Barred security director found guilty of working without a licence in wake of SIA investigation

On 14 September at Llandudno Magistrates Court, security company director Mark Pursglove was found guilty of working without a licence. Rachel Williams was found to have aided and abetted Pursglove, while Alan Williams was found guilty of providing false information. This isn’t the first time that the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has prosecuted Mark Pursglove.

In February 2016, Pursglove – along with his company, Mark Pursglove Security Limited – pleaded guilty at Holyhead Magistrates Court to supplying unlicensed security operatives and providing false information to the SIA. As a result, the SIA revoked Pursglove’s licence to prevent him from working or operating in the private security industry.

This meant Pursglove could not personally carry out any licensable activities. Nor could he manage, supervise or be a director of any company supplying security operatives to licensable roles.

However, on 25 February 2016, Pursglove formed a new security company called MP Security Services Ltd. It operated from the same offices and provided the same staff to the same contracts. Intelligence sent to the SIA pointed to the fact that Pursglove was the acting director of the new company and the sole shareholder.

The SIA investigated MP Security Services Ltd and found that Pursglove had visited these customers’ premises shortly after his conviction to offer reassurances. He had explained that the new security company would continue to supply security operatives and that the terms of the contract would remain the same. He had also stated that he would not be involved in the business.

During the investigation, the SIA discovered that Pursglove had listed one of his security officers as a company director without the officer’s permission and later appointed a friend, Alan Williams, as a director. Pursglove also appointed his partner, Rachel Williams, to undertake a managerial and supervisory role. It became clear that Pursglove was trying to disguise his role in the company.

SIA investigators suspected that both appointments were false and requested information from Alan Williams as he was the named director. Williams provided this information, but the SIA doubted its validity and believed that Pursglove continued to run the company himself.

As a result, the SIA gathered further evidence and prosecuted Mark Pursglove, Rachel Williams and Alan Williams. They all pled not guilty. However, all were found guilty.

Strong conviction

Mark Pursglove was found guilty of acting as an unlicensed manager or supervisor and of acting as an unlicensed security director. This is a Section 3 offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Rachel Williams was found guilty of aiding and abetting Mark Pursglove to commit the above offences. Their sentencing was adjourned and will take place at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on 12 October.

Alan Williams was found guilty of providing false information. He was fined £420 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £42 as well as costs of £2,750.

Nathan Salmon, the head of SIA Criminal Investigations, said: “Mark Pursglove continued to operate as a provider of security services despite his previous conviction and knowing full well we had revoked his licence. He tried to disguise his own involvement within the company by using others, placing them in key roles within the business and changing the name of his company.”

Salmon continued: “Using individuals as a front will not protect businesses from prosecution. The Private Security Industry Act 2001 specifically interprets the role and responsibilities of  directors and the SIA will assess personal liability, meaning those guilty of offences cannot hide behind others.”

In conclusion, Salmon stated: “This strong conviction highlights the fact that security regulation exists in order to protect those who use contracted security services as well as the general public. It also helps to ensure the effectiveness of security businesses that operate within the industry.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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