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

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

by Brian Sims
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.”

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