be downloaded from the ACS Pacesetters’ website

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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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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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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.

SIALogo

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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