Former Approved Contractor prosecuted by SIA for deploying unlicensed security officer

On Monday 6 February during a hearing held at Cwmbran Magistrates Court, Stuart Reeves of Lock It Down Security Services Limited and Joseph Mitchell of Alpha Secure Group Ltd were found guilty of supplying an unlicensed security operative.

The prosecution of Lock It Down Security Services Limited and Alpha Secure Group Ltd resulted from a customer site inspection conducted by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) in Ebbw Vale during October 2015.

During this inspection, SIA investigators discovered a security operative working without a licence, which is an offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

The SIA requested information from Joseph Mitchell about security operatives employed by both businesses and he failed to provide this. This is an offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Approved Contractor Scheme

Lock It Down Security Services Limited and Alpha Secure Group Ltd were former members of the Approved Contractor Scheme, which exists to raise performance standards in the private security industry. Both companies were controlled by Reeves, while Mitchell was responsible for overseeing the business operations.

The Judge presiding at Cwmbran Magistrates Court heard that, essentially, the two companies were the same business.

During the SIA investigations, both Reeves and Mitchell blamed each other for the supply of the unlicensed operative and distanced themselves from the companies they ran. The presiding Judge noted that there appeared to be no existing safeguards in place to ensure that employees remained licensed by the SIA.

Reeves and Mitchell were sentenced on the day. For supplying an unlicensed security operative, Reeves was fined £1,500. Mitchell was fined £1,250 having pleaded guilty to supplying an unlicensed security operative and failing to provide information to the SIA.

Both directors were also ordered to pay costs of £4,727 each.

View of the Regulator

Nathan Salmon, the SIA’s head of formal investigations, stated: “Following this prosecution we have revoked the directors’ licences as they have proven to be unfit to operate in this regulated sector. We take all non-compliance very seriously. You simply cannot cut corners in this industry. Where we find non-compliance we will take action.”

By law, security operatives working under contract and all door supervisors must hold and display a valid SIA licence. A non-front line licence is required for those who manage, supervise and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activity, as long as front line activity isn’t carried out. This includes directors and partners of security companies.

*Information about SIA enforcement and penalties can be found on the website at: www.sia.homeoffice.gov. uk/enforcement

The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK, reporting directly to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

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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