On Friday 29 March, Shamin Uddin – former director of the SAS Training Academy Ltd in Telford, Shropshire – was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court to eight months’ imprisonment for falsifying examination papers for individuals seeking to gain a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. He’s also required to pay £2,000 in court costs which are payable within 12 months.
The sentence brings to an end a four-year process initiated by the SIA that investigated malpractice at SAS Training’s operations in Barking, East London, its headquarters at Wednesbury in the West Midlands and in Inverness, Scotland.
The Honourable Recorder Jackson said this case “is particularly serious because it strikes at the heart of the (licensing) system using training to deal with members of public. Organisations rely upon staff they believe to be properly trained to deal with those situations. The public needs to have confidence in those that work within the security industry. This matter is so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is justified due to possible effects of behaviour, that such offending has a wide ranging monetary effect on individuals and businesses.”
Nathan Salmon, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said: “Buyers of security have a right, and an expectation, that the staff supplied to them hold a valid SIA licence that has been awarded on the basis of the successful completion of training and the award of a qualification by an awarding body such as the British Institute of Innkeeping Awarding Body (BIIAB). We’re grateful to the BIIAB for its persistent and robust assessment of training providers and for calling out the fraudulent actions of this former training provider. We have satisfied ourselves that no licences were granted following Uddin’s actions. A number of learners had to attend alternative courses with other training providers.”
Salmon added: “The potential damage Uddin might have done to the reputation of the private security industry is immeasurable. This action, brought against him as the proprietor of SAS Training by the SIA, demonstrates that any suspicious training provision will be identified and may be prosecuted. The SIA will not tolerate malpractice in the provision of training to an industry that’s working hard to be respected and reputable.”
In conclusion, Salmon asserted: “The SIA works hard with awarding organisations to ensure that only those people who deserve a qualification gain one. The vast majority of training providers do a good job and make a really positive contribution to the industry. I’m sure they will welcome this prosecution.”
Original investigation process
The BIIAB originally investigated SAS Training Academy Ltd’s premises in June 2015 after finding evidence of training malpractice. The BIIAB subsequently suspended the SAS Training Academy, withdrew its certification and referred the complaint to the SIA.
The SIA reviewed the qualifications of more than 270 people who had been submitted for a qualification by the SAS Training Academy. The SIA satisfied itself that all learners had obtained alternative training with other providers. The SAS Training Academy course which was highlighted as a concern did not result in the issuing of any SIA licences.
In June 2015, the BIIAB became concerned about the examination paperwork presented by the SAS Training Academy. BIIAB verifiers found no candidates present at the SAS Training Academy’s operations in Barking, Essex. The alleged examination room was too small to fit the number of learners whose details had been provided by BIIAB as attending for examinations.
In the same month, the BIIAB made an unannounced external quality assurance visit to the SAS Training Academy’s offices in Wednesbury. Investigators discovered that the correct answers had been highlighted on some examination papers in order to help candidates.
When questioned, Shamin Uddin denied that the examination process was insecure and refused to allow the BIIAB representatives to talk with other members of staff present.
Various examination venues
The awarding organisation had also became aware that candidates’ details were being changed at very short notice when the papers were submitted to them. In addition, SAS Training Academy wa submitting examination paperwork to the BIIAB on photocopied sheets.
It became apparent during the SIA investigation that examination papers were being submitted to the BIIAB from various examination venues across the UK with false learner details being added to the list of genuine learners.
A trainer was interviewed regarding courses he allegedly provided on behalf of the SAS Training Academy. He confirmed that he had not conducted the training, and disputed that it was his personal details and signature on the paperwork submitted.
At other venues, false details of alleged learners’ names had been added to examination paperwork.
The SAS Training Academy Ltd ceased operations in December 2016.