Former ACS company Elite Security (NW) Ltd sentenced for deploying unlicensed security officer

gavelnewOn Tuesday 1 November, Elite Security (NW) Ltd and David Halliwell were found guilty and sentenced at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court for deploying an unlicensed security officer.

In May last year, Elite Security (NW) Ltd e-mailed a Security Industry Authority (SIA) Approved Contractor (ie an ACS company) to ask them to supply a Licence Dispensation Notice* to one of their security operatives who was unlicensed.

A Licence Dispensation Notice is an authorisation from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to deploy security staff while their licence applications are being processed. This is only available to those businesses that achieve Approved Contractor Scheme status.

A Licence Dispensation Notice was duly issued and the security operative worked on an Elite Security (NW) Ltd contract at a bar in Wigan.

SIA investigators received intelligence about Elite Security (NW) Ltd in April this year and began enquiries issuing a request for information under Section 19 of the Private Security industry Act 2001. However, information about the contracts and staff working in the Wigan and Bolton areas wasn’t provided, and the details of the unlicensed officer were omitted, despite evidence that he had been working at the relevant timeframe.

Lead SIA investigator Jenny Hart explained: “I’m pleased with the outcome of this case and welcome the Court’s response to the failure to provide a full answer to the SIAs request for information and deliberate attempts to deny any wrongdoing with regards to the issuing of Licence Dispensation Notices, a practise which Elite Security (NW) Ltd had no place to be involved with.”

Halliwell pleaded guilty to the Section 5 offence (via Section 23 of the Private Security Industry Act 2011) for deploying an unlicensed security officer, failing to provide information (a Section 19 offence) and giving false information (a Section 22 offence). He was fined £850 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85 within a period of seven days.

Elite Security (NW) Ltd pleaded guilty to the Section 5 offence and was fined £400, as well as being ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40 and £7,640 in costs.

As mentioned, the Licence Dispensation Notice is the authorisation to deploy security staff while their licence applications are being processed. Licence Dispensation Notices are time limited and can only be issued by businesses that are part of the Approved Contractor Scheme.

Misuse of the licence dispensation facility, whether as an Approved Contractor or otherwise, may result in the refusal of future applications for Approved Contractor status, the withdrawal of the Licence Dispensation Notice facility and/or the withdrawal of Approved Contractor status, as deemed appropriate by the Regulator.

Door supervisor prosecuted for working on a suspended licence

On Tuesday 1 November, Dale Meakins – a door supervisor who was suspended and under investigation – was both found guilty and sentenced at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court for working without a licence.

Lead SIA investigator Jenny Hart said: “This is a positive outcome for the SIA with regards to personal responsibility around the licensing regime. Thanks to the support of Derbyshire Police in Glossop who helped with the investigation, the Court recognised the importance of individual accountability and the fact that a person should know if they are licensed or not. There’s no grey area.”

Meakins worked for Elite Security (NW) Ltd. His licence had been suspended at the end of May 2016, but he continued to work as a door supervisor despite being subject to suspension proceedings that meant he wasn’t in fact allowed to do so.

During one of the SIA’s inspections in July, Meakins was found to be working and displaying his SIA licence. Meakins claimed not to have received the suspension letters from the Regulator, stating that he had recently moved. However, Meakins later admitted that any post sent to him at the previous address was normally forwarded on. He then admitted to undertaking door supervisor duties for four weeks, in turn committing a Section 3 offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Meakins pleaded guilty to the Section 3 offence and was issued with a £160 victim surcharge to be paid to the authorities within seven days.

Father and son prosecuted after ignoring SIA warnings

On Thursday 3 November, Stephen and Brett Stocks of Fort Security were sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates Court.

An investigation began when South Yorkshire Police arrested an unlicensed door supervisor in December last year. The unlicensed operative admitted the offence, but refused to state who had employed him. Further enquiries revealed that he worked for Fort Security.

It was during this investigation that it became apparent Stephen Stocks was responsible for supplying two unlicensed security operatives in June to the Eroica Festival in Derbyshire.

Nathan Salmon, head of formal investigations at the SIA, stated: “These individuals were brought to the attention of the SIA in 2014. They were warned. However, it would appear that these warnings were ignored and offending continued. This resulted in a further investigation which concluded with their successful conviction.”

Further enquiries revealed that Brett Stocks, the son of Stephen Stocks, was also managing and supervising an operative on this contract, despite not having any type of SIA licence. Brett Stocks has never held an SIA licence. This amounts to a Section 3 offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

During the investigation, it also became clear that Brett Stocks acted as a manager and supervisor to a security operative supplied to Eroica Festival, despite being unlicensed. He denied supplying, supervising or managing anyone, and stated that he had no business connection to Fort Security.

Stephen Stocks was also formally interviewed. Other than confirming he was the father of Brett Stocks, he maintained his right to silence.

In addition, when the SIA requested further information under Section 19 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, Stephen Stocks didn’t co-operate. This particular information remains outstanding.

Stephen Stocks was found guilty of supplying unlicensed security operatives (a Section 5 offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001) and for failing to provide information as requested under Section 19 of the Act. He was fined £600 and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge as well as costs of £3,000.

Brett Stocks was found guilty of acting as a manager or a supervisor of a security operative engaged in licensable conduct. This is a Section 3 offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. He was fined £500 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £50 in addition to costs of £1,300.

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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