Tag Archives: SIA

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.

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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.

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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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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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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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