SIA CEO responds to Magenta Security leader’s observations on ACS proposals

Ian Todd

Ian Todd

On 22 July, Abbey Petkar (managing director of Magenta Security) expressed “deep concerns and disappointment” in relation to recent decisions taken by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) on the Regulator’s Approved Contractor Scheme. Now, SIA CEO Ian Todd has chosen Risk Xtra as the SIA’s preferred platform on which to respond.

Todd stated: “Earlier this year, Nick Hurd MP, who was the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services at the time, responded to the outstanding recommendations of the review of the SIA. He reported the Government’s position was that the review had produced insufficient evidence for extending the current licensing regime under new legislation, and therefore the Government would not be pursuing changes such as business licensing or replacing individual licensing with a compulsory Approved Contractor Scheme.”

Todd added: “The additional regulatory burden, cost and complexity of introducing business licensing (ie while simultaneously phasing out individual licensing to prevent double regulation) without a substantive business case for doing so was a key factor in the Government’s decision.”

Further, Todd told Risk Xtra: “We will investigate any reported malpractice concerning a private security business.  However, as we currently have no statutory powers to implement business licensing, we’re unable to implement any compulsory requirement for businesses to meet standards within the law or undergo ‘fit and proper’ checks. Within the current regime, our aim is to minimise the regulatory burden on good private security businesses by way of a proportionate and risk-based approach to enforcement. This means that, if a business is an approved contractor, it’s then much less of a risk than a business not in the scheme and we can target our enforcement effort accordingly.”

In conclusion, the SIA’s CEO observed: “We will continue to discuss with the Home Office the case for any future changes to the legislation and explore innovative ways in which to make full use of our existing powers. As work unfolds, later this year we intend to share some proposals with the private security industry and our law enforcement partners and seek their views.”

Feelings of disappointment

Abbey Petkar

Abbey Petkar

In his original comments, Petkar told Risk Xtra: “As children, so many of us will have heard teachers saying “I’m not angry with you… I’m disappointed. My feelings for the SIA are no different. Some months ago, I was excited and looking forward to pending improvements to the ACS. Those improvements were going to make us more professional as an industry and help us to develop greater trust with customers and communities. ‘Cowboy’ security firms would struggle to operate and all staff would be treated fairly by responsible employers.”

He continued: “However, much like the many campaign promises falling from the lips of Conservative Party politicians hoping to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, the promises of the SIA appear to have been nothing more than words with little to no substance behind them. Going forward, what changes have been made are only going to impact the 20% who are voluntarily undertaking the ACS. In fact, those of us acting truly professionally and making the extra effort to achieve ACS are going to be penalised as we’re undercut by those who do nothing more than check their individual officers are licensed.”

Further, Petkar stated: “If we want to charge what we are truly worth, demonstrate our knowledge and stand shoulder to shoulder with other industries then we need to be checked and certified at a company level. The ACS is the only vehicle to do that. The latest news from the SIA means only those doing the right thing in the first place are being policed. We already had an environment where the unprofessional firms had numerous advantages. Now, the rest of us are being actively disadvantaged. As an industry, for example, we’re looked upon unfavourably by banks and credit providers who have seen companies ‘phoenix’ time after time. The SIA had an opportunity to close loopholes, yet somehow its poor choices have created even more.”

In conclusion, Petkar observed: “We had an opportunity to be a shinning example to the rest of the security world. It’s an example that’s slipping rapidly through our fingers if something isn’t done urgently to stop the rot.”

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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